Thursday’s Headlines: April 1 Lacked Its Usual Mirth Edition

The map above explains why we just weren’t in the mood for April Fool’s Day yesterday. And the death toll is 1,400 in the city alone (NY Times). COVID-19, the ultimate buzzkill.

Sure, last year, we broke the internet with two fake news stories — “De Blasio To Announce Car-Free Lower Manhattan Today!” and “NYPD Arrests 7,000 Cops in Overnight Crackdown on Placard Abusers” — but with everyone depressed and huddled inside in the era of social distancing, we decided to scrub this year’s April 1 post. (You would have loved it! The headline was, “De Blasio Rides E-Bike from Gracie Mansion to Gym; After, Mayor Says, ‘That Was So Great, I Can’t Believe I Have Been Harassing Delivery Workers for So Long!'” And it featured a photoshopped picture of Hizzoner on an Arrow e-bike. Damn coronavirus, taking away all our fun!)

Fortunately, our friends at the Placard Abuse Twitter account got in on the seasonal jocularity:

That’s a good one.

Of course, there was also real news yesterday:

  • The state budget passed — and even though it’s a sausage-casing full of gristle, e-bikes were legalized! (Streetsblog) (Editor’s note: Our news coverage stuck to the narrow lane of the budget’s implications on e-bikes, which have long been the target of a retrograde crackdown by the de Blasio administration. For insightful coverage of the larger ramifications of this disastrous budget, check out the NY Post, the WSJ, the Times, and the NY Daily News.)
  • The budget also allowed the MTA to tap into some revenue streams for daily operations that are typically only set aside for capital projects, which Streetsblog had predicted, but Politico confirmed.
  • Sometimes you want to force a judge to get around in a wheelchair — because this decision related to the MTA’s shoddy elevators is just so infuriating. (NYDN)
  • Gov. Cuomo big-dogged all over Mayor de Blasio — again! — yesterday, ordering all the playgrounds shut (NY Post). Now the pressure builds on Hizzoner to create more public space by taking away space formerly occupied by cars.
  • Oh, and the governor plans to fine the city if it doesn’t move the West Side tow pound from space inside Hudson River Park (NY Post).
  • Wow, we tangle every day with Mayor de Blasio — and even we think Ben Smith’s assessment of the man was harsh. Harsh but fair? You judge (NY Times). It did have one detail that created its own mini news cycle: Now that he can’t go to the gym, de Blasio is ferried every day for a walk in Prospect Park, which prompted this head explosion by Curb’s Amy Plitt:

  • Aaron Gordon issued a strong clarion call for Mayor de Blasio to open up more streets for the public. Welcome to the fight, brother! (Vice)
  • We’ve certainly tangled with Community Board 9 in Manhattan, but we were sad to learn that longtime member Walter South had died of coronavirus. (Patch)
  • NY1 finally got around to reporting on the cycling surge, which has, alas, flattened.
  • Fast Company offered a deep dive into how bizarre it is that it took a pandemic to get Mayor de Blasio to stop cracking down on the lowest-paid, hardest-working people in our city.
  • And in some final personal tragedy, Adam Schlesinger is dead (NY Times, NY Post). In tribute, we offer this verse:

Sleeping on a planter at the Port Authority
Waiting for my bus to come
Seven Scotch-and-sodas at the office party
Now I don’t remember where I’m from

I think I had a black wallet
In my back pocket
With a bus ticket
And a picture of my baby inside
And if I make it home alive…

I’m gonna get my shit together
‘Cause I can’t live like this forever
You know I’ve come too far
And I don’t want to fail
I got a new computer
And a bright future in sales