Mayorus Interruptus Edition – Streetsblog New York City
We went to the Flatiron District for a press conference with DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman… and a mayor’s photo op erupted.
We hoped to sprinkle the affable Commissioner with questions about multiple issues – his agency’s uninspired design for 34th Avenue Open Street, a recent report on how roads are safer with bike lanes than without, s ‘he had a reaction to our editor’s scathing operation -ed Monday, what he plans to say during today’s city council watchdog hearing on Vision Zero, and whether he’s optimistic that ‘he will get help from State DMV to get reckless drivers off the road etc. – but once the mayor showed up, the presser turned into a tape cutter. And that was it.
We had a good ceremonial photo, but that’s because we’re pros, but most of the news of the day came from the city’s “shared space” press release, which Eve Kessler translated into a top notch story (amNY also covered).
It’s funny, because the mayor’s photoshoot came just hours after press superstars Katie Honan of The City and Julia Marsh of the New York Post blasted the mayor during his daily WebEx call to continue to keep the New York press at bay. using virtual pressers. Considering how little contact we had with Hizzoner during Monday’s event, we are inclined to support – for now – Blasio’s current strategy of administering daily calls. At least we can ask our questions (and sometimes answer them).
In other Monday news:
- Our friends at The Times rounded up on something we were working on: The city is revising its bus safety plan and Fifth Avenue safety to appease the wealthy. The story of Dana Rubinstein and Winnie Hu is particularly significant as it tells about a corrupt public policy process inside de Blasio’s town hall.
- The death of 2-year-old Leilani Rosales should not be considered an “accident”, as the police called it. Especially when the girl’s grandfather admitted the problem: SUVs are too big and our city and state literally do nothing to stop such killing machines from wreaking havoc on our roads: “She walked past the road. car, ”grandfather Castellano told Daily News. . “She’s 2 feet tall. You can’t see her. The News article didn’t bother to cite the danger of SUVs – although the transport journalist has long covered it. (The coverage in the Post and amNY was shallow.)
- Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo continues to make mayor de Blasio look like a fool of weak will when it comes to road safety. (Bloomberg)
- Extinction Rebellion activists blocked traffic on FDR Drive to stress the need for the United States to take climate change seriously (NY Post, amNY). The rally led to many poorly crafted tweets from drivers complaining about traffic, which as you might have guessed was the point.
- Thank goodness the city completed the Brooklyn Bridge bike path before anti-vaxx activists stormed the pavement on the historic span to complain about essential public health measures. (The Brooklyn Paper had the best shot; the Post and Gothamist also covered)
- Asking a Friend: Can you honestly call yourself a social media ‘influencer’ if you take money from Rep Adriano Espaillat to post flattering things about her on your calendar? (The city)
- And finally, Gene Friedman, the “Taxi King” or cab bastard, depending on who you listen to, passed away on Sunday. Monday’s Times obituary repeated many of Friedman’s predatory practices, but did not include the rise of Uber and Lyft as co-conspirators (but it’s comparable to The Times, as we reported in 2019). Streetsblog friend Charles Komanoff pointed out the glaring omission (albeit with far too much praise for our editor’s previous story):
So true. But your newspaper’s investigative reporter missed the math and blamed the destruction on predatory lenders, who were only a contributing cause. @GershKuntzman & I was on it, too bad the @PulitzerPrizes the jury was not: https://t.co/9WH3W5uBps https://t.co/9t6tKNV98Z
– Charles Komanoff (@Komanoff) October 26, 2021
- In some sort of related story, several politicians were arrested supporting over-indebted taxi drivers during their ongoing protest at city hall. (NYDN)