Thursday’s Headlines: NYC’s Hot Vax Summer Vibes Are Off Edition

A photo of the Manhattan skyline with lots of fluffy clouds and blue sky.
Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

As some young people have noted recently on social media, the vibes for NYC’s Hot Vax Summer 2021 are “off.”

Mayor de Blasio is playing basketball and booking a golden oldies Central Park “comeback concert” lineup. Gov. Cuomo is trying to strongarm lawmakers into giving him even more control over the MTA while suggesting that the state attorney general’s investigation into his alleged workplace misconduct is compromised. Violent crime is trending down, but deadly traffic is trending up. Perhaps most concerning: not enough city workers are vaccinated.

Almost 71 percent of adult New Yorkers has had at least one vaccine dose, but just 60 percent of municipal workers have gotten a single shot, according to the Daily News. At the NYPD, 47 percent of the 50,000 employees has received a dose. That’s better than the 33 percent of the 10,000 Correction Department workers, but worse than the 54 percent of 17,000 FDNY employees.

At the MTA, 65 to 70 percent of the workforce of 60,000 has gotten a shot. “Working down here in this filthy place, with the tunnels and the homeless, you’ve got to be immune to everything,” one train worker told the News, explaining why he was skipping the vaccine.

This week, de Blasio announced that city workers would have to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing; those who refused could be put on leave without pay. (The city, starting Friday, also will start paying residents $100 to get a shot.) Cuomo put a similar rule in place for state employees, which included a mandate for public-facing hospital employees that does not include a testing option.

“You’re going to have people that are going to resent it,” Sanitation union head Harry Nespoli told the Times. (Sanitation’s vaccination rate: 40 percent.)

Meanwhile, the Delta variant is spreading fast and killing people — overwhelmingly, unvaccinated people.

Get your shot; save lives; fix the vibes.

In other news:

  • The White House released a fact sheet for the infrastructure bill that is pending in Congress, and would you believe it: transit funding took a hit while highway funding rose. Highways got $110 billion; mass transit got $39 billion; and rail improvements will get $66 billion. When the ice caps melt and everything dies, at least we’ll know we engaged in bipartisanship. (To be fair, a chunk of the highway funds will go toward bridge repair.)
  • Speaking of roads, Bloomberg Businessweek has a terrific interactive piece showing the positive effects of highway removal in a historically Black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Toyota got beat on electric vehicles, so they’re lobbying against them, Wired reports.
  • Gov. Cuomo is grousing about the Gateway project again, mostly because he wants to remake Midtown his way: “Right now you’re building new tunnels, but you have no place for the tunnels to land.”
  • A 35-year-old sommelier has been arrested for setting fire to downtown outdoor dining sheds.
  • Guess who: “My point, obviously, Aaron, is the car is an abomination.”


Franco, Starks and Sadik-Khan Launch NYC’s Summer of Car-Free Streets

Clarence put together these highlights from the morning presser with former Mets southpaw John Franco, all-time Knicks overachiever John Starks, and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announcing the 2011 season of Summer Streets and Weekend Walks. Said Brooklyn native Franco: “Events like this bring the city closer and makes everybody one big happy family.” Clarence also […]

Hot Off The Presses, NYC’s 2012 Bike Map

2011 wasn’t New York City’s biggest year for bike lanes. After building around 50 lane-miles a year since 2007, DOT only built 8.7 lane miles last year, thanks in large part to the sustained political and media attack on bike infrastructure that peaked that year. Even so, the bicycle network is a little bit bigger […]

This Weekend, NYC’s Traffic Dysfunction Gets Worse

In case you missed it, Crain’s ran a good piece today wherein “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz explained one of the less-publicized effects of the MTA fare and toll hikes slated to take effect this weekend. NYC’s already-dysfunctional road pricing system is about to make even less sense. With tolls on the MTA’s East River crossings going […]

Word on the Street

1. Gridlock Sam Tells the Story of NYC’s First Bike Lanes (14 comments)Last summer my family and I rode the Montreal buffered bike lanes. My wife and 2 teenaged daughters declared the buffered lanes to be very comfortable, safe, and a real pleasure to ride in. They never bike here in NYC however because they […]