Weather: Much colder: Clouds give way to sun, but with a biting wind. High in the low 30s.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Feb. 11 (Lunar New Year’s Eve).
After weeks of subsisting on their own cooking, takeout and frigid al fresco meals, New Yorkers may soon be able to eat inside restaurants.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state was considering reopening indoor dining at New York City restaurants, which he barred last month as coronavirus indicators soared.
Mr. Cuomo said he’d have more specifics about possibly reopening by the end of the week.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mr. Cuomo said that what he called the “holiday surge” — spikes in hospitalizations and positive coronavirus test results that appeared to be connected to holiday gatherings — was beginning to recede across the state, which meant that restrictions could be relaxed.
The policy changes
Since October, Mr. Cuomo has designated red, orange or yellow zones, with different restrictions placed on each, based on coronavirus metrics.
Yesterday Mr. Cuomo said that he would remove all remaining orange zone designations and many yellow zones, though yellow zones would still be in effect in parts of Queens, the Bronx, Washington Heights in Manhattan and the city of Newburgh in Orange County.
Mr. Cuomo said that officials would decide whether to allow New York City restaurants to open for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity by the end of the week. The state already allows indoor dining at 50 percent capacity for most restaurants outside the city.
Hospitalizations and the positive test rate average may be trending downward, but positive test results remain elevated in many parts of the city and the state.
At the same time, the city’s restaurant industry, which has struggled since the start of the pandemic, is on the brink, and some owners have sued Mr. Cuomo and the state to reopen indoor dining.
Even if indoor dining resumed, Mr. Cuomo said, any policy changes would not necessarily be permanent.
“You make the decision on the facts today,” Mr. Cuomo said. “But the facts may change.”
From The Times
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The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled that the city was not obligated to house all homeless New Yorkers in hotel rooms during the pandemic. [Daily News]
Williamsburg-based artists made a billboard in Los Angeles that proclaims “New York is dead. Don’t come back,” aimed at people who fled the city during the pandemic. [NBC New York]
A snowy owl made a rare appearance in Central Park, the latest of several owls in the city that have captivated birders in recent months. [Gothamist]
And finally: A Times Square soundscape
Chattering crowds. Blaring horns. Entreaties from costumed characters to stop for a photo. All of them, at least in pre-pandemic times, added to the aural assault of Times Square.
Now Pamela Z, a composer, vocalist and multimedia artist, and Geoff Sobelle, an experimental theater artist, have created a streaming soundscape that conveys the Crossroads of the World in a less cacophonous way.
“Times3,” which debuted online as part of the Prototype festival this month and will be available to stream for free until Feb. 28, uses audio from interviews, as well as instruments, singing and other sounds, to create a half-hour long piece of music that explores the square.
“I wanted to tell people about things you don’t see readily,” Mr. Sobelle told me.
Mr. Sobelle interviewed a dozen historians, academics and theater professionals, accumulating around 12 hours of raw material that Ms. Z made into music.
“I tend to work with everything from full sentences to short phrases to just individual words, even syllables and phonemes,” Ms. Z told Seth Colter Walls for a Times article this month.
The music that results is unusual and wide-ranging: “Times” is repeated metronomically while an operatic voice soars in the background; a speaker describes the four streams that intersect deep below 45th Street; someone suggests that the listener “look for people who are dressed as Elmo.”
No need to worry if you never loved the ruckus of the Great White Way — no actual audio from Times Square was used in the piece.
It’s Thursday — listen up.
Metropolitan Diary: Old brown bike
Walking down West 76th Street, I encountered a young man and woman who were examining a bright neon tag on an old brown Ross cruising bicycle that was locked to a street sign.
The tires were flat, and the seat was missing. The Sanitation Department had marked it as derelict. The owner had seven days to retrieve it or it would be removed.
I told the couple that I had reported many derelict bikes to the city. They usually wound up tagged, I said, but the city often didn’t follow through on removing them.
The man said that was good to know and that he might return with a bolt cutter if the bike was still there after more than a week.
There was some sentimentality behind his intentions. The bike was a model from the 1970s, when Ross still had a factory in Rockaway. He said that he had grown up there and that his aunt had worked at the factory.
As we chatted, another man approached. He said the bike was his, and he had the seat to prove it. He said he had seen us gathered around the bike from his window.
The man I had been speaking with looked disappointed.
Then the bike’s owner asked if any of us wanted it. He said he had planned to fix it up but had never found the time.
With that, he attached the seat, unlocked the bike and handed it over to the young man from Rockaway.
— Daniel Bowman Simon
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