Thursday Headlines: Europhoria Edition

Toilets! Bike lanes! Public transit that works! Public space! Europe puts us to shame.
Toilets! Bike lanes! Public transit that works! Public space! Europe puts us to shame.

Well, our old man editor is back and, frankly, we wish he’d have just stayed on vacation. Why? Because he’s the latest summer holiday taker who has come down with a case of “Europhoria Syndrome,” that annoying affliction that affects all city dwellers who visit Paris, Dijon, Stuttgart, Strasbourg or any of the continental hotspots.

The guy won’t shut up about all he saw: car-free school streets! Anxiety-free commercial zones! Noiseless downtowns! Double-width bike lanes! Sexy streetcars with dedicated rights of ways! Bike boulevards! Public toilets! Containerized trash! Happy people with great healthcare! Perfectly drinkable wine for $3 a bottle! In supermarkets!

He even made us watch a slideshow (just like your grandparents used to do when they got home from a vacation)!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Do you understand simply how bad New York is?” is all he keeps asking us. Do we know?! It’s all we’ve been covering for the past two decades! The better question is: Do our elected officials really want to stick with that “New York is the greatest city on Earth” bullshit or will they start believing what all these homeward-bound eyes are telling them?

Either way, let’s get to yesterday’s news while we wait for our EU visas:

  • The big story yesterday was Gov. Hochul’s decision to waive mask mandates on public transit and the MTA’s new messaging (graphic below right). Here’s how the general-interest press covered it:
    • The Daily News took time to point out that immunocompromised people won’t want to return to the subway, which is still suffering from a massive ridership shortfall.
    • Gothamist pointed out that compliance was low anyway.

      The new MTA mask messaging. Graphic: MTA
      The new MTA mask messaging. Graphic: MTA
    • amNY played its main story straight, but Kevin Duggan added a nifty analysis of the inevitable “mask-lash.”
    • The Times turned it into a health story.
    • The Post wrote a fairly incoherent editorial blaming Hochul for pandering.
  • The NYPD confirmed the obvious about that crazy car crash/robbery on the Upper East Side last week: it was no random incident. (NYDN)
  • Does anyone think the city’s ferry system — unlike every other form of public transit — can run at a profit? Apparently the city does. (The City)
  • It’s continually confounding how the mainstream media continues to define “school safety” as what happens inside school buildings between first bell and dismissal. So when Schools Chancellor David Banks announced a plan to beef up security inside schools, we weren’t surprised that none of our big time colleagues pointed out how dangerous life is for students on their way to and from Banks’s schools (NYDN, NY Post, amNY, Gothamist). Fortunately, Streetsblog has you covered, with stories about:
  • The Times looked at the MTA’s storm preparations — and found them wanting.
  • Cab fares might be going up. (Crain’s)
  • City Limits published our Open Plans colleague Jackson Chabot and Chelsea Dowell’s rebuttal to the New York Times’s recent crocodile tears act over the city’s withering open streets program.
  • Is there a Lee Zeldin position that doesn’t put the complaints of a privileged few ahead of the needs of everyone else? (NY Post)
  • Greenpoint is getting a new bike lane, says Council Member Lincoln Restler. (Via Twitter)
  • And, finally, we don’t know why, but we find this Libertarian’s troll of our school safety story completely hilarious. It’s like he or she is acknowledging that reckless driving is a problem, but he finds us “adorable” for wanting to do something about it: