Friday’s Headlines: Corey Tells It Like It Is Edition

Corey Johnson on a Citi Bike.
Corey Johnson on a Citi Bike.

They say a gaffe is when a politician says something honest. But New York has another version: A transcendent moment is when a politician says something honest — and the New York Post tries to spin it as a gaffe.

We’ve seen that before with Cuozzo defending killer drivers and arguing that cycling is destroying the city.

But the latest example came on Thursday, when Council Speaker Corey Johnson spoke the truth — New York City has way too much free parking, which enables way too much driving, which destroys the livability of the city itself — and the Post said he had just destroyed his mayoral prospects.

It’s a classic move by the Tabloid of Record. Except one thing: Johnson is right. “We need to break the car culture,” he said in response to an entitled Village resident complaining about how hard it is to find free parking. “It is choking our streets. It is literally killing people. And that means we need to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists and mass transit over private automobile use.”

Good for Johnson for speaking truth to power the conservative elite of the city. But will the rest of the mainstream media cave before Rupert Murdoch’s minions — or will we have the courage to say, “Wait a second, that Johnson guy is right”? It’s up to you, New York, New York.

As you ponder that, here’s the rest of the news:

  • You have to watch this video of a man almost getting killed by a flood in the Court Square station. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • Confused about the MTA reorganization. Emma Fitzsimmons has the primer you’ve been waiting for. (NY Times)
  • If you really want to know about the confirmation hearing of the Mayor’s new TLC commissioner, there’s no better copy than Vin Barone’s at amNY. Actually, David Meyer’s story in the Post was good, too.
  • Like Streetsblog, Gothamist can’t get an answer on when or if Mayor de Blasio will restore the protected bike lane on Dyckman Street, which he removed last year.
  • Christopher Robbins offers a cycling etiquette guide that is totally on fleek. (Gothamist)
  • We’ve been enjoying Robert Sietsema’s food reviews and obscure finds for years, so we were crestfallen to hear that this stalwart two-wheelin’ culinary anthropologist was injured in a crash with a car — and that he might give up his bike entirely. (Eater)
  • In case you missed it, City & State joined the chorus of outlets realizing that the NYPD has a cultural bias against cyclists.
  • Larry Littlefield

    “The Post said he had just destroyed his mayoral prospects.”

    Depends on which generation votes. It’s like all that tribalist stuff coming out of Washington. It’s all pretty much back in the day.

    It is true, however, that what makes sense in Manhattan may not go down as well in outer Queens, even among first generation Americans.

  • BronxEE2000

    Corey Johnson is wrong and while he may not have destroyed his mayoral prospects (I’m a realist), he definitely took a big hit with those words.

  • vnm

    Anyone else catch the Good Day NY chit-chat segment w/Dr. Oz on cycling, riffing off of CoJo’s remarks on cars in the city? I heard bits and pieces. The headline was “Cars in the City” but it seemed to be more about being an anti-bike gripe sesh. Dr. Oz was the “pro” bike voice, I think, being pro-health, as a doctor.

  • Boeings+Bikes

    We happened to tune in to Brian Lehrer just as Corey made that statement. My wife was so thrilled she sent him $50. With 6x (or is it 8x) matching funds, that’s a big hit!

  • Twofooted

    Dr. Oz is a quack. Nobody should listen to him:

  • CJ

    He’s not wrong, and you’re on the wrong side of history.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t think it’s enough of an issue either way to swing the vote. For most people things like affordable housing, crime, and schools are more important. The majority of households in NYC don’t even own cars. Of those that do, many use them only to go out of the city on weekends, and might welcome changes which make it easier to get around by other modes during the week. Cycling especially could be a big seller in transit deserts.

  • Joe R.

    You have to sell things like cycling in places like outer Queens. People drive here because there’s nothing but lousy bus service. If we can convince them that cycling is a viable alternative to driving for lots of people, plus each person riding a bike is one less person driving, it could work.

  • BronxEE2000

    Except Johnson is constantly talking about “breaking the car culture”, of which this is a part of. I haven’t heard him talk much of anything else.

    I mean he absolutely doesn’t have my vote, based off his stance on cars solely. I’m sure there are others out there who are like me. There would be no way for him to sell his position that would make me vote for him.

  • Joe R.

    It’s entirely possible all the alternatives will have mostly similar positions. Look at the GOP, for example. For a long time they brushed aside climate change. Now you have some GOP members of Congress urging Trump to accept that climate change is real, and come up with an alternative to the Green New Deal. They realize the inevitability of action at this point, so they want a hand choosing that action. It’s much the same with “breaking the car culture” or whatever else you want to call it. We need to reduce car use a lot if we’re going to even have a chance of mitigating climate change. Johnson is just being more honest that the others, but for anyone who runs for Mayor some action on this issue is inevitable. Those who take the opposite position as Johnson may win the votes of people like yourself, but they’ll alienate people also. Whether it’s a net positive or negative, I just don’t know.

  • Corey Johnson

    The MTA is definitely ready for congestion pricing! Give up your cars and parking spots, the MTA is ready for all your prime time commuting needs! WOO!

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