Brooklyn Today February 15: Brooklyn Today Feb. 15: Amazon Ditches New York HQ, Blames Local Pols

The Lede

THE LEDE: Amazon ditches its plans to open a headquarters in Long Island City and L-Train repairs could still cause a traffic nightmare. Plus, a councilmember introduces a bill to ban plastic and social media is being used as evidence in court. Finally, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s new leader looks back on his first 100 days in office and eight of the city’s best dive bars are in Brooklyn.

Imprint

IMPRINT: Actress Regina King graces the Oscars Edition cover of Vanity Fair.

The Rundown

AMAZON DITCHES NEW YORK HEADQUARTERS, BLAMES LOCAL POLS

Amazon says it will not be building a new headquarters in New York. In a blog post Thursday, the company blamed local elected officials for their decision. “While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City,” Amazon posted to its corporate blog. The development would have been shepherded by the state’s Empire Development Corporation, allowing the project to sidestep City Council and the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process. (via Brooklyn Eagle)

TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE COULD RESULT FROM L-TRAIN REPAIRS

While some North Brooklyn residents are still celebrating Gov. Andrew Cuomo’scancellation of the proposed 15-month shutdown of the L-Train’s East River tunnel, transit advocates say the new plan could lead to severe overcrowding, both on trains and nearby roads. When the MTA announced that weeknight L service will start being curtailed at 8 p.m., the transit agency also announced it was dropping most of the mitigation plans it had devised to deal with the shutdown. These plans included HOV-only lanes on the Williamsburg Bridge, a car-free “busway” on Manhattan’s 14th Street, shuttle-bus routes over the bridge, additional bike stands and more(Gothamist via Brooklyn Eagle)

BROOKLYN POL’S BILL WOULD BAN PLASTIC STRAWS, BAGS, FORKS & MORE

Brooklynites will soon say goodbye to plastic straws, bags, forks and water bottles — that is, if a bill introduced by Councilmember Rafael Espinal makes it through the City Council. “Plastic pollution poses an ever-growing threat to our marine ecosystems, our health and our planet,” Espinal said. “We cannot afford to sit on our hands when it comes to the mind-boggling amount of plastic that pours into our oceans every year, every month, every hour.” As Espinal mentioned, one of the main concerns of environmentalists is the buildup of plastic products in the world’s oceans(via Brooklyn Eagle)

WHEN ‘LIKES’ TURN SOUR: DIVORCE IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which means couples across the borough were sharing pictures on social media platforms to showcase their love. But for couples who aren’t experiencing marital bliss, that Instagram post could be a big mistake — especially if they are cheating or trying to avoid paying child support payments. “I had a case where someone was held in contempt because they weren’t paying child support, and meanwhile they posted pictures of themselves on Facebook while they were on vacations in France, Canada and Florida,” said Aimee Richter, a divorce attorney and the immediate past president of the Brooklyn Bar Association. Only recently are exhibits like Instagram photos and text messages being treated just like any other piece of evidence in court. (via Brooklyn Eagle)

NEW CHAMBER CHIEF TALKS ON FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE

Unlike so many Brooklynites who have made the borough their adoptive home, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s new leader is a proud local product. Hector Batista, the Chamber’s president and CEO since October, grew up in the borough, where he saw firsthand the defining role of mom-and-pop businesses in Brooklyn’s character. His father was a travel-agency owner in Sunset Park, and Batista remembers his parents talking about the challenges of small business at the dinner table. “At the heart of this city is the small business,” Batista says. “The vibrancy of our city, the vibrancy of the borough, is the diversity of the borough and our retail shopping strips.” Read more about Batista’s first 100 days in office and his vision for Brooklyn business.(The Bridge via Brooklyn Eagle)

ADVICE FOR COUPLES, EVENTS FOR SINGLES AND CHOCOLATE FOR EVERYBODY

We decided to get sentimental this week and spend our whole podcast exploring Valentine’s Day and diving into the Eagle’s archives to see how the paper has covered it over the years. We also hear from relationship counselor Charley Wininger on the best lessons for any couple, old or new. And old-school Brooklyn chocolatier, Michael Rogak shares his holiday experiences as well as his rich, charming family history. (via Brooklyn Eagle)

Staff Picks

LONG READ:

“The Secret History of Women in Coding” (via The New York Times Magazine)

ANOTHER LONG READ:

Children are filming themselves whispering, chewing or tapping to give their viewers an ASMR buzz. What’s the cost of their vulnerable YouTube fame? (via Wired)

EAT:

Here are the 26 best dive bars in New York City, including eight in Brooklyn. (via Eater)

CARTOON:

Love is no longer blind(via The New Yorker)

NATIONAL BULLETIN:

Mardi Gras blackface is a point of controversy…Texas police find four malnourished children, including two locked in a dog crate…And Hollywood’s national park is recovering from wildfires. (via NYT, CNN and The Guardian)

FOREIGN FLASH:

India wants to grow its medical tourism into a $9 billion industry by 2020…Students in Britain skip school to save the planet…And Canadian thieves make off with $9,000 in iceberg water. (via CNN, NYT and The Guardian)

ROYAL WATCH:

Princess Diana Snub: How the Royal Family Mocked Diana” (via Daily Express)