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Monday’s Headlines: Missing the Point Edition

12:03 AM EDT on August 8, 2022

What’s wrong with this picture? Only the car. File photo: Julianne Cuba

Look, y'all are just missing the point.

Local writers must have heatstroke or something because they can't seem to understand the significance of the Very Important Topics about which they are covering:

    • Case number 1: Ginia Bellafante's Times column about congestion in Dumbo supposedly caused by all the people who want to take pictures of one of New York's great sites: the Empire State Building perfectly framed inside an arch of the Manhattan Bridge. Like other coverage of this supposed scourge, Bellafante's piece decoys how unlivable and congested Dumbo has supposedly become because tourists have been given an open street on which to enjoy the city. Not mentioned in Bellafante's story? The population of Dumbo (which, remember, is like six square blocks) has basically doubled in the last 10 years, and the number of cars associated with those households has also gone up from about 610 to 1,111. Those 501 cars are a significant problem, yet they don't even warrant a mention? Plenty of people pointed this out on Twitter, including our own Dave Colon:
    • Case number 2: New Yorker writer John Seabrook did a fascinating piece about how auto manufacturers are struggling to find the right artificial noise to pipe out of silent electric cars so they'll be safer. The pierce does acknowledge that cars cause horrific violence on our streets, but shrugs off the 40,000 annual deaths as the cost of doing business. It would have been nice if an article that is purportedly about making electric cars safer for humans outside of them had, at least, found a few words about the simplest way to reduce road deaths: reduce driving.
    • Case number 3: In its coverage of the outdoor dining lawsuit, Eater claimed that "few issues have raised as much ire among New Yorkers as the outdoor dining sheds." We've lived here long enough to know that many, many other issues have raised much more ire — and John Surico pointed that out, too. That's not to say there aren't issues to discuss about outdoor dining (as Cuozzo said in his typical pile-on), but virtually all of them — alleged crime, alleged ugliness, alleged rats — are all issues that have to do with the poor way the city deals with, well, people enjoying urban life. There are ways to fix that, which is why we guess this is all about parking. (Besides, our own Julianne Cuba has debunked the rat myth.)

One example of not missing the point was Nicole Gelinas's Sunday column in the Post about the apparent rise in fires caused by shoddy e-bike-batteries. Instead of blaming the bike riders, Gelinas took the broader view that the problem can't simply be blamed on the poorest workers trying to make a living, but must be remedied by people in power, such as our elected officials and their agencies, plus the food delivery tech companies that push all the risk and danger off on their "independent contractor" workers. DoorDash, GrubHub and the others must play a role.

And, of course, cars never catch on fire. (Upper East Site)

In other stories:

    • Before we move on from the "missing-the-point" concept, here's another: the Post's "investigation" into rampant speeding by mopeds in city bike lanes. The Tabloid of Record is right to point out that motorized vehicles, including illegal mopeds, that are supposed to be in the roadway are endangering slower cyclists in bike lanes. But the paper merely identified the problem; it didn't offer solutions, such as giving moped riders their own safe space at the expense car drivers, whose vehicles are ultimately far more dangerous on the streets, as city statistics show.
    • And speaking of unsafe spaces, a woman riding a moped (not a "scooter," Daily News and Post) was killed after losing control on the Henry Hudson Parkway. Now, the Westchester man killed by this hit-and-run driver — he was on a scooter. (NY Post)
    • The Daily News did the story that we've been doing fairly consistently for two years about how the NYPD has basically stopped reining in reckless drivers.
    • Staff shortages still plague the MTA, and subway and bus service is suffering. (NY Post)
    • Today is the day for Manhattanites to request an absentee ballot if they are likely to be away for the epic Aug. 23 primary showdown between Reps. Carolyn Maloney (East Side) and Jerry Nadler (West Side) — and the Post thinks it's all going to come down to paper. On the other hand, challenger Suraj Patel is going to be endorsed today by the family of Carling Mott, the 28-year-old woman killed last month by a truck driver on E. 85th Street, which doesn't have a bike lane, in part, because Maloney personally lobbied against it. The endorsement presser is at noon at Fifth Avenue and 84th Street.
    • The city is not doing enough for Black residents during these heat waves. (NY Post)
    • Wednesday is setting up as The Most Important Day of the Year, what with the impending release of the MTA's environmental assessment of congestion pricing (aka the long-delayed, slow-walked, overly discussed doorstop of bureaucracy that Julianne Cuba, Gersh Kuntzman and Dave Colon will spend the next week devouring. The release of the document will begin another week of public hearings starting on Aug. 25 (and all listed on the Streetsblog calendar!)
    • Another cop was arrested for drunk driving. (NY Post)
    • The Post had some fun with vanity license plates that the DMV turned down. What? No AS5MAN?
    • In case you missed it, we've had fun these past few months critiquing the fairly consistent failure of the Daily News to properly cover road violence, but we're sad to see that New York's Hometown Paper is no longer being overseen by Stephen Rex Brown, a one time protege of our old man editor (remember their goose massacre coverage?). Brown has moved on to WNYC, where he'll edit content related to sanitation, transportation and education. (We just hope he links to us.)
    • And, finally, what's going on here? (Make sure you're not on mute.)

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