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Why You Might Need to Line Up for a New Driver’s License

Weather: Rain, mainly after lunchtime, with a high near 50.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Feb. 26 (Ash Wednesday).


A New York State driver’s license can help you do lots of things: enter bars, get a senior discount MetroCard, earn a blue verification badge on Facebook.

For many years, you could also use your driver’s license to board domestic flights and enter federal buildings. Starting Oct. 1, you’ll need a new driver’s license to do that.

To get that new license, you have to apply in person at a motor vehicle office.

And if you thought the lines were long before. …

[Need a new driver’s license to fly? Prepare for a real wait.]

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is offering three types of documents: REAL ID, Enhanced and standard. (Nondrivers can get similar documents.)

These three documents are a result of a law Congress passed in 2005, which, among other things, set “minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.” Starting in October, federal officials will require people to use those new licenses.

REAL ID: You can use this license or ID card to board domestic flights and enter federal facilities and military bases. Applying for this requires an in-person visit to a D.M.V. office. It is available to citizens and legal residents.

REAL IDs have a star at the top right of the card.

Enhanced: You can use this card to board domestic flights and enter federal facilities and military bases. You can also use it to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico and some Caribbean countries.

The document is available only to U.S. citizens and requires an in-person visit to a D.M.V. office.

Enhanced cards have an American flag at the lower-right corner and the word “Enhanced” at the top.

Standard: You cannot use this card to board domestic flights after October, nor to enter federal facilities or enter the United States at an airport or border crossing. Applying for this document does not require an in-person visit to a D.M.V. office.

The words “Not for federal purposes” are at the top right of the card.

In New York, REAL ID transactions have increased by more than 500 percent since November 2017, when the D.M.V. began issuing the licenses.

A top official at the department said it had hired 400 more employees and assigned them to offices downstate, my colleague James Barron reported.

D.M.V. offices are rarely known for speedy service. Now, the problem appears to be getting worse, as people try to get new licenses ahead of the October deadline.

A police detective died by suicide in Middle Village, Queens. [QNS]


All levels are welcome at a slow flow yoga class at the NYRR RUNCENTER in Manhattan. 7:30 a.m. and noon. [Free with R.S.V.P.]

The Toni Morrison Festival celebrates the author’s life with music, dance and speakers at the Brooklyn Museum. 6 p.m. [$10]

Historians shed light on New York City’s early black neighborhoods at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Manhattan. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

— Alana Herlands

Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times’s culture pages.


The Times’s Winnie Hu reports:

There are freshly plucked ornamental grasses by the sink, and four gleaming toilets with sanitary seat covers that rotate between uses with the wave of a hand.

Black-and-white photos of old New York decorate the walls. Soothing classical music is piped in, along with heat on chilly days.

“It’s very elegant,” marveled Yolanda Reyes, 53, a cleaning woman from Brooklyn who made a pit stop after getting off the subway. “It made me feel very comfortable.”

The well-appointed bathroom, which reopened recently after a two-and-a-half-year makeover that cost nearly $600,000, sits in Greeley Square Park, on Broadway between 32nd and 33rd Streets. It’s a quick dash from a major subway stop and the New York terminus of the PATH train, which connects Manhattan to New Jersey.

Elements here were copied from nearby Bryant Park, which has long had the Tiffany’s of public restrooms.

“We cater to everybody from C.E.O.s to homeless people,” said Dan Biederman, who oversees the bathrooms in both locations as president of the 34th Street Partnership and executive director of the Bryant Park Corporation. “It’s one of the few places where people interact. It’s common space.”

The Greeley Square bathroom is open seven days a week and staffed by an attendant at all times. Its annual operating budget of $245,000 will be paid by the partnership.

It’s Tuesday — treat yourself.


Dear Diary:

We were stargazing in Fort Tryon Park. The burned-out bulbs in many of the street lamps were serving us well.

Justin, an amateur astronomer, called out to us in the dark, tempting us with visions of other planets.

“Have you ever seen Saturn?” he asked. “The skies are clear tonight, the best in months.”

Wary of strangers, our curiosity nonetheless outweighed our hesitation.

We had begun to take turns looking up through the lens of Justin’s telescope when a bus pulled up and parked, obstructing our view of the sky.

“Wait here,” Justin said, jogging off toward the bus.

He and the driver shared some words, and the bus inched forward just enough for us to gaze up in awe at Saturn’s icy rings.

And then, a tap on the shoulder.

“Would you mind if I had a turn?” the bus driver asked.

— Jordyn Kaufman


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