Wednesday’s Headlines: There is No Free Lunch Edition

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Gee, free lunches for everyone in town? What could possibly go wrong.

Well, plenty went wrong after GrubHub dropped a huge surprise in Crain’s by announcing it would buy everyone in New York lunch between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. yesterday.

Our grumpy social media manager evoked Milton Freedman even before all hell broke loose:

And then, indeed, all hell broke loose. This thread pretty much summarizes the stunt from the restaurant perspective:

Other outlets — BuzzFeed, Eater, Endgadget — covered the debacle. And at the Hell Gate, Christopher Robbins was deliciously grumpy about the whole idea of ordering food on an app.

“Instead of saying ‘turkey sandwich’ to another human being and holding a tasty, filling meal in your hands moments later, you are now adding 300 additional steps to a problem that this city was literally built to solve in five minutes,” Robbins wrote. “Not to get all Jane Jacobs on you, but this is stupid.”

Deliverista Gustavo Ajche showed just how stupid it was:

And speaking of terrible websites, the Daily News still hasn’t swapped out its exclusive with the husband of Tian-Rong Lin, the Queens woman who was fatally struck by a van driver. The story that’s hyped on the homepage still — after three days of constant whining from our old man — links to the original day’s squib, not the supposed exclusive. It’s become fun to mock the News’s website, so we’ll continue to do so until we finally get a chance to hear from the grieving husband.

In other news:

  • We weren’t the only outlet to notice that Mayor Adams didn’t talk much about speed cameras in Albany. The Post, Gothamist and PoliticsNY reported that Adams mostly focused on schools.
  • Mayor Adams’s pick to run the Taxi and Limousine Commission is high on autonomous cars (NYDN). Be careful what you wish for, David Do, because the unintended consequence of driverless cars that stop on a dime at the sight of a pedestrian is streets that are redesigned so that pedestrians can’t slow down cars. Do also called for expansion of the Access-a-Ride cab program (amNY).
  • The Post had more details on the pedestrian who was struck and killed by a Mercedes driver on Monday, including pictures that show the car without a front plate, meaning it’s from out of state.
  • The Port Authority will install two Oonee minis, one near the Midtown bus terminal that bears the agency’s name and the other, oddly, in a small patch of land near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel on Canal Street, a notorious piece of car infrastructure to which no one bikes. (amNY)
  • The greenspace inside the amply atriumed Ford Foundation building will reopen to the public on June 1. It is worth a visit. (NY Times)

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