Monday’s Headlines: New York Tough Edition

Mayor Adams rode the subway on his first day in office. File photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office
Mayor Adams rode the subway on his first day in office. File photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office

Wow, what a busy weekend Mayor Adams had! If you thought you could take the holiday weekend off with this guy, you were wrong. Try to keep up:

After taking the oath of office just after midnight on Saturday morning in Times Square (NY Times), Hizzoner took the subway from what was believed to be his home in Bedford-Stuyvesant to City Hall — and immediately made more news by calling 911 when he looked down from the elevated platform and saw three kids fighting. (The cops eventually came, but did not take action, prompting a chiding from the new mayor that they had missed an opportunity. The Post covered.)

He also had a cabinet meeting, addressed the city and visited a police precinct house — and pronounced, “No one will outwork me” (and got no argument!). (NYDN, amNY)

Gothamist focused on his pledge to restore law and order — without brutality. “Our police officers will be responsible,” he said.

On Sunday, he took an electric Citi Bike from Gracie Mansion to some TV interviews, leading by example on the e-bike revolution that can get New Yorkers around easily and without breaking a sweat. If it’s good enough for our impeccably dressed mayor, it’s good enough for everyone else. The Post covered the ride, with amNY covering the mayor’s busy full Sunday (which included another subway ride).

In other Adams news, the mayor had an interesting text exchange with the keeper of the NYC Bike Lanes Twitter account (we checked out the cellphone number and it’s accurate). The mayor might be right to target crime and Covid — but placard abuse is also a crime, as Adams was repeatedly reminded on social media:

We’ll be revisiting that soon, most likely.

But getting back to Mayor Adams’s first address to the city on Saturday (YouTube). The 10-minute speech was mostly a pep talk to a city that desperately needs one, but Adams frequently fell back on the classic New York trope that our city is better and tougher than other cities.

“There is one thing everyone knows about New Yorkers,” he said. “We don’t like anyone telling us what to do.” There were other similar tributes to our supposed superiority to residents of other cities that felt a bit preachy.

All too often, that “New York tough” thing is evoked with pride, but it ends up being the reason that New York doesn’t solve problems, hiding instead in mythology about how awesome we are. We were reminded this after Joan Didion died and some smart people posted one of her seminal essays online. Though the essay centers on a terrible 1991 crime, its message remains timely. In the passage, Didion bemoans New York sentimentalism:

A preference for broad strokes, for the distortion and flattening of character, and for the reduction of events to narrative, has been for well over a hundred years the heart of the way the city presents itself: Lady Liberty, huddled masses, ticker-tape parades, heroes, gutters, bright lights, broken hearts, eight million stories in the naked city; eight million stories and all the same story, each devised to obscure not only the city’s actual tensions of race and class but also, more significantly, the civic and commercial arrangements that rendered those tensions irreconcilable.

Just something to think about.

In other news:

  • Speaking of Adams’s weekend, what is it with NY1 political anchor Errol Louis? After Adams commuted via subway on his first day on the job, Louis asked a roundtable of fellow reporters, “Do we really want him on the subway?” — to which Streetsblog and many others answered, “Yes!” Indeed, Louis made the common mistake of thinking that Very Important People need to be in cars because that’s the only way to keep them safe and connected, which invited lots of scorn on Twitter (lest we forget: Mayor de Blasio’s motorcade was in a crash that got covered up). So this round goes to Streetsblog and its readers:

  • The Daily News and the Post had a horrific video of the EMT driver who ran over and killed a pedestrian in The Bronx on Saturday night.
  • And the Post had a horrific video of a drunk driver swerving and slamming into a police car on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
  • And more carnage: The heroic Park Slope nanny Arcellie Muschamp, who saved a baby boy, died Friday of her injuries from being run over by a truck driver at Fifth Avenue and Union Street on December 20 (NYDN). The NYPD said the driver has still not been charged. The family is continuing to take donations via a GoFundMe page.
  • The Bronx Times also reported that an e-bike rider was killed because he was riding on the sidewalk, but our friend Michael Kaess debunked the reporting to show that the cyclist was properly using the sidewalk, which is marked as a shared path on the city bike map.

  • Just in time for the workweek, the MTA’s Covid staffing woes are expected to continue. (NY Post)
  • As we write this on Sunday night, all arms of city government seem to be waving warning signs about a snowstorm that is supposed to destroy the city on Monday (NYDN, NY Post). The DOT suspended alternate-side-of-the-street parking hours before the first flake fell, and the Department of Sanitation was on full alert. Our prediction: A dusting at most, but more likely rain.
  • It was nice to see Streetsblog contributor Vince DiMiceli (aka the King of the Rock) writing about Boston’s reduction in mandatory parking minimums in the Real Deal. We trained him well.
  • And, finally, we want to thank all of the people who donated to Streetsblog during our December Donation Drive, which raised enough to keep the lights on for another year. So let’s just take a moment to thank a few more people who donated in the rush before the ball dropped:
    • Thanks, Kurt!
    • Thanks, Geraldine!
    • Thanks, Mark!
    • Thanks, Mike!
    • Thanks, Brian!
    • Thanks, Philip (no, really!)!
    • Thanks, Charles!
    • Thanks, Sabina!
    • Thanks, Alexander!
    • Thanks, Lindsay!
    • Thanks, John!
    • Thanks, Yosef!
    • Thanks, Joseph!
    • Thanks, Luis!
    • Thanks, Erich!
    • Thanks, Anthony!
    • Thanks, Steve!
    • Thanks, other Mark!
    • Thanks, Jehiah!
    • Thanks, Sam!
    • Thanks, Niles!
    • Thanks, Detta!
    • Thanks, Jonathan!
    • Thanks, James!
    • Thanks, Daniel!

May 2022 be better than 2021.

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Each yellow sign bore the name of one of the 1,800 victims of road violence since Mayor de Blasio took office. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Monday’s Headlines: Day of Remembrance Edition

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Sunday was the World Day of Remembrance for the victims of road violence — and in this city, that meant honoring the 1,800 people who have been killed (almost entirely by drivers) during the seven-plus years of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative. We were there. Plus other news.