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Bill de Blasio

Wednesday’s Headlines: Get a Colonoscopy Edition

12:04 AM EST on January 20, 2021

Mayor de Blasio (inset) reacts to our old man editor’s advice that he (and everyone over 50) get a colonoscopy. Meanwhile, his sign language interpreter shows the translation of “colonoscopy.”

Our old man editor was at it again yesterday, but for a good cause: public health!

During the mayor's question-and-answer session, he took the bait when the mayor asked (as he does), "How are you doing today?"

The answer: "Well, I'll be honest with you. I had a colonoscopy yesterday, Mr. Mayor, and I urge everyone over 50 to have one."

The mayor laughed, and lauded our editor as "a public-minded citizen" before basically dodging his question about the Union Square Partnership's bold, $100-million plan to turn one of New York's signature public spaces into a car-free oasis:

Well, I'm definitely interested. I have not seen the plan. I look forward to seeing it. We had an extraordinary experience in 2020, despite the pain, despite the challenges, we moved to the Open Streets model. We found it to be very successful, obviously, particularly in combination with the Open Restaurants. We're now looking at that model on a broader level, for sure. So, I want to see this plan and I'm happy they've put it forward.

Our editor followed up with a complaint that such visionary thinking typically comes from "exceptionally wealthy business improvement districts," which don't exist in poor communities where "every year, literally thousands of people are run down and either killed or seriously injured by cars." He wanted to know what the mayor "will do, this year, to make grand car-free public space or even a complete bike network for residents of say, East New York or Jackson Heights or the South Bronx." The mayor replied, again, with something far short of a $100-million plan:

We're going to be talking about, in the coming weeks, a lot of what we have to do in the year 2021. And again, what we found was the Open Streets approach worked really, really well. It's a big piece of the future of New York City. It will be permanent. And as you know that is an approach that we put into all different kinds of neighborhoods, all five boroughs, neighborhoods that happen to be wealthier and neighborhoods that happen to be not. ... And we're recommitting ourselves in 2021 to Vision Zero, going deeper with it. So, a lot to come, but again, we have learned something really extraordinary from our experience, the painful backdrop of 2020, something that we're going to use to be a positive going forward when it comes to Open Streets and deepening Vision Zero.

In any event, come for the mayoral response, but stay for the ASL translation of "colonoscopy" (below):

Now, in other news:

    • Having won (at least for now) the fare hike battle, advocates are turning their attention to getting back a real, 24/7 subway. (amNY)
    • Meanwhile, the MTA received $600,000 from the feds to study "how COVID-19 travels throughout the metropolitan region by studying aerosol dispersion in transit” on Metro-North and the LIRR (NYDN). Meanwhile, a self-serving MTA survey shows wide support for the overnight cleaning, even though COVID-19 spreads through the air (NY Post).
    • Most of the media got a second day out of Monday's Black Lives Matter protest in Lower Manhattan. The Post was mostly interested in the arrested protesters' family trees (yes, Irving Berlin's great-grandson was among the arrestees). The Wall Street Journal focused on the excessive force. The Daily News and the Post took the cops' side. Gothamist told the truth about what it saw out there.
    • The Regional Plan Association says more federal investment in transit will spur the creation of scores of thousands of jobs. (amNY)
    • An MTA lawyer is suing the agency for not doing enough after her supervisor hit her. (NY Post)
    • The Times waited a day, but eventually got around to publishing its five-paragraph story about the Polly Trottenberg nomination for deputy Transportation secretary.
    • Park Slopers (perhaps even Mayor de Blasio) are mourning the death of Henry Goldberger, the owner of late great restaurant, Snooky's, and a true believer in equity. New York needs a lot more people like him. (Bklyner)
    • Finally, one programming note. In yesterday's headlines, we didn't mean anything snarky when we said that Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer had "bailed" out of the race for Queens Borough President last year; Van Bramer was caring for his aging mom, which we certainly support. We simply meant to say that he "dropped out" of the race. Sorry for the confusion. Van Bramer has been a strong voice for in the fight for livable streets and the battle against car culture, and we will eagerly be covering his race against incumbent Donovan Richards, who is also a ground-breaking figure.

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