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Monday’s Headlines: MSG Headache Edition

The big story is that the City Council will vote to give Madison Square Garden a new permit. Plus other news.

12:00 AM EDT on August 28, 2023

The big story today is that the City Council will vote on whether to give Madison Square Garden a new sweetheart permit to operate at its current location. There's little doubt that the permit will be approved — but the main question is the length of the contract. The Dolan family wanted it to be permanent, but the City Planning Commission recommended 10 years.

The issue is whether the city can use the close-ended permit as a cudgel to, as Crain's put it, "require MSG to cooperate on a redesign of Penn Station and also pay for some modest cosmetic improvements to the arena and its surroundings." The area's Council Member Erik Bottcher and neighboring colleague Gale Brewer are talking like they really want to hold MSG accountable, so we'll see.

In case you missed it, we ran an op-ed from a true expert, Rachael Fauss of Reinvent Albany, that urged Council members to put some teeth in whatever permit they approve.

And speaking of Penn Station, Gothamist got a hold of an internal memo late last week that revealed that the MTA tried to squeeze Amtrak out of the redesign process, but later apologized.

And speaking of theft of public space, the U.S. Open begins on Monday, Gothamist reminded us, while a story in the New York Times did not pay a penny or two of lip service to the fact that the tennis tourney's organizers basically commandeer Flushing Meadows Corona Park for weeks, forcing out neighborhood park-goers.

The paper of record even allowed Daniel Zausner, the National Tennis Center’s chief operating officer, to blatantly lie: “We never lose sight of the fact that we are in a public park,” he was quoted as saying by a newspaper that should know better (or would ... if it pulled the clips).

In other news:

  • We were happy to see Bike Snob Eben Weiss take up the "moped crisis" (as we dubbed it), but his Outside Magazine piece (like our own Julianne Cuba's longer analysis last week) raises more questions than it answered.
  • Brooklyn and Bronx got their one-day Summer Streets event on Saturday. Our own Kevin Duggan posted some primo bike porn from Eastern Parkway:

And DOT's Vin Barone tweeted from the Boogie Down:

  • A jerk brought a motorcycle on the subway, and the Post (and literally every pro-car troll on Twitter) decided to use it as a chance to decry e-bikes and organizations like Streetsblog who helped get them legalized in 2020. As such, I had a different take on the motorcyclist's dickish behavior:
  • That said, the self-styled E-Vehicle Safety Alliance alleged that illegal moped rentals being conducted in plain sight. If true, that's a real problem:
  • And another subway rider over-reacted a bit when someone fell asleep on him. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • Though this crash occurred in upstate Troy, it's a reminder of the dangers of high-speed police chases (and the lying that often accompanies them). (Times Union)
  • Speaking of recklessness, insane macho bullshit injured eight people in The Bronx. (NYDN(
  • And speaking of macho bullshit, a driver with road rage pulled a gun and killed another man after a simple crash — one that may not have involved the victim at all. (NYDN)
  • Moped rider Eric Duprey's death was ruled a homicide ... by cop. (NYDN)
  • Welcome to the war on cars, Toronto. (The Globe and Mail)
  • Please do not cross expressways on foot. But, please, urban designers, don't prioritize car traffic through neighborhoods over the people who live there. (NYDN, amNY)
  • Here's a new charge against Donald Trump: He stole public space! (NY Times)
  • Here's one way to fight climate change: Live like French philosopher Simone Weil. (The Guardian)
  • Apparently, the Upper East Side is faithfully following the adage, "You can never be too rich or too thin." (NY Times)
  • And, finally, meet Sanitation worker Jaclyn Mondido and her cool bike lane sweeper:

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