Thursday Headlines: So, a Pigeon Gets on a Bus Edition

We are red-faced to admit this, but we missed CBS2’s incredible coverage of the minor bus crash on Tuesday that apparently resulted from a driver who was distracted by a passenger. That passenger was a pigeon. Or at least that’s what the bus driver is saying, given that the bird with the beef is now on the lam. (You’re welcome.)

And now, the news:

  • Now you can add swastikas to the list of ills for the suffering L train. (NYDN)
  • First, he lacked all sense of decency and honor — and now Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr. lacks a committee to chair. (NYDN) Meanwhile, say it ain’t so, Ydanis, say it ain’t so! (No, really, people are saying you need to be clearer that you don’t support Ruben Diaz’s homophobic comments). (NY Post)
  • Gothamist joined Streetsblog in being very critical of the MTA’s mitigation plan for the L-train repairs, following up on both outlets’ initial scoops on the coming mini-L-pocalypse. The Post focused on the MTA scrubbing the 14th Street busway, while the Daily News reminded us how long we’ll be waiting for trains on weeknights (WSJ, too). Humble humanist Vin Barone at amNY focused on one word: “disruptive.”
  • NY1 covered placard abused. So did the anti-bike Queens Courier.
  • How do we feel about the movement to make more drivers — even if doing so is fair? (amNY)
  • New York treasure Jen Carlson deserves kudos for trying to clean the subway system after Gov. Cuomo’s insensitive remarks about how the MTA goes about it. (Gothamist)
  • You gotta check out this short video of all the different bike lane configurations on a single street in San Jose. (Bicycling)
  • And, finally, Tamika Butler is totally on a roll.
  • Joe R.

    So passenger pigeons aren’t extinct after all.

  • qrt145
  • Just this Monday I rode the SI Ferry with a pigeon. Just chilling in the cabin picking up crumbs off the floor. Living the life. Nobody cared.

  • Joe R.

    Well, it looks like some people here got what they wanted:

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amazon-abandons-plans-for-new-york-headquarters-165803277.html

    Now if I was in my teens or 20s again, and hoping for a good job to use the skills I acquired in high school and college, I would be mad as hell about this. Yes, there are some things Amazon should have done differently in their quest to locate here, but the unrelenting flood of criticism from all corners is what drove them away. Personally, I think this is a Pyrrhic victory for livable streets advocates. If anyone has kids who might be specializing in engineering, it’s highly likely they may now face the same choices I did 35 years, namely relocate far away from everything you care about to a lifeless corporate “campus” in the middle of nowhere, or face a life of perpetual underemployment if they want to stay in the city. NYC may be the capital of the world in some fields, but we have a dearth of science and engineering jobs, certainly far less than can be filled by the flood of good science and engineering graduates our schools turn out. Just something to think about.

  • bolwerk

    I don’t really care if they locate in NYC or not, and I find this notion of NYC needing to care whether it has a discrete company or not kind of small-minded. But they really could have done it without plopping down like a piano landing crowd of people and gotten much less grief for their trouble.

    That said, I find it unlikely Amazon would have changed that dearth, and it might well have worsened it. HQ2 isn’t going to be full of researchers in lab coats. It’s going to be stagnant businessmen, account managers, and administrators. The fact that they could be put anywhere (remember how Amazon tried to put Dutch auction the whole thing?) should be enough to tell you how useless the whole charade was.

    If Cuomo were up for a long game, he might have tried to get Amazon to bring AWS campuses in. Those by themselves probably support 30 or 40 positions each at most, but at least they could be relatively low-skill locals. Eventually it might make sense to have engineering nearby then. And NYC are even geographically well-positioned for telecommunications.

  • redbike

    Let’s not quibble or split hairs: this is a black eye and a bloody nose for both Cuomo and DeBlasio; plenty of blame to be shared. Had the Amazon negotiations been between private parties, secrecy and horse-trading would have been part of deal-making. But contrast and compare: somehow Google is managing to expand its NYC footprint — bigly — with no government handouts or subsidies. I’ll quickly add: I’m no fan of Google; just noting that they seem to be doing just fine with no special considerations.

  • Joe R.

    I agree the magnitude of concessions offered to Amazon was over the top. However, once their foot was in the door, so to speak, and their building(s) were up, NYC/NYS would have had a little more leverage to alter the terms of the deal if things weren’t quite working out like they expected. In the end, I think Amazon would have caved because it’s still enormously profitable for them to be here, even without concessions. What probably drove them away was the unrelenting browbeating by elected officials, and frankly, I don’t blame them. Unfortunately, a fair number of elected officials in this city still don’t grasp the basic concept that tax receipts ultimately are a function of whether or not businesses see the trade off of higher taxes versus the benefits of being in NYC as worthwhile. Also, the fact we seem to regularly offer concessions to developers and others to stay here should at least be a clue to elected officials that perhaps our taxes are too high, and our regulatory environment is too burdensome. If these were in line with those in other states, Amazon likely wouldn’t have even asked for the special considerations.

    Yes, it’s going to be interesting seeing the fallout from this hit Cuomo and DeBlasio.

  • There already is and has been a flood of high tech companies in New York City for at least 20 years. Google and Microsoft both have huge campuses here – without subsidies as far as I know.
    There are thousands of startups here and many more extant tech companies of every stripe, plus company back offices using fintech etc.
    According to many sources, NYC has the third largest tech sector in the US.
    Here’s one source: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/osdc/rpt4-2018.pdf

  • Joe R.

    Basically, it looks like a lot of jobs for computer nerds and not much else. No EE jobs, no research jobs, etc. A lot of those jobs are either doing software for Wall Street firms, or at Internet Service Providers. Not exactly what I was thinking of. No major manufacturing firms which employ engineers of all disciplines, either. That and R&D are what provide the greatest, most interesting jobs. I don’t know that Amazon would have helped much in that area, but I was hoping for a synergistic effect where others might come here and provide such jobs. Not for me, obviously. I’m 56, can’t work outside the home because I’m taking care of my elderly mother. But perhaps those younger could have opportunities I never did.

  • Where are you getting your information from?

    I’ve worked in tech here since the 90s. There is every imaginable type of tech job in the NYC metro area including all kinds of research into all kinds of things. If you do a little searching against your preconceived notions, you can easily find evidence of this. Of course, some regions have more of some types of jobs than we do, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have our own strengths.

    New York City wouldn’t be attracting the best and brightest young people to live here, with its extremely high rents, if this wasn’t the case.

    I don’t know what magical type of jobs you thought Amazon would be providing here that we don’t already have.

  • Joe R.

    I’ve done EE consulting work, some of it for people in NYC. At best it’s niche. Most of my work was for a taximeter shop, and that’s not exactly lucrative. I made four figures most years. My one big break was for a nice research project I got through a friend. Fortunately, I was able to do most of the work at home, but the main site was in rural New Jersey. Thankfully I only had to go there 3 times in 4 years. That job ended last year.

    A lot of what exists in NYC seems to be “tech support”. Basically, every large firm needs people to manage their computers, build their websites, design their software, and so forth. Perhaps that’s a strength of NYC but it’s not something I went to school for, or something I would have found all that satisfying. You’re more or less babysitting for a bunch of less technically literate people and fixing whatever messes happen. And you’re working in an office, which means you probably have to dress the part.

    I don’t know what magical type of jobs you thought Amazon would be providing here that we don’t already have.

    I explained my thoughts on that. Amazon itself may or may not have anything much different from what already exists. However, a conglomeration of such firms would eventually result in a very diverse need for all sorts of scientific and engineering talents, sort of the way Silicon Valley has worked.

    What exactly do you do? Great for you if you found a job you love at a high enough salary to get by. I spent most of my adult working life just getting by, and never enjoyed one job I had, except maybe the last one. I’m actually glad to finally be more or less done with worrying about earning money.

  • There already is a conglomeration of such firms.

  • Joe R.

    No major manufacturing in NYC. With our subway and all the commuter lines, we should at least have a major railcar manufacturing facility here. That’s the kind of engineering I would have loved.

    That research place in NJ whom I last worked for easily could have been in NYC as well.

    Funny but quite a few people I went to school with, at least those who had real careers, had to leave the city. Those who didn’t ended up doing whatever shit jobs they could get. Also, you talk about high tech firms being here for perhaps the last 20 years. They weren’t as numerous 20 years ago, and before then they were pretty much nonexistent. I graduated college in 1985. Whatever happened in NYC 15 or 20 years later really wasn’t helpful to me personally.

  • fdtutf
  • One of the stunning reality I learned coming to this country is that you need a drivers license for most of your transactions, thus the issuance of “non driver” driver’s licenses. for the immigrants, this will be the path to a much more normalized life, the opportunity to use legally all sorts of motorcycles , mopeds and class 2 or 3 ebikes. .

  • Joe R.

    If it makes anyone feel any better, more highly skilled jobs, including doctors and engineers, will eventually be killed off by automation also. In the present economy brain is more useful than brawn, unless of course you’re a star athlete. This is just going to make increasing numbers of people both unemployed and unemployable. None of the answers to it are pretty. We could start a universal basic income. We could have selective breeding, which essentially means prohibiting lower IQ people from having children. We could just accept modern-day Hoovervilles of the jobless. Like I said, none of the potential answers are really all that great.

  • Joe R.

    I was born here, but I really needed the NYS non-drivers ID. It serves the same function as a driver’s license when applying for jobs, or doing anything else where a form of ID is required.

  • fdtutf

    One of those three answers is fucking excellent, not to mention probably necessary, and if you don’t realize that, you can be safely ignored.

    Just for clarity, it’s the first one. We already know that eugenics and Hoovervilles are terrible ideas.