Tuesday’s Headlines: Now We’ve Seen It All Edition

Peter Madonia's column from last September.
Peter Madonia's column from last September.

What’s that old expression? “If you live long enough, you’ll see everything”?

Well, we were reminded of that on Monday, when the restaurateurs and business owners on Arthur Avenue showed Gothamist an amazing plan to turn the main street of Bronx’s Little Italy into an open-air piazza filled with restaurant tables, umbrellas, waiters and abbondanza!

And no cars.

It’s an awesome plan — but we couldn’t help but remember that less than a year ago, Peter Madonia, the director of the neighborhood’s business group, wrote a Daily News op-ed begging the city to not remove any parking because the area’s businesses were so dependent on car drivers to eek out a living.

“We need parking spaces; they are always at a premium,” he whined. “If the city installed as many bike lanes in Belmont and Arthur Ave. as they plan to do on the Upper West Side, we’d be out of business in less than a year. … Ever seen a bike rider balance two mozzarella balls, 10 pounds of meat and a loaf of bread on their handlebars for the miles-long journey to Park Slope or Pleasantville?”

Well, that was then. Now Madonia has finally seen the light, telling Gothamist, “We’re expanding our own vision to something we never thought about before. In a crisis, there is sometimes opportunity, and there’s an opportunity to create a real piazza in the middle of the Bronx that never existed before.”

Well, welcome to the 21st century, Peter. We’ll catch up with you next time we ride through Belmont.

In other news on Monday:

  • The Arthur Avenue plan is good for another reason: Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio both spoke yesterday that the Revenge of the Coronavirus might keep them from letting restaurants enter Phase III on Monday — when they were expected to be allowed to reopen with 50 percent indoor capacity. For now, it might be al fresco only (NYDN, NY Post) — and restaurateurs are very anxious (NY Post).
  • Times Metro Editor Clifford Levy’s fingerprints were all over Winnie Hu and Matthew Haag’s story about New York’s changing streetscape. Alas, the car-loving Times refuses to use the correct term — open streets — to describe roadways that have been liberated from the automobile and made available to the larger public. Instead, the Times referred to the mayor’s 67 miles of play streets as “closed streets.”
  • The 7 train is being vandalized a lot lately! (NYDN)
  • Forbes did a piece on Sam Schwartz’s bike-ped bridge proposal.
  • Mayor de Blasio committed to the inevitable $1-billion cut in the NYPD’s bloated $6-billion budget (WSJ, amNY) — and minutes later, the police unions were predicting a hellscape of crime (and the Post was happy to play along). More credibly, some council members said the mayor’s cuts were just trickery. (Gothamist)
  • Besides, who needs cops anyway? (FastCompany)
  • Kudos to the Village Sun, a scrappy, though not always independent, community newspaper. While other people are debating what should happen to the Columbus statue or monuments to George Washington (NYDN, NY Post), Lincoln Anderson is already asking what about Peter Stuyvesant — the inept, slave-owning Dutch governor for whom so much is named in this town?
  • Add up the broken hearts on Broadway: New York’s theater world is closed until at least January, 2021. (Gothamist)
  • And, finally, Gov. Cuomo’s briefing on Monday was bizarre for multiple reasons. First, the governor showed off a massive sculpture of the state’s coronavirus case wave (NY Post) and then multiple reporters didn’t realize that the guy sporting the Latrell Sprewell jersey in the front row was none other than press corps royalty, our own Dave Colon: