Friday’s Headlines: Rubber Stamp Edition

penn plan 3 with stencil

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The big story of the day was Empire State Development’s approval of the general project plan for Gov. Hochul and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s real estate deal masquerading as a Penn Station redesign plan.

Everyone had a take:

  • The Post focused on how the deal will enrich Vornado Realty Trust, whose CEO, Steven Roth, is a huge political donor, including to the governor. The piece also questioned why state officials think the city needs so much more office space. The project only has 1,800 units of housing, which is much-more needed than more office space in Midtown.
  • The Daily News focused on Roth’s major contributions to help the GOP regain the House of Representatives, meaning that New York officials are rushing this project through the pipeline in hopes of securing federal funds (which benefit Roth) before Roth’s efforts to flip the House succeed. Oh, brother!
  • The Times more or less played it straight, arguing that the deal would “transform … the busiest transportation hub in North America from a run-down transit center into a city centerpiece.” But the paper’s lede also mentioned the $1.2 billion in tax breaks to Vornado. And the “explainer-style” story also pointed out the main shortcoming of the project: “The new Penn Station would not add new tracks or additional rail lines.” The Times also noted that the project would create 0.7 acres of new public open space — but then failed to point out that 0.7 acres of public open space for an estimated 3,000 new residents is roughly 6.8 acres fewer than the amount the city of New York itself defines as the bare minimum. So, in other words, we’re creating another open space desert.
  • amNY reminded that we still don’t know the true cost of this project.

In other news:

  • A bus full of bus drivers (yes, you read that right) overturned in the Bronx and injured lots of people. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • The Daily News has video of the speeding, hit-and-run driver who slammed a stand-up electric scooter rider in Queens. (Footnote: As part of what is clearly a willful attempt to demonize and misunderstand micro-mobility users, the NYPD referred to the victim as a “motorcyclist.” It looks like amNY didn’t see the video because it referred to the victim as a “moped” rider.)
  • The Times did that thing again where it dubs anyone who disagrees with carceral approaches to the city’s problems as “far left.”
  • Like Streetsblog, the Daily News and amNY covered the killing of Wenntwen Porgho in the Bronx, but the paper also added in another cyclist who was badly injured by a car driver in Brooklyn later in the day.
  • Like Streetsblog, the Post also covered Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s report that the MTA is in trouble because ridership is not returning.
  • The Times nerded out on airport history.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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