Thursday’s Headlines: Chewing the Fat with Marty Edition

File photo: Liam Quigley
File photo: Liam Quigley

I had lunch at Mighty Quinn’s the other day with Martin Ewenstein, who is one of Streetsblog’s longstanding (though behind-the-scenes) critics, so let’s start with satisfying his greatest demand: Listen, we’re all cyclists here and we all go through red lights. But if you do so at full speed or in a way that scares or threatens pedestrians, you’re a jerk.

There, Marty, you happy now?

The BBQ summit was the fruit of dozens of emails between me and Ewenstein, who started writing before the pandemic to demand that I say something about the two-wheeled menace (apparently some people believe I have influence over the all-powerful bike lobby). I told Marty that when drivers start telling other drivers to behave (and Mayor de Blasio does something to staunch the bloodshed they cause), that’s when I’ll start haranguing cyclists.

But there was something about Marty’s persistence, good humor and, yes, Don Rickles-style abuse that drew me in — not to mention the fact the he’s lived his 87 years in the city that breaks our hearts every day. So a lunch seemed fair. He told me about his career as a strategic economist at CBS. He told me about plays he produced in the 1970s and concerts (Pete Seeger! David Amram!) he produced in Tompkins Square Park. He demanded we see a Met game next year. Good seats. On him. And yes, he berated me. But he made a lot of sense. (It was like “Tuesdays with Morrie,” but with brisket.)

Marty knows that cars are the biggest villain and cause virtually all injuries in town — but he’s afraid of bike riders, even though he is one, having once even biked around the Sea of Galilee (“Not in one day!” he admitted).

So do me a favor and don’t be a jerk to my pal Marty.

In other news:

  • Personal plug: I was on Errol Louis’s “You Decide” podcast … and hopefully you’ll decide that I gave way better than I got as I pushed back on Louis’s privileged defense of driving. It’s worth a listen. (NY1)
  • The maskless cops who roughed up one of their critics in a subway have been disciplined (NYDN, Gothamist). Earlier in the day, the mayor said he was “troubled” by the video (NY Post).
  • Don’t sleep on the subway, darling. (NYDN)
  • There was more coverage of the NIMBY lawsuit against the Open Restaurant program after the suit had dropped late Monday. The Post, the Village Sun and Gothamist more or less played it straight (Cuozzo likes restaurants, after all), but no outlet truly addressed the fact that the “loss” of “parking” is mentioned 29 times in a lawsuit that claims to be about environmental justice. Meanwhile amNY offered an op-ed on a related pro-restaurant topic.
  • This is ferry bad news. (NY Post)
  • The headline on the Times’s coverage of last night’s mayoral debate is bizarre; Eric Adams is indeed the front-runner.
  • amNY has just launched a five-part series on the new grocery-delivery services. Hopefully, it’s building towards something.
  • Gov. Hochul is spinning her $20-million Long Island Expressway expansion project as a “safety” plan. You know what’s the safest plan? Reducing the number of cars moving around at high speeds around the city (QNS). Noel Hidalgo had a good takedown on Twitter.
  • And, finally, sad news out of Bay Ridge: