(Photo: Scott Lynch)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved plans to build that nine-story hotel next to the Merchant’s House Museum in the East Village. [NY Observer]

Former New York Times culture reporter Milton Esterow, editor and publisher of the 112-year-old magazine ARTnews, sold the publication to a Russian investment banker. []

Someone videotaped a rat taking a cross-borough joyride on the A train. [Daily Intelligencer]

FYI: MTA has allocated $1.1 million for “rat eradication” in 2014. [NBC NY]

Maybe this is a marketing ploy engineered by Moby — his latest video, “Saints,” stars a rat puppet.

Washington Square Park now has a playground and bathrooms. [NYU Local]

Williamsburg crime news: A woman sitting on a park bench had her cellphone stolen by a person pedaling on a bicycle. [DNA Info]

A Florida pastor was convicted of trying to sell fake Damien Hirst artwork to Southeby’s New York headquarters early last year. He will be sentenced next month. [Hyperallergic]

Fresh off his EP release and Letterman appearance, local rapper Le1f  will perform at the Brooklyn Museum’s Brooklyn Artists Ball Dance Party next Wednesday. Tickets cost $100 and include an early viewing of the new Ai Weiwei exhibit. [Brooklyn Vegan]