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Coronavirus Crisis

Friday’s Headlines: Maybe He Can Go Back to the Gym, Too Edition

The mayor on Thursday.

We're starting to lose faith in Mayor de Blasio, and not just because he was so pissy at yesterday's virtual press conference (right, Katie Honan?). The guy was late on shutting down the city. He still hasn't closed the playgrounds. And his long-awaited "open streets" plan turned out to be a sick joke of roughly 1.5 miles of roadway reclaimed for pedestrians in a city with something like 6,000 miles of roads.

But now we find out from the Daily News that the mayor would like to reopen the schools on April 20. We're not epidemiologists, but there are only two people who want to get back to normal that quickly: Donald Trump and every funeral home director in town.

April 20? We can't help noticing that that date can also be written as 4/20 — yes, the mayor is smoking something if he wants to reopen the schools by then. Please make him stop.

In other news:

    • The kleptocracy strikes again! The federal coronavirus bailout bill will provide unemployment benefits to gig workers like Uber drivers and Grub Hub delivery workers — a benefit that is long overdue. But as Streetsblog USA reported, taxpayers are basically cleaning up the mess that Uber and the other tech giants made when they basically created the gig economy in the first place. It's like the financial crisis all over again: our elected leaders look the other way as billion-dollar companies refuse to play by the rules — in this case, by paying fair wages, unemployment insurance, workers comp and other benefits — and then stick taxpayers with the bill.
    • On the plus side, at least, New York's high court ruled that Postmates — and by extension other exploitive companies — must treat their "independent contractors" as real employees (Newsday), though, let's face it, the Supreme Court will likely side with the oligarchs and tech disrupters when the case makes it to SCOTUS.
    • The MTA's subway cuts are making it much harder to #FlattenTheCurve. (NY Post)
    • We enjoyed the New Yorker's breezy ride-along with a food delivery worker in the age of corona, but didn't appreciate how writer Zach Helfand glossed over the indecency of the de Blasio administration's persecution of these underpaid workers. At one point, Helfand alludes to $1,000 in tickets that worker Lenin Céron owes the city — but fails to do the math: It's the equivalent of 14 days of backbreaking work, according to Céron's pay on the day he shared with the writer.
    • Todd Maisel of amNY has the coronavirus — and if you know the hard-working shutterbug, the thought of working from home is weakening his system way more than any virus could. Get well soon!
    • Here's what could happen if the mayor would just get out of the way and let New Yorkers make their own roads safer. (Jon Orcutt via Twitter)
    • There were no follow-ups on our story about the mayor's paltry four-street "open-space" plan, announced late on Wednesday, mostly because Hizzoner declined to answer questions about it at his aforementioned testy press conference. (NY Post and NYDN had first-day stories)
    • It looks like our story about reckless driving got on the NYPD radar screen. (NYPD via Twitter)
    • And finally, it's not a "streets" story, but it is a New York tragedy: Curly Neal is dead. (NY Times)

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