Friday’s Headlines: Yes, It’s Finally Spring Edition

The big news yesterday was that the Mets are clearly going all the way. The Yanks won, too.

In other news:

  • Lots of outlets covered the mayor’s sort of fake announcement that he was reducing the overall city vehicle fleet and would reduce the amount of fuel they burn. Like many, the Post pointed out that de Blasio dramatically increased the vehicle fleet since taking office. The Wall Street Journal called the move “a small dent.” Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s David Meyer is working on a second-day story that is going to be awesome. But first, he grilled the mayor about the Queens Boulevard bike lane — but the mayor refused to use the word “bike lane.”
  • Drivers who double-park in school zones caused serious injuries to a 12-year-old boy in Jackson Heights. (NBC4)
  • Mayor de Blasio’s obsession with ferries is really soaking taxpayers to the tune of $10.73 per ride, according to the latest figures. Ridership is paltry. (Gothamist, NY Post, NYDN)
  • Council Speaker Corey Johnson is obviously sick of the NYPD not taking placard abuse seriously that he’s created a new web portal with stats and maps and ways to contact authorities. It’s worth poking around.
  • And in case you needed a transcript of a recent community meeting on congestion pricing, the usually excellent West Side Rag is happy to oblige. Meanwhile, the Tribeca Citizen opines.
  • The Times is way late on the floating billboard story.
  • And, finally, sad news for anyone who covered the city in the 1990s — and for those of you who admired a Parks Commissioner who did weird stunts, created nicknames for everything, and had staffers walk his dog and register each time someone pet him: New York legend Henry Stern is dead. (NY Post, but the NY Times had the definitive Robert D. McFadden obit. Then again, amNY’s Lisa Colangelo definitely knew Stern back in the day. But did she get a nickname? Our editor was “MetroGnome” — and he still has the nameplate.)

Have a great, warm spring weekend, people.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Stern’s first tenure, under Mayor Ed Koch, lasted from 1983 through 1990. Mayor Rudy Giuliani brought Stern back as commissioner for both of his terms, 1994 through 2002.”

    Now for the data. One of those terms was not like the other.

    In the first term, when the city and state were responsibly trying to cover from the irresponsibility of the 1960s and early 1970s and actually paid down the debts and pensions increases of that earlier time and invested actual taxes paid in capital expenditures, Koch increased the Parks Department Budget to the national average as a percent of personal income. That and private donations restored parks all over the city, under Stern’s leadership. Older generations made good on their mistakes and turns things around. I was tracking the turnaround, and was pleased.

    But then Dinkins and Giuliani slashed Parks Department funding to far less than the U.S. average. Like the MTA under Pataki/Giuliani/Sheldon Silver/Joe Bruno, Stern was told to “make it work.” The NY Times gave him credit for being “creative” and using borrowed capital funds for basic maintenance. But he was basically selling off the future of the parks to try to save the present for those who were around at the time.

    The good news is that Parks Department funding was later restored again under Bloomberg. Non-debt funding for the MTA Capital plan? Not so much.

    Even with that higher parks funding, however, the parks are short of cash — at the highest state and local tax burden anywhere. To the point where there was a proposal to in effect “tax” the donations people made to their local parks to use for parks in poorer neighborhoods. I stopped donating to my local park when that proposal was offered. Not because I’m against charity for the poor — if they had asked us to donate for that purpose I’d have considered it, particularly if people who don’t have money are willing to contribute their time. Because I’m sick of being lied to.

  • walks bikes drives

    I started with Parks just after Stern exited, and was under Benepe, his successor. But Stern was always still around, and he so nicely granted me a nickname as well. He basically just adapted a form of my boss’ nickname to fit me and yet differentiate me from her. He will be missed.

  • walks bikes drives

    The amazing thing, though, was he remembered each and every nickname he gave. I saw him on the street one time, months after he had nicknamed me, yet had not had further contact with him, and he greeted me.

  • NYCyclist

    The Parking Placard web portal is nice,

    but clicking the button to lodge a “Parking Placard Complaint” goes instead to a page for housing complaints.

    Can’t anyone in this city do something right?