The Briefly for July 1, 2020 – The "$88.1 Billion of Unhappiness for Everyone" Edition
Today - Low: 71˚ High: 80˚
Rain in the evening.
Photos and Video: Macy's first night of "surprise" fireworks on the East River. Macy's laid off 4,000 employees, the fireworks show's costs are $6 million. (Michelle Young, Video and Photos by Jessica Gardner for Untapped Cities) RIP Carl Reiner, legend and Bronx native. (Robert Berkvist and Peter Keepnews for NY Times) No one is happy with the city's $88.1 billion budget. What it will do is reduce the NYPD's headcount by 1,160 officers, moves monitoring of illegal vending, the homeless, and school safety away from the NYPD, implements a city-wide hiring freeze, kills composting, removed $65 million from Fair Fares, and more. We will be hearing about the missteps and mistakes that the budget contains for years to come. (Dana Rubenstein and Jeffery C. Mays for NY Times) There's no better source of education news than Chalkbeat, which gives an overview of the budget's impact on the city's schools, which undoes a $100 million cut to school budgets and restores the summer youth employment program. (Alex Zimmerman for Chalkbeat) In a last-minute play, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams threatened to derail the city's budget if the NYPD's funding wasn't meaningfully reduced. Can he do that? Questionable, but he managed to keep the pressure on the mayor's office to defund the NYPD. (Matt Troutman for Patch) Early Tuesday morning the NYPD did what the NYPD does best, roughing up protesters. This time it was the Occupy City Hall protesters, ahead of the City Council's vote. (Jake Offenhartz and Gwynne Hogan for Gothamist) Should the NYPD be involved in as much as it is? Should the NYPD have been the ones to save a hiker after being bitten by a Rattlesnake in Rockland County by helicopter? (Adam Nichols for Patch) The budget passed 32-17. (Matt Troutman for Patch) The budget includes $1 billion in labor savings, which the mayor has given himself an October deadline to figure out, or 22,000 municipal jobs will be cut. If we have learned anything about the mayor and deadlines is that he will not come close to making this deadline. (Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech for QNS) Medical residents at the city-run Kings County Hospital are urging elected officials to stop what they say will be the termination of women’s reproductive cancer surgical treatment at the central Brooklyn medical complex. (Ese Olumhense for The City) Citi Bike will be raising its annual membership fee by $10 (it was $169, it will be $179) at the end of July. (Gersh Kuntzman for Streetsblog) When the NYPL's Culture Pass debuted, it gave you access to 30 or so museums and cultural institutions, with everything closed, a virtual Culture Pass has launched with over 70 original online programs for the culturally adventurous. (Dana Schulz for 6sqft)
The time for action is now, but that action continues to fall on private citizens — business owners and workers alike — forced to feel their way through the dark. Yet, here we are, talking about reopening bars in New York City, while the coronavirus flares up all around us. Are we going to stand up, or let ourselves get knocked back down on our asses?
-Chris Crowley for Grub Street, This Is Not the Time to Reopen New York’s Bars
An interactive map of privately owned public spaces, as the spaces are being opened. (Tribeca Citizen) LA's E Stretto sandwich shop is opening a New York City outpost inside Long Island City's Dutch Kills bar. (Tanay Warerkar for Eater) Wear a mask, disinfect everything, and more tips on how to move during a pandemic. (Sydney Pereira for Gothamist) The pandemic has done a fantastic job of bringing to light our societal problems, almost none of them starker than the institutional inequality and bias against Puerto Ricans. The areas with the highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths coincide with the counties with the highest proportion of Puerto Ricans in the United States. (Vanessa Colón Almenas, Víctor Rodríguez Velázquez, Mc Nelly Torres and Coral Murphy for The City) Some people can't handle the responsibility that comes with Open Streets and it seems that the people that chose to turn Berry Street in Williamsburg into Bourbon Street are at the top of the list. The NYPD has begun ending Open Streets hours early as a result of abuse of social distancing rules, noise complaints, and public drinking. The governor has threatened taking liquor and business licenses away from bars and restaurants that don't enforce the state's rules, but there have been no reports of that happening in the city. (Ben Weiss for Greenpointers) The city's free school lunch program has ended, but there still are plenty of places for students to get free meals from the city and elsewhere. (Luana Harumi for Bedford + Bowery) It was inevitable, but now it's official: 2020's Minor League Baseball season is canceled. (Joe Pantorno for amNewYork Metro) Remember the election? It might seem like a lifetime ago, but it was only a week and a day. Today is the day the Board of Elections was set to start counting absentee ballots, but ballot-counting won't begin for another week due to being swamped with more than 10x the usual amount and needing more time to organize. (Bill Mahoney for Politico) The Yankees say that Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, and Aaron Hicks will be ready for opening day on July 23. (Joe Pantorno for amNewYork Metro) The MTA has added PPE vending machines in select subway stations. This is in addition to, not instead of, the hand sanitizer and masks being distributed at subway station booths. (Michelle Young for Untapped New York) The MTA will end free bus rides that have been offered since the start of the pandemic. The scheduled end is in August when bus drivers will be separated from riders with protective glass and OMNY readers will begin to be installed in buses. (Mark Hallum for amNewYork Metro) New York's retail hasn't completely bounced back, but with year-over-year retail visits down 22% for the week of June 15, it's the strongest they've been in months. (Joe Pantorno for amNewYork Metro) Comic shops have been hit hard during the pandemic. Bay Ridge rallied to save its local shop, Galaxy Comics on Fifth and 68th St, which has been closed most weeks since March. (Jessica Parks for amNewYork Metro) A bill is in the state's legislature that will extend eviction protections for some tenants but is being called a "short-term fix" as it doesn't go far enough to protect tenants. It would still allow money judgments for nonpayment of rent and provides little or no details about who would be eligible for protection. The protections will be extended as long as any part of a county is closed by the government due to Covid-19. (Georgie Kromrei for The Real Deal) A while ago I included a story about comedian Elayne Boosler’s cousin, who was given a pricy Catholic burial in New Jersey, which doesn't make much sense for a Jew from Brooklyn who had a burial plot already purchased on Long Island. In a follow-up, Dorothea Buschell has been buried on Long Island in her family's burial plot. (Virginia Breen for The City) Did George Floyd protests lead to a surge in Covid-19 cases? Not yet. In the city, the number of cases was already on a steady decline when the protests started, which reduced the possible spread of infection and if you look at photos from the protests, you'll find most of the people participating wore masks when they weren't being pulled off by the NYPD or being treated for the after-effects of pepper spray. (Joseph Goldstein for NY Times) How likely are you to survive a case of Covid-19? It might depend on which hospital you are admitted to. (Brian M. Rosenthal, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Otterman and Sheri Fink for NY Times) The Stonewall Inn announced a GoFundMe less than a week ago to keep their business afloat and people responded in spades, giving $250,000 to keep the bar open. (Ben Yakas for Gothamist) The 15 best spots in NYC for outdoor grilling. (Devin Gannon for 6sqft) Thanks to reader Jenny for today's featured photo!