Monday’s Headlines: Gross NYPD Car Culture Edition

The NYPD sponsored an event in Astoria Park that featured muscle car lawlessness.
The NYPD sponsored an event in Astoria Park that featured muscle car lawlessness.

The NYPD went from crushing illegal vehicles to celebrating them in the space of a week.

On Sunday, the Community Affairs Bureau partnered with car and motorcycle enthusiasts to take over and fill the Shore Road open street in Astoria with muscle cars (many with missing or illegally covered plates) and mopeds and off-road bikes (many with missing or illegally covered plates), and allow participants to park their two-ton vehicles all over the Parks Department’s manicured grounds and close down and drive in the two-way bike lane.

The “Rides Against Crime” event took place less than a week after Mayor Adams officiated as the NYPD crushed seized mopeds and dirt bikes in Red Hook.

Odd, then, that the NYPD partnered with this particular group of gear heads, especially given how many of the vehicles on display could have easily been at last week’s crush photo op (well, we supposed it was odd … until we read the fine print on the event invitation: “$20 minimum cash donation for the Police foundation to display your ride” — given that there were about 100 vehicles on hand, that’s not a small cash donation).

We checked out the event to see if the NYPD really was really going to accommodate the drivers of the very same cars and illegal dirt bikes that they’re always complaining about. We also wanted to see if the agency would allow drivers to use the bike lane as a rolling showroom, endangering cyclists and kids playing in the park.

Yes and yes. First, some photos of what you missed:

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We moseyed over to one of the officers and one person in our party angrily said that kids were going to get injured, and the cops should be protecting the most vulnerable, not the almost entirely white muscle car crowd.

“Are you OK? Did you get injured?” one of the officers responded. When we said no, she said, “I’m glad!”

“Are you being sarcastic?” we asked. “Because you’re not taking this seriously.” (The officer claimed she wasn’t being sarcastic — we have it on tape that she was — and that she took neighborhood safety seriously. But she did later apologize for being initially disparaging, so, we’ll take the small victory.)

But forget about our personal feelings. There’s something gross about the NYPD embracing the excesses of car culture so lustfully — to the point where they’ll grant a permit to people whose aggressive driving is part of the reason so many people have died or been maimed on New York streets.

It’s also vaguely corrupt, as our friends at the Placard Abuse Twitter account mentioned.

“[The participants] paying into the Police Foundation for an event where the police look the other way about a bunch of stuff is really problematic,” the keepers of the account said.

And there were other concerned New Yorkers who saw police hypocrisy at work, as Astoriana pointed out in a reply to the event tweet:

We reached out to the NYPD for information and to ask a few questions about the agency’s involvement in the event, but did not receive a response.

In other news:

  • Obviously, the weekend bloodshed in Brooklyn was the big story. We covered it as one long, horrifying roundup story, but the mayhem came so fast and furious all weekend long, that most of the papers kept us as best they could:
    • The Daily News, the Post, Gothamist and amNY covered the Brooklyn senior citizen who was killed by a driver fleeing cops, which Mayor Adams blamed on bail reform (of course). Later, the News offered additional tears.
    • The Post and amNY covered the homeless pedestrian killed near Canarsie.
    • The Post and amNY also covered the boy who was hit and severely injured by an unlicensed ice cream truck driver.
    • The Times did not cover any of it.
  • Speaking of road carnage, Gothamist waited a couple of days, but dug deep into Mayor Adams’s alleged Broadway improvements.
  • The Post did a lifestyle piece on the Boba Fetts of the electric unicycle world.
  • The city is spending almost 60 percent more for gas compared to what it spent last year to run its bloated fleet, says Comptroller Brad Lander (NY Post). This comes on top of Streetsblog’s story detailing the scores of millions that the city has to spend every year to settle injury and property suits from city employees’ crashes.
  • The Daily News got a hold of new MTA subway timetables — and they look like good news for hundreds of thousands of riders.
  • Clayton Guse of the Daily Newsuh also had a good story about the city’s failure to provide enough money to cover all the people eligible for the Fair Fares program.
  • Speaking of transit, Kevin Duggan of amNY did an explainer on the Bronx bus redesign.
  • The Post followed up on our earlier mention of Queens Assembly candidate Juan Arbilla’s multiple speeding tickets.
  • The Post did the NIMBY-eye-view of the Penn Station redevelopment scheme, offering some on-the-ground perspective, but little analysis.
  • And, finally, maybe Ben Affleck’s 10-year-old son will swear off driving for good now that he’s already smashed up his first luxury car. (NY Post)

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