Monday’s Headlines: Just Another Tragic ‘Accident’ Edition

Curtis Sliwa at Lenox Hill Hospital after his injury.
Curtis Sliwa at Lenox Hill Hospital after his injury.

The biggest under-reported story of the weekend was the late Friday news that mayoral candidate and beret-industry pillar Curtis Sliwa had been hit by the driver of a taxicab.

Let’s set aside the horror that a major candidate could have easily been killed to focus on how ineptly the local press handled it — treating it like a little sideshow rather than using the crash as a teachable moment about how common this kind of thing is.

None of the major news outlets — the Daily News, the Post, the AP — bothered to point out that a taxi driver was the actor, leading with alternate versions of, “Mayor candidate Curtis Sliwa was injured after being hit by a cab in Midtown on Friday…” Worst of all was WPIX, whose headline — “NYC mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa fractures arm after being hit by cab” — made it sound as if Sliwa was so upset that he hadn’t been more severely injured that he went and broke his arm afterwards.

Interestingly, the AP noted that “Sliwa did not file a police report about the incident,” which is unfortunate because without a police report, it’s unlikely that any city authorities will do anything to hold the driver accountable for failing to exercise due care nor will the roadway receive any scrutiny for a possible safety redesign.

And as a result of not calling the cops, Sliwa in effect does not become a statistic, meaning that his injuries will not be added to the running list of 40,179 injured in crashes between Jan. 1 and Oct. 26, according to city stats visualized by Crashmapper. That’s 134 people per day, on average. If that many people were being shot or were being hospitalized for COVID-19, you bet people would be talking about it. But instead, it’s just a mayoral candidate being run over by a driver. Happens every day, people. Nothing to see here.

In other news:

  • Speaking of stuff that seems to happen with horrifying regularity, yet still doesn’t rise to the level of media interest among our sleepy press corps is the killing of extremely young children by drivers of SUVs. On Saturday, we reported on the death of 2-year-old Autumn Garrison, who was driven over by a woman in a massive Ford Explorer in Staten Island — just five days after another 2-year-old was killed in a similar manner by the driver of an assault car who couldn’t see her. Other papers covered the “tragic accident” (NYDN, NY Post), but none of the papers initially pointed out the rising death toll from these assault cars.
  • The Times did a deep dive on the violence that so often stems from routine traffic stops, thanks to poor police training. The takeaway: “Over the past five years, police officers have killed more than 400 drivers or passengers who were not wielding a gun or a knife, or under pursuit for a violent crime — a rate of more than one a week.”
  • Gov. Hochul took an LIRR train from Jamaica to Grand Central Terminal via the MTA’s East Side Access project — a construction job so over-budget that it spawned a Pulitzer-worthy investigation by the Times’s Brian Rosenthal. Not entirely sure why Hochul (rhymes with local) took the 27-minute ride, given that East Side Access won’t be serving passengers until December … 2022. The Daily News played it straight; the Post got Hochul to admit that Penn Station is terrible (part of the supposedly populist Murdoch-owned tabloid’s ongoing push to ensure that ex-Gov. Cuomo’s crony-based renovation scheme goes forward). Meanwhile, amNY also covered, using Halloween puns.
  • Speaking of the Post’s bizarre agendas, the paper featured another error-filled story about how 34th Avenue residents are supposedly oppressed by the open street there. Open street barriers, for example, do not “prevent autos from accessing the broad east-west thoroughfare.” The barriers only slow down drivers; anyone is free to move the barrier, drive through, and move the barrier back.
  • Uber and Lyft are losing riders to yellow cabs, the latest city stats show. (NY Post)
  • In case you missed it, Gov. Hochul signed State Sen. Andrew Gounardes’s bill stiffening the penalties for selling those annoying exhaust pipes that wake up the whole neighborhood. (Brooklyn Paper, Gothamist)
  • We need to stop equipping cops with military-surplus equipment. (City Journal)
  • Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar is still pushing to create more parking in a city that will be underwater in a generation from excessive driving … but at least she’s no longer talking about paving a park to put up a parking lot. (Queens Chronicle)
  • Former federal transit man Larry Penner is pushing for a ferry between Bay Ridge and Staten Island (Brooklyn Eagle), but we still want a subway extension under (and a bike lane over) the Narrows.