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A Round and a Roundy: The MTA’s ‘Parade of Horribles’

8:47 AM EDT on July 23, 2020

Cartoon: Bill Roundy

Editorial cartoonist Bill Roundy by editorial cartoonist Bill Roundy.
Editorial cartoonist Bill Roundy by editorial cartoonist Bill Roundy.

On Wednesday, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said his agency's massive, multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall means he and the MTA Board must confront a "parade of horribles" — a reference to the tough choices the agency must make to keep the trains and buses running.

What a term — a "parade of horribles." It conveys so much in so few words — and provides the inspiration for this week's bonus cartoon by our editorial scrivener Bill Roundy.

Where does such a term even come from? We wondered, so we dove into the Google to discover that  legendary subway activist Gene Russianoff used it back in 2009 during an earlier round of budget negotiations. He revived the term in 2015...during another budget crisis.

Dan Rivoli, then with the Daily News, used the term in 2018 to describe the L train shutdown (before it was avoided).

But it may turn out that the term dates back to a 1993 lawsuit against the railroad company Conrail over worksite conditions after a railway worker died toiling in the sun on a hot day.

In other words, transit companies have been facing these unhappy parades for decades.

All of Bill Roundy's cartoons are archived here.

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