Friday’s Headlines: This Is Your City On Cars Edition

dirty city

Old timers like our editor remember his parents’ generation trying to scare him straight by likening a drug-addled brain to a fried egg sizzling in a griddle.

“This is your brain. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs,” said the TV version of PSA (below left), complete with popping frying pan. “Any questions?”

Yeah, just one: Will someone make the coronavirus version of that public service ad? After all, everyone is remarking on how clean the air is now that everyone has stopped driving (and the Daily News had an op-ed about it, too). So to all the Boomers out there, we fixed your PSA for you:

this is your city twofer

OK, somebody do a better job matching up the font, print it up as a T-shirt, and send it to Mayor de Blasio. Until then, here’s the news roundup from yesterday:

  • One day after we reported that advocates think the MTA needs $4.4-$8 billion over the next 12 months, the MTA split the difference and asked Congress for $3.9 billion for the next nine months (NYDN). Meanwhile, the Post’s headline writers called it a “bailout.” It’s not a bailout. Public transit is basic infrastructure, like the water. They wouldn’t call repaving a road a “bailout” for drivers, would they?
  • We knew this was coming, but as longtime public swimmers from Astoria to Sunset Park, we can still say it sucks: Pools. Out. For. Summer. (That’s an Alice Cooper reference — man, we are old!) (NYDN). The Post took the second-day angle: This will lead to many drownings, as kids seek relief in non-protected bodies of waters, like rivers and oceans. The Tabloid of Record also predicted just a horrible summer all around.
  • Gothamist ran a heartfelt tribute to a great bike mechanic, Juan Vicente Valerio, of the outstanding Hospital de Bicicletas just off Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights.
  • Remember that hit-and-run in Queens? Now cops are saying it was a homicide, though the NYPD gave few additional details. (NYDN)
  • You gotta hate love the NYPD — cops won’t even get out of their car to curse out a guy! (Gothamist, NYDN, NY Post)
  • A day after we called out the New York Times for its continued quoting of the National Motorists Association, the car-loving Metro Section at the Paper of Record still hasn’t issued a correction for its latest story calling the group a “grass roots” organization when, in fact, it is a for-profit lobbying group. We don’t get it, Cliff.
  • Also, the Times loves cars so much that it had a story on Thursday bemoaning how city dwellers can’t easily buy electric cars because of the charging issue. Reminder: People who live in New York City should not have cars, no matter what their power source. And another reminder: Electric cars are only a tiny bit better for the planet than regular cars.
  • The Post’s coronavirus “hero of the day” is finally a bike delivery man. Take a bow, Eduardo Rojas!
  • We liked Clarence Eckerson’s latest Streetfilms video about how many people are enjoying the Kosciuszko Bridge bike and footpath. (Come for the footage, stay for the urgent plea for better connections.)
  • Manhattan’s Community Board 5 supports the plan to pedestrianize Broadway between Union Square and Central Park. (Patch)
  • Our friends at Gehl, a global urban design, strategy, and research consultancy, are asking New Yorkers to fill out a short survey about their experience with public space during the coronavirus crisis. If you’re anything like us, you’ll use every character of the “Any other comments” window to decry how little open space New Yorkers have under normal circumstances — and what a poor job Mayor de Blasio has done in creating more. The typical roadway in New York City is still set aside almost entirely for the movement and storage of privately owned cars.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG