Tuesday’s Headlines: Real Estate Boondoggle Edition

The governor proposes to put a new entrance to Penn Station at the current site of the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Rendering: Governor's Office
The governor proposes to put a new entrance to Penn Station at the current site of the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Rendering: Governor's Office

We mentioned yesterday that our old man has Covid, but is that really any excuse for him not staying up until 3 a.m. to alert us about a Times story about Penn Station that had been embargoed until that ungodly hour? Of course not. So because he missed it yesterday, we’ll break it out today as the lead.

In a story that indeed posted at 3 a.m. on Monday, reporters Matthew Haag and Dana Rubinstein reveal what many local pols and activists like our friends at Reinvent Albany have been pointing out for months: the Cuomo-era/Hochul-supported plan to rebuild Penn Station with money from new office development in the area is flawed — and taxpayers will likely be left holding the bag (aren’t we always?).

Now, unlike the NIMBYs, we don’t have any problem with 10 super-tall skyscrapers in Midtown (where they belong), but as Haagenstein pointed out, those towers probably won’t generate enough revenue for the Cuomo-Hochul Penn Station dream, meaning the state will have to cover the shortfall, while Steven Roth at Vornado counts his money.

But isn’t it always thus? Weren’t Brooklynites told that Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards boondoggle would bring about a glorious new public park? (We’re still waiting.) And aren’t Buffalonians being promised a downtown revival, thanks to a new football stadium … in the suburbs? No wonder gubernatorial hopeful Tom Suozzi is trying to roll Roth’s campaign donations to Hochul to Vornado’s political dealing with former President Trump into one big scandal (NY Post).

On the other hand, we do need a better Penn Station, a veritable cemetery for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters. Is it too much to ask that our public officials build better public amenities? If the state is going to be holding the bag in the end anyway, we might as well get a nice new commuter hub out of it, right? We’re sure there’s more to come on this story…

In other news:

  • Speaking of missing stories, we also missed Nicole Gelinas’s clarion call in support of city control of speed cameras and for reining in the drivers who terrorize us all. (NY Post)
  • And speaking of speed cameras, the Daily Newsthe Post and Gothamist covered DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez’s presser yesterday to call for action in Albany to reauthorize New York City’s camera program. We did, too, but folded it into our larger coverage of just how important speed cameras are. If you can only send one story to your Assembly member or Senator, please send ours.
  • Hat tip to the New York Post for finally running the plates on the car involved in last week’s crash that killed NYU student Raife Milligan. Even though the Post had the driver’s record for its first-day story, it waited before revealing that the suspect is a recidivist reckless driver (four camera-issued speeding tickets since late last year) — the kind that need to be taken off the roads.
  • The Queens woman who was hit on Mother’s Day by the aggravated driver of a stolen truck has died. (NY Post)
  • Deplorable: One day after we reported in our headlines that cops arrested a woman for selling mango slices in the subway, Mayor Adams defended the arrest on the grounds that if cops don’t act, people will be barbecuing in the subway. Yes, he really said that. (NYDN, NY Times, amNY)
  • An Upper East Side senior was critically injured by the driver of a truck. (Upper East Site, NY Post)
  • Lincoln Anderson’s Village Sun gave a lot of ink to Ryder Kessler, who is running to unseat longtime Assembly Member Deborah Glick in Chelsea and the Village. Could Glick, who has been in office since 1991, be vulnerable? Street safety advocates have found her an ally, but an inconsistent one. The Post went after her for letting campaign donations change her political positions.
  • Cars aren’t supposed to catch fire like this (NY Post) or flip over like this (NY Post) — but that’s exactly what happens when they are operated at high speeds.
  • The Daily News followed the Post’s scoop about the MTA’s new back door policy.
  • See?! It’s not just crime that is reducing transit: Only 8 percent of Manhattan workers are coming to their offices five days per week. (NYDN)
  • If that’s true, it looks like the mayor is riding the subway more than most Manhattan workers! (NY Post)
  • Finally, on Day 2 of his Covid bout, our vaxxed and boosted editor reports that he’s feeling more or less fine, like he has a mild cold. If he wasn’t still contagious, he’d be out on the ice at Aviator tonight with his over-50 teammates. In lieu of flowers, send OJ.