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Friday’s Headlines: Cautionary Tale Edition

12:03 AM EDT on May 5, 2023

Here’s what banks look like everywhere outside New York City. No wonder banks require driver’s licenses.

For all you New Yorkers who don't have a driver's license, here's a sad story sent over by a Friend of Streetsblog, who requested anonymity to share his bizarre personal story:

I went to a Bank of America branch to close the accounts of my companion. I have her Power of Attorney, plus she was with me. (Her speech is minimal, but she is able to I can act for her. But she was not asked.)

The Bank of America representative would not release the funds. Instead, he made a photocopy of the original Power of Attorney and forwarded it to his legal department — mind you, again with my companion seated right next to me.

They would not verify my companion's identify as the maker of the Power of Attorney even with her sitting next to me. I offered her passport as proof of her identity, but it was deemed not good enough because it had expired. I said she had, and has, no reason to renew it as she won't be traveling out of the country for the remainder of her declining life.

No, they needed a current passport, one that hasn't expired. That, or a current driver's license. I've known [her] for 27 years. She never once drove in those 27 years, and is long past being able to drive. So why would she have a current driver's license, I asked.

All I was told was that to establish who she is requires a current driver's license. An expired one wouldn't do either.

I said that many people don't have passports and many people, especially in New York, don't have a driver's license. Are they not people? Do they not legally exist? Do you have to drive to be an identifiable person? Is it required that you drive a car for you to be identifiable by your bank and able to withdraw your money?

This is what I call CAR-tesian (il)logic: I do not drive, therefore I am not.

We followed up with our friend, and was told he's still being ill-served by the bank. Here's hoping the legal eagles figure it all out. In the meantime, click here for information about the city's ID card for non-drivers.

In other news:

    • The killing of Jordan Neely — and the failure of cops to arrest the killer — continued to dominate the headlines:
      • The Post played up the "war of words" between 100-percent correct Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Mayor Adams. The tabloid also revealed that we know the name of the "ex-Marine's" lawyer, even if we don't know the killer's name yet.
      • The Post offered an opinion piece trafficking in hyperbole from the very first sentence: "Before going any further let’s just say what every New Yorker knows. The city’s subway is unsafe. Every New Yorker knows it."
      • The amNY headline seemed to convey what many are feeling: that Mayor Adams is not showing the leadership he should be.
      • The Times tried to recover from its original day's story by asking the obvious question: "No Arrest in New York Subway Chokehold Death, and Many Want to Know Why." But the paper failed — suggesting that the killing has "divided" New Yorkers. Has it? Doesn't literally every single New Yorker think the killing is an abomination?
      • Gothamist looked at what charges should be forthcoming. Easy answer: murder. Let the jury sort it out after.
      • Gothamist also did a particular insightful "rider reaction" story — and riders were horrified at the behavior of the killer. Take that, NY Times.
      • David Meyer of Streetsblog made it clear how Andrew Cuomo, Eric Adams and Gov. Hochul have planted the seeds of this week's killing.
      • And, finally, the Onion did what it does best: a perfect satire of Mayor Adams. (Hell Gate did the non-parody version.)
    • Speaking of the Times, the paper seemed to want to see Council Member Justin Brannan's proposal that the rich should pay more for parking tickets as some kind of metaphor.
    • Welcome to the war to save transit, Politico.
    • Speaking of transit, amNY had the details of some increase in service (but we had a big story about the expansion of the City Ticket, so that's nice, too).
    • It's MTA boss vs. MTA boss over the Penn Station plan. (Crain's)
    • To save the MTA, how about a carbon tax, Friend of Streetsblog Charles Komanoff argues in a persuasive Gotham Gazette op-ed.
    • MTA service alerts are back on Twitter after Elon Musk blinked. (NYDN, NY Post, amNY, Gothamist)
    • Carnage in Long Island. (NY Post)
    • Here's another victim of last month's garage collapse in Lower Manhattan. (Tribeca Citizen)
    • Meet the man who is the exact opposite of our old man editor — a guy committing real criminal mischief in Atlanta. (Fox5)
    • And finally, from the assignment desk, Queens Council Member Tiffany Caban, Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani and state Sen. Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas will be on the 31st Avenue open street (at a 33rd Street) in Astoria on Sunday at 3 p.m. to push people to fill out the Department of Transportation's survey of the neighborhood, which is here.

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