Monday’s Headlines: We Made an April Fool Out of Curtis Sliwa!
People have a love-hate relationship with April Fool’s Day stories because they either feel bad that they were fooled — or they feel bad when they learn that the story isn’t true.
Case in point: Our April Fool’s Day story on Friday about how Mayor Adams was planning to convert all of Third Avenue in Manhattan into a six-lane bike superhighway and two-lane car-free busway (click on image, right, to read the story). The story and the accompanying graphics were just so convincing that many readers allowed themselves to dream the impossible dream…until they woke up from their reverie to realize that Third Avenue would remain a car sewer for years.
Then, of course, there is Curtis Sliwa.
The former mayoral candidate and radio show host — who is a much nicer guy than the belligerent character he plays on WABC — believed the story fully. In fact, taking the airwaves on Saturday morning, he repeated the story over and over, presenting it as truth.
Finally, his wife told him to check the publication date of the story: April 1. So later in the day, Sliwa offered a mea culpa that credited our old man editor for successfully bamboozling the ultimate “street smart” New Yorker (listen below or read the transcript):
Sliwa: Gersh Kuntzman one of the best reporters that have ever existed in New York City. … The guy knows newspapers inside out. And he’s dedicated his life to doing this Streetsblog for the benefit of bicyclists. … But the interesting thing is, he wrote up a piece and … I bought it lock, stock and barrel. And he said that Eric Adams, in his desired to turn more of asphalt into bicycle lanes, decided that he would turn Third Avenue right here on the East Side of Manhattan, into a bicycle superhighway. He had all the schematics: six lanes for bicycles and a barrier, then two lanes for buses. No cars, no vans, no trucks, no Uber no Lyft, no cabs. … I came on the air last night starting at midnight, and I kept repeating that. And then all of a sudden my wife, thank God for my wife Nancy, threw me a lifeline and said, “Curtis I know you like Gersh.” He used to be my radio partner. One of many over the years…
Anthony Weiner, co-host: Very good, very clever, funny guy.
Sliwa: …and she goes, “The dateline is April 1. Ya may want to call Gersh Kuntzman.” … And I call, “Hey Gersh?” And he goes, “Hey, Curtis, how’s it going?” I said, “Gersh, that story you posted on Streetsblog? Is that legit? Is that for real?” He goes, “No, schmuck, putz. It’s April 1. Don’t tell me you bought that.” And then I had to mumble, and he said, “I bamboozled the most street smart guy in all of New York City because oh my god, I never thought you’d fall for that.”
Weiner then goes on to describe how he and Sliwa texted each other about the story and agreed they would talk about it on their Saturday show. “I said, ‘Let’s go ahead and talk about this,'” Weiner recounted. “So we were that close to becoming laughing stocks, but maybe just to being more of laughing stocks than we usually are.”
Happy to help, guys. In other news from a busy weekend:
- There was a huge crash on the non-bike-lane side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Clearly, it’s time to provide the Brooklyn-bound lanes with the traffic calming that comes with a bike lane. (NYDN, NY Post)
- Yet another reckless out-of-state driver has rammed into a city park, this time in Harlem. The Post had the story, but for some reason didn’t run the plates, which would have shown that the car has been slapped with two red-light tickets in a four-month period last year (Howsmydriving).
- Kevin Duggan and Jake Offenhartz, who work the Sunday-to-Thursday shift at amNY and Gothamist, respectively, beat us on the Council budget story, which Streetsblog embargoed for this morning (foolishly thinking, “Who’s reading Gothamist and amNY on a Sunday?).
- In an unrelated story, Gothamist totally bought the DOT’s spin on the agency’s so-called “Car-Free Earth Day,” which Streetsblog’s editor panned in a column last week as anything but “car-free.”
- We were happy to see the Staten Island Advance taking DOT to task for its failure to find an operator for bike share on The Rock.
- The Riverdale Press followed our coverage last week about a DOT road diet plan for Riverdale Avenue. Of course, the car-centric broadsheet missed the point entirely, running a picture of a super-wide portion of the roadway with the caption, “Some areas on Riverdale Ave. seem almost impossible to either share a lane or take one away. If bike lanes are added on West 254th Street, the road will be extremely tight.” Really? (See photo in the story and judge for yourself.)
- In case you missed it, former federal transit man Larry Penner rounds up the winners and losers of federally funded projects. (Mass Transit)
- U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is fighting for higher fuel economy standards in American cars. (WABC)
- NY1 — which has been showing up in these pages recently for a series of revanchist anti-bike stories — decided that cyclists on the sidewalk are a bigger threat than car drivers killing hundreds of people a year. Even the outlet’s story seemed to admit it was making a mountain (12 people have been killed by cyclists since 2008) out of a molehill (more than 2,200 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by drivers over the same period).
- The Brooklyn Paper set aside some space for a very un-local story: The reconstruction of a bridge back in the original Brooklyn — Breukelen, Holland.
- This used to be Clyde Haberman’s territory at the Times (yes, our old man editor is that old), but the Post (following a Bloomberg piece) has begun reporting on the fabled convergence between the subway fare and slice of pizza. And pizza has jumped into the lead.
- The championship game of the NCAA’s March Madness tournament is tonight in New Orleans. Our March (Parking) Madness finale, pitting the 41st Precinct in Hunts Point vs. the 84th Precinct in Downtown Brooklyn will start today and will play out all week. Tune in!
- And, finally, Clarence Eckerson Jr. had a great time at Transportation Alternatives’ Bronx women’s ride. News12 also covered it:
PREMIERE TODAY 2PM! of Women's Ride 2022 from The Bronx!
CLICK HERE TO WATCH or REMINDER: https://t.co/GC9pK9IoSU @TransAlt @LAShepard221 @LuciaDLite @BrownBikeGirl @CitiBikeNYC @StreetsblogNYC @bikenewyork @WEBikeNYC @KathyParkPrice @AmandaFariasNYC @ShawnGarcia_NYC @NYCMayor pic.twitter.com/0wSONZ7DP1
— Streetfilms (1,O22 videos!) (@Streetfilms) April 3, 2022