Friday’s Headlines: Drowning in Denial Edition
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way this wind is blowing. Maybe you just need Eric Adams.
First, the news: The only story yesterday was the flash flooding the crippled the city on land, sea and air (and by that, we mean the subway). Yes, all the papers covered it (NYDN, NY Post, NY Times, Gothamist), but the only way to properly tell the story is through the viral videos of the devastation that climate change has wrought.
First, from the 157th Street 1 train:
— Paullee ? (@PaulleeWR) July 8, 2021
Your heart breaks watching that woman desperately try to get on a train that probably represents her only option for getting home. And here’s part deux:
— Rick (@SubwayCreatures) July 8, 2021
Then from Penn Station:
Andrew Cuomo would like to announce that the new Penn Station will include a miniature version of the Bellagio Fountains. https://t.co/oE9EAgdORf
— (((Jeremy Posner))) (@jmp_nyc) July 8, 2021
The Biblical flooding obviously affected other infrastructure built for commuters we care less about, but still…
This is the Major Deegan expressway in the Bronx right now. Other roads in NYC and subway lines are also flooded after less the 3 hours of rain. Climate change is coming for us, too. pic.twitter.com/teIjF3yMj2
— Read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (@JoshuaPotash) July 8, 2021
And the FDR:
Major flooding on the FDR drive. pic.twitter.com/OXVA2T8KOZ
— NYC Scoop (@NY_Scoop) July 8, 2021
And the Harlem River Drive (aptly named):
The Harlem River Drive is literally flooded. pic.twitter.com/Fa7Sw1myzi
— David Cruz (@CWEBCRUZER) July 8, 2021
And Dyckman Street:
DYCKMAN IN SHAMBLES RIGHT NOW ? pic.twitter.com/VYWqudsbpw
— JACKSON AKA STYLEZ (@2random2predict) July 8, 2021
Now, pretty much everyone (including the Times) immediately drew the connection to climate change or car culture…
You can either complain about NYC flooding OR bikes and e-scooters but not both. Cars are the reason we concrete and asphalted over everything and why the water has nowhere else to go but into the subway.
— Charlie O'Donnell (@ceonyc) July 8, 2021
Including Ya-Ting Liu and incoming Council Member Rita Joseph…
Losing parking represents a relatively minor inconvenience. Losing the earth represents an existential threat to humankind.
— Rita Joseph #BlackLivesMatter (@RitaJosephNYC) July 8, 2021
…But future mayor Eric Adams put the perfect spin on the day’s events — first, blaming the MTA for not protecting the subway, but also dunking on Gov. Cuomo for stalling congestion pricing (remember our story two weeks ago about how his hand-picked MTA CFO basically said, “We don’t need the money from congestion pricing…”?) And he also put in a good word for greening New York City, another key priority for any mayor of Climate Change City.
Politics is not only the art of the possible, but also knowing how to read the room: The governor is weak, so why not show strength?
This is what happens when the MTA makes bad spending decisions for decades. We need congestion pricing $ ASAP to protect stations from street flooding, elevate entrances and add green infrastructure to absorb flash storm runoff. This cannot be New York. https://t.co/F6A5K4ahQT
— Eric Adams (@ericadamsfornyc) July 8, 2021
Nice to see Charles Komanoff agrees with us:
This shot across the bow from our presumptive next mayor is IMO the most hopeful happening in NYC transit & transportation in quite a while. We need *someone* to lead the way against the slowboating of #congestionpricing, and @ericadamsfornyc might just be that one. https://t.co/CkDmtBO7Ng
— Charles Komanoff (@Komanoff) July 9, 2021
The storm also prompted another great video, this time of a yahoo in a fancy car driving too fast and not seeing a tree — yes, a tree — in front of him in Connecticut:
Sports car slams into a tree that fell across Ellington Road in South Windsor during the latest round of storms. @NBCConnecticut photographer caught this on camera.
— Caitlin Burchill (@newsyCaitlin) July 7, 2021
And, finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that Clayton Guse of the Daily Newsuh got his fill of news at W. 157th Street … then got his fill of tacos:
If you ever cover a flood at the 157th No. 1 train station I highly recommend scarfing al pastor from La Fiesta around the corner. pic.twitter.com/jIVGCmhxLp
— Clayton Guse (@ClaytonGuse) July 8, 2021
In other news (yes, there was other news):
- Speaking of drowning, the last few days have brought a drunken sailor quality to the city discourse, thanks to politicians getting all excited by their victories. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams promised long-overdue pedestrianized zones in non-gentrified areas (Sally Goldenberg via Twitter), Brooklyn Borough President-apparent Antonio Reynoso made a bid for a permanent StreetsPAC endorsement by calling for trash containers situated in parking spaces in his interview with Brian Lehrer (via Charles Komanoff on Twitter), and Brooklyn Council Member-apparent Chi Osse said he would make Bedford Avenue safe for cyclists (the part that goes through Hasidic Williamsburg is deadly). (Osse via Twitter)
- Speaking of drunken sailors, the LIRR is getting into the beer tourism business. (LI Press)
- Speaking of Biblical catastrophe, the founding members of the Coalition for the BQE Transformation penned an op-ed in the Daily News linking collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo tower in Surfside to what will happen to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Feel free to spit out your coffee in fear.
- And if you think it was bad here, it’s just a preview of what Chicago is facing, as this amazing deep dive from The Times shows.
- In a development that will surprise no one who has been watching how NIMBYs have been suing to block basic street safety improvements, a Sunset Park group led by Assembly Member Peter Abate filed in court to block the city’s plan to make Seventh and Eighth avenues safer. (NYDN)
- Friend of Streetsblog Vlado Vince had the 100 percent take on yesterday’s crash on Coney Island Avenue:
When Jose Alzorriz was killed on Coney Island Ave, electeds, including the newly chosen Democratic candidate for mayor, promised that safety improvements were coming. 2 years later it's still a dangerous speedway with no changes in infrastructure. https://t.co/Y7l8EkoZrw
— Vlado Vince (@mejs) July 8, 2021
The video of the crash from NY Scoop shows exactly the same circumstances in the Alzorriz killing: A speeding driver with little concern for anyone or anything else:
— NYC Scoop (@NY_Scoop) July 9, 2021
- We-a culpa: Yesterday, we reported that future Mayor Eric Adams, who claims to support density, voted against an 18-story tower at Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues. We cited Curbed, but the Brooklyn Paper had it first.
- And, finally, the Rockwell Group has done it again, showing how the city could replace its noisy, ugly open streets barricades and still let Access-a-Ride or taxi drivers make pick-ups or drop-offs. The rendering below is designed for the city’s “open boulevards” program, but could clearly be used anywhere barricades are needed to keep out thru-traffic (like on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights):