It's bad enough that the Fourth of July commemorates the 1776 secession of a group of human-owning oligarchs from a despotic monarch (no matter how much "Hamilton" whitewashes it), but this year's celebration featured an anxiety-producing cacophony of illegal fireworks all through the night. Standing on any roof in town, one could not help but wonder if New York was simply blowing itself up to put it out of its own misery.
Or maybe New York is just ungovernable again:
On the plus side, of course, New Yorker is smart enough to stay in town on holiday weekends got to enjoy the first weekend of May or de Blasio's ill-named "open restaurants on open streets" initiative, which humanized our streets by welcoming cafe tables where there had once been stored cars.
Our team hit the streets and made a photo montage of the highlights ...
and the lowlights...
The story got some coverage over the weekend, with the Times defying the mayor's rosy scenario to point out (as we did last week) how difficult restaurateurs are finding the whole thing. And though Streetsblog has been largely in support of the movement to reclaim public space from private automobiles, Democratic Socialist Nicole Murray gave our readers something else to consider.
And so did lawyer Daniel Flanzig with this scary video:
Meanwhile, Fox News reports that New York's returning diners are a bunch of ogres.
In other news:
The Times doubled-down on bike coverage this weekend, first with a feature story on the Street Riders NYC bike protests and then with one of the Gray Lady's increasingly annoying question-headlined stories, "Could New York Finally Become a Bike City?" (annoying because the story goes on to make it clear that the answer is decisively "No." (The story also had a major error, namely that the city is in the middle of setting aside 100 miles of roadways for cyclists.)
Speaking of the Street Riders, the group is featured in the latest "War on Cars" podcast. And Streetfilms documentarian Clarence Eckerson Jr. rode along during Saturday's "Independence Not" protest (Streetsblog).
Gridlock Sam says we are almost back to full traffic again. He means that as a bad thing (NYDN) — which is why Nicole Gelinas wrote a clarion call op-ed in the Times over the weekend demanding more federal money for transit.
Meanwhile, three people were stabbed on the subway. (NYDN)
Up in Albany, Big Dog Excelsior Car Guy lived up to his Streetsblog nickname (and appeared to be giving the Onion a new meme). (NY Post)
In case you missed it, the budget sausage just ground out by City Hall cut the budget for the NYPD placard abuse team, meaning that the mayor's effort to root out the gateway drug of corruption has gone from toothless to full gum rot (NY Post, confirming what we had covered back in April). Meanwhile, the city painted a Black Lives Matter mural in Downtown Brooklyn, and it's already half covered by parked placard-bearing cars (Doug Gordon via Twitter).
Some residents of Duane Street in Tribeca want a Citi Bike dock removed so there can be more space for open air dining. (Tribeca Citizen)
And, finally, we took a walk in Carroll Park in Brooklyn and noticed something missing from the Parks Department's plaque honoring the park's namesake. So we fixed it. You're welcome, Parks Department!