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Wednesday’s Headlines: Street Fight Edition

We're live from the rally for unsafe streets in Greenpoint. Plus other news.

12:00 AM EDT on September 13, 2023

Photo: Josh Katz|

Photo of the day: One man claims there weren’t enough environmental studies before the DOT decided to make McGuinness Boulevard safer … while supporters of the safety project show their version of an environmental study: the names of the dead.

Well, we told you it was going to be a busy day! Before the big story, let's first go over the preliminaries:

  • Yes, Deputy Editor David Meyer was indeed talking about the NYPD and idling cars on NPR's "Morning Edition." And, boy, was the kid great! Listen to the clip here.
  • Yes, the Council's Transportation Committee hearing was a barn-burner, with Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers dressing down Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez like a teacher scolding an unprepared pupil. But Rodriguez dished it out pretty good, too. Julianne Cuba and I provided the coverage. (The Daily News also covered.)
Tisch and trash.
  • Even the Sanitation Committee meeting wasn't a dud. Commissioner Jessica Tisch held up a big picture of garbage (photo right) and spoke of the "trash revolution" that she's waging. Trash Revolution is a great name for a band.

In the late afternoon, we sent Duggan to cover the rally by the anti-bike lane group Keep McGuinness Moving. We've covered lots and lots of these bikelash rallies over the years and while we won't demean the residents of Greenpoint who came out to protest the DOT's apparent plan to build a bike lane on McGuinness Boulevard, we will take a moment to point out that this was the first rally we've ever been to where residents were not really complaining on their own behalf, but on behalf of a wealthy and well-connected corporate interest — the film company Broadway Stages — which already has the mayor's ear and has already won significant concessions.

"Keep the film biz moving," read more than one sign — the implication being that it's up to humble neighborhood residents to stand up against DOT in defense of ... a powerful, multi-billion-dollar industry that is in no way struggling and will certainly not be destroyed if McGuinness is narrowed from two lanes to one. (The Keep McGuinness Moving leader Averianna Eisenbach got to tell her side of the story — some of it simply not accurate — in a Crain's op-ed.)

Photo: Josh Katz

In fact, Duggan noted one irony from the rally: at one point, many of the Keep McGuinness Moving protesters had double-parked their cars and created a de-facto road diet on McGuinness — yet traffic kept on moving just fine.

Joining the fray was none other than frequently discredited tax cheat, clown and non-neighborhood resident Bo Dietl, who hung himself with his own words in an interview with Chris Robbins of Hell Gate. It's a must-watch interview ... if only because Dietl doesn't seem to even know the name of the person on whose behalf he's speaking (it's Tony Argento, Bo):

Sorry, Bo, but no one person "builds" a neighborhood just as no one person cures a disease or wins the National League East. It takes a village to ... make a village like Greenpoint. Argentino — damn, sorry, Argento — has certainly played his role, but that gives him no more say than the mom who just wants her kids to be safe from speeding drivers or the deli owner who wants a loading zone so that he can get deliveries from his suppliers.

Also, here's picture of a woman ripping apart a sign held by Kevin LaCherra of Make McGuinness Safe and screaming at him as he stood there silently. That same woman later gave a speech in front of Assembly Member Emily Gallagher's office claiming that Keep McGuinness Moving is on the side of tolerance, equality, and peacefulness.

Photo: Josh Katz

The rest of the media seemed to take the day mostly off:

  • Gothamist had a great story about a driver who used his car to mow down two immigrants that he believe stole money from him. The outlet should have pointed out that this driver did more than merely use his car as a weapon against two men — the driving record on his Lexus shows he's been terrorizing the city as a whole: 13 camera-issued speeding tickets and two camera-issued red light tickets in less than two years.
  • Speaking of not doing due diligence, the Daily News and the Post had a story about a pickup truck driver who fatally struck a senior in Brooklyn — but once again the papers failed to run the plate on the driver's car. We did — it turns out the vehicle has been caught on camera nine times for reckless driving since late 2022, including four camera-issued speeding tickets. The guy's a known menace. Point out his prior driving record helps the political elite see that these are not "accidents," but the result of a system with no accountability. We certainly know all of a perp's priors when he uses a gun to kill, so why should this kind of fatality not get the same diligence? The Post even went so far as to make the driver sound like an altar boy: "The driver and the vehicle were properly licensed," the paper reported.
  • The LIRR didn't order the trains it said it would, plaguing commuters, reports Nolan Hicks. (NY Post)
  • And, finally, I caught a Department of Corrections official breaking the law:

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