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Monday’s Headlines: Flaco, We Hardly Knew Ye Edition

The only story that anyone wanted to talk about was the death of Flaco the owl, but there was plenty of other news.

Photos: Julie Larsen Maher (owl); Josh Katz (traffic)|

The mean city.

The only story that anyone wanted to talk about was the death of Flaco the owl, who neither knew that he had a name, nor that he was the darling of the city's Instagram set.

The Central Park Zoo broke the news with a press release about the death from "an apparent collision with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan." But just as there are no "accidents" in the road violence world, the same is true in the glass-walled skyscraper world. As such, the zoo didn't call Flaco's death an "accident" but a very preventable crash: "The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit [last year] jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death," the statement read.

Nicole Gelinas at the Post jumped all over that angle with a good column that some editor headlined to blame "progressivism" even though Gelinas herself never claimed to know that the vandal was a liberal (before describing any animal lover as a progressive, it's worth noting that Bernie Goetz was an animal rights activist and Hitler was a vegetarian).

The Times did the deepest dive. Rest in power, Flaco.

In other news:

  • The lithium-ion battery that sparked a Harlem building fire killed one person: Our much-loved journalistic colleague Fazil Khan, 27 (NYDN, NY Post). The Times covered the fire, but didn't identify the victim.
  • Finally, the Post did a story about one flaw of congestion pricing that is worth mentioning: Why do bus companies have to pay the toll, given that buses are part of the solution of keeping cars off the road? That said, if a bus is charged $24 to get into the zone, and it's carrying 80 people, that only adds 30 cents to the fare — which sounds fair.
  • Hat tip to sharp cub Ben Brachfeld at amNY for noticing that DOT posted its Street Plan update — and how wanting it is. We put up our coverage this morning. The better question is: Why didn't anyone else in the mainstream media cover this vital issue of street safety? Here's one theory:
  • We mentioned it in the headlines the other day, but amNY covered the lawsuit against the city for its slow pace on accessible taxis.
  • A hit-and-run driver killed a cyclist in the Bronx (NYDN), so it's worth nothing that fatalities are up 24 percent this year compared to the same period last year, according to the NYPD. And total injuries are up 5 percent, to 6,337 so far this year (that's 129 people injured every single day in this city).
  • It looks like the Post is over-reacting about a Council bill about vending, but we'll dig into it and let you know. Pedestrians come first, that much is certain.
  • Late last week, city officials begged Albany to reauthorize and expand the tiny red-light camera program. Streetsblog readers know all about the bill. (NYDN)
  • Hell Gate looked at the NYPD's Big Brother approach to tweets made by top officials attacking a journalist.
  • Meet the subway system's weekend service czar, Jose LaSalle. (NY Times)

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