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Bill de Blasio

Friday’s Headlines: Virtual De Blasio Edition

12:04 AM EDT on March 20, 2020

The virtual presser.

The mayor gave his daily COVID-19 update yesterday in an empty room at City Hall, with members of the much-vaunted New York press corps participating online.

We appreciate the need to socially distance ourselves from our elected leaders — two Council Members, Inez Barron and Ritchie Torres, have tested positive — but we have to admit we pine for the days when we would be crammed into a small conference room or community center basement with our reporter pals, firing questions at the mayor. We even miss tangling with Marcia Kramer!

On the plus side, it did prompt yet another classic exchange between our old man editor and his sparring partner, the mayor. It started when he prefaced his question with concern — rarely seen among the press corps — for Hizzoner and his family:

mayoral exchange

People seemed to like the "who knows?"

The good news is that there was plenty of real news yesterday, even as we all socially distance ourselves from everything but our typewriters:

    • To start with, after inquiring of our health, the mayor did agree to announce some bike safety plan at some point today. (Streetsblog)
    • Rail-loving Rep. Jerry Nadler is the first pol out the gate to point out that the $4 billion being sought by the MTA is far too little. (NY1)
    • One of Staten Island's fast-driving Council Members called on the city to shut off its speed cameras during the coronavirus because, as he put it, "Issuing summonses for going 36 mph on empty and deserted roads ... is simply beyond the pale” (SI Advance). No, Council Member Steven Matteo, driving 11 miles per hour above a 25-mph speed limit is what's beyond the pale. Jesus, just slow down, please.
    • In a related story to Matteo's bizarre call to lawlessness, The Post followed Julianne Cuba's excellent Streetsblog story about the 43-percent rise in cyclist injuries.
    • Council Members Margaret Chin and Carlos Menchaca called for e-bike legalization (which is happening, by the way) in Gotham Gazette.
    • City & State kept up the heat on our elected officials, this time with a story by Ross Barkan saying that Gov. Cuomo's coronavirus performance only looks good compared to the hapless de Blasio and President Trump.
    • Streetsblog gets action: It all started when New York City Transit tweeted thanks to its customers who "chose not to ride" the subway the other day. We considered that a bit glib, given that the MTA's ridership collapse is at least partly due to people being fired. So we said so, prompting the agency to issue an apology.
    • Here's a good one from our friends at Gothamist: The NYPD is sitting on a huge trove of seized e-bikes, even as the mayor said he won't crack down on delivery workers because of their vital role now.
    • Cars and coronavirus rage just don't mix. (NY Post)
    • The Times did a feature on the delivery heroes who are keeping this city supplied during the crisis.
    • Finally, in some personal pique, Gov. Cuomo gave some landlords a big break by suspending mortgage payments. We wonder if Streetsblog reporters — renters all! — will get any of that gravy. (Gothamist)

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