Monday’s Headlines: We Need More Open Space, Not Less Edition

It's like a Sasquatch sighting — but only because the photo is blurry as stunned residents fumble their cameras as they see Mayor de Blasio on his regular walk in Prospect Park. Photo: Jessica Scott via Twitter
It's like a Sasquatch sighting — but only because the photo is blurry as stunned residents fumble their cameras as they see Mayor de Blasio on his regular walk in Prospect Park. Photo: Jessica Scott via Twitter

What a bizarre weekend — and when we say bizarre, we’re obviously talking about the mayor.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor de Blasio threw optics to the wind and himself and the First Lady driven to Prospect Park — one of the city’s most-crowded green spaces right now — so they could get some exercise. It was all over Twitter, with people posting their blurry Sasquatch sightings, but the drive-to-the-walk-thing is a real problem for the mayor, who was asked about it at his Sunday press conference.

Why, a reporter from 1010 WINS wanted to know, would the mayor be driven from his mansion to Prospect Park when his house is literally inside a park (and a nice one, to boot). The mayor did not address the question.

In other weird de Blasio news:

  • The mayor killed his own open space pilot program, which at one point he had considered expanding. He couldn’t give a very good reason, with a rambling explanation that veered into Yogi Berra territory (Streetsblog). A day earlier, we had written our latest must-hear song parody about the over-policed public space debacle (Streetsblog).
  • Reckless drivers going crazy on New York’s mostly empty streets, but neither de Blasio nor the NYPD responded to requests for comment. (Streetsblog)
  • Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo is rightly concerned about the mayor’s apparent ability to reduce hours on the island’s ferry lifeline by fiat. (SI Advance)

And in other news:

  • Times Square is really empty. Maybe the mayor can walk there? (TKTS via Twitter)
  • Friend of Streetsblog Charles Komanoff (with Chris Ketcham, an old friend of our grizzled editor) argued in The Intercept that society should definitely keep the one upside of the coronavirus crisis: carbon emissions are way down.
  • We can’t help feeling that the MTA got the short-shrift in federal coronavirus relief allocations, which were quietly released on Thursday (Federal Transit Administration). The MTA, which requested more than $4 billion, only got $3.79 billion — and, as math teaches us, that missing $.21 billion is the same as $210 million! That’s no small change.
  • Meanwhile, the city’s Independent Budget Office put out a report (on a Sunday?) saying the MTA is going to lose close to $1 billion in fare revenue if ridership does not bounce back by June.
  • Here’s another amNY scoop: The city’s dog runs will all close today because they’re overcrowded, the mayor says.
  • Hat tip to Jorge Fitz-Gibbon for his lede on the story of The Bronx Zoo tiger that caught coronavirus. (NY Post)
  • A guy apparently took a nap on the subway tracks at W. Fourth St. No, really, the Post has pictures!

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De Blasio on a rare subway trip in early 2014. Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office

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