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Monday’s Headlines: Hero Cops Bust Churro Lady Who is Obviously a Danger to EVERYONE

A team of officers surrounded a harmless churro seller. Photos:
Sofia Newman via Twitter

Come on, guys, just as Gov. Cuomo says he needs 500 more cops in the subway because of a terrible crisis completely overblown minor problem of underground fare beating and crime, the NYPD continues to undermine the governor's cause by beating up teens in the subway, violently arresting a guy who had his hands up and, now, arresting a completely defenseless churro seller.

The collar — and disrespectful treatment — of the supposed fried dough fiend set off the inevitable outrage from politicians, like State Senator Julia Salazar, Council Member Rafael Espinal in the Daily News and Comptroller Scott Stringer in the Post. It also invited more ridicule for the NYPD and its supporters, who (sadly) included Errol Louis.

Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz recalled that the churro vender in question, Ana Alvarado, has been arrested before, only to face the indignity of the arresting officers eating her supposedly unhealthy churros while they prepared her paperwork.

By Sunday, Sofia Newman's original video had been watched 1.8 million times, and the story crossed over into national news (NBC). More important, the Riders Alliance will host a rally on Monday at noon at the Broadway Junction to protest over-policing.

Until then, here's the news from a very busy weekend:

    • Time to pick another bone with the New York Times, which waited until Saturday to finally run its story about the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation that all states pass mandatory bike helmet laws (our story ran on Tuesday, you know, the same day the board made the recommendations). The Times story fails to emphasize that the NTSB overruled its own staff with the last-minute helmet law resolution — and also failed to point out that the board's analysts believe protected bike lanes and lower speed limits are far more helpful to cyclists than enforced helmet use. Also, hello?, the Netherlands? How about mentioning the country where almost half of all trips are on bicycle, yet the death toll is lower, thanks to infrastructure, not helmets.
    • Reporter Jacey Fortin should have used her Times colleague Peter Goodman's biking dispatch from Copenhagen for reference. Where Fortin sees only danger, Goodman sees a city that has made cycling safer and more popular by encouraging it, rather than discouraging it — a message Mayor de Blasio should start heeding.
    • We did enjoy Winnie Hu's report on hostile architecture in New York, a welcome respite from her coverage of minor transportation improvements as a war on cars. (NY Times)
    • The Post shot off another salvo in the false de Blasio "war on cars" with a story about how 6,100 parking spaces have been "lost" in the last two years as the city has repurposed them for loading zones (which reduce congestion to benefit drivers) and creating more no-parking zones during rush hour (again, which help speed drivers). Meanwhile, car registrations are up 9 percent in New York City, so if it's ever-so-slightly harder to find a space to store a private car for free in the public right of way, car owners should look in the mirror before assigning blame.
    • Oddly, the Tabloid of Record editorialized that the city needs to do more to protect pedestrians in Rockefeller Center during Christmastime. Perhaps by taking away more parking?
    • The MTA is going to fix Grand Central Station over the next 20 years, a massive project that will require closing parts of Park Avenue (WSJ), so why not take this opportunity to close Park Avenue permanently and convert it into a linear park, busway and bike lane, as Jon Orcutt has suggested?
    • Several Ranger stars — Adam Fox, Brady Skjei, Jacob Trouba, Brett Howden and Ryan Strome — took the subway from Madison Square Garden to Lasker Rink on Saturday, which is so rare that the MTA made sure to alert the media. (He can snark all he wants, but our old man editor, who plays in the over-50, broken down old man beer leagues, wishes he could even skate with a guy like Strome!)
    • In case you missed it, Streetfilms auteur Clarence Eckerson's new correspondent, Zardoz, went to the 14th Street busway and loved it. (Streetfilms)
    • And, finally, 14th Street busway opponent Arthur Schwartz's radio show is back on WBAI, thanks to the legal eagle's court victory — and Schwartz's first guest will be our editor, Gersh Kuntzman. Tune in at 5 p.m. on 99.5 FM, or the live stream at wbai.org, to hear a spirited debate about transit and why NIMBY lawsuits against transit improvements keep failing.

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