The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, aka Pete Buttigieg, aka Mayor Pete, visited the Big Apple yesterday to meet with Mayor Eric Adams and appear on "Late Night With Stephen Colbert." Given that New York is a city filled with street trash, crumbling highways, and ancient rail infrastructure, there is much to discuss with the Admiral of Asphalt.
Is his DOT going to fast-track environmental approval for congestion pricing?
Does he think that we should keep throwing money at the comically precarious BQE? Or should we tear it down and start from scratch?
What's he doing to keep the Gateway tunnel project moving, to ensure that the 112-year-old rail tunnels are repaired before the next millennium?
What does he think of the Open Restaurants program? Has he dined outdoors?
Secretary Buttigieg also met with the head of the MTA, and discussed hate crimes on public transit with community leaders. Does he believe that more police officers are the solution?
Unfortunately, the secretary refused to speak with the press.
Mayor Adams wasn't much help either. He referenced an already-announced $110 million grant from the DOT to improve the Hunts Point produce market, and not much else.
Going on a late night show and talking about Democracy is obviously not the same thing as answering specific transportation questions from a prickly press corps, but don't try and point this out to a certain super badass political consultant who drinks cheap draft beer and helps powerful men do damage control on credible allegations of sexual harassment.
And did Secretary Pete actually take an SUV from D.C. to New York? Why didn't he avail himself of Amtrak? (We have some questions for the secretary about Amtrak too, such as, what are you doing to make it less expensive?) Hell Gate has asked the DOT press office for answers and will update if they respond.
UPDATE: A USDOT spokesperson said that Secretary Buttigieg did not drive to NYC from D.C. They did not say on the record how he got to NYC.
However, according to the Secretary's Twitter account, he was in Florida in the days leading up to his NYC visit, speaking at a transportation conference and celebrating...the new Orlando airport.
Here's what else is fogging up our Tuesday:
- Fog! In New York! Whatta town.
- Workers at VOCAL-NY voted to join a union, and NYU adjuncts voted to strike for higher wages. Congrats, and good luck!
- The family of 28-year-old Erick Tavira, who allegedly hanged himself on Rikers Island over the weekend, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City. Tavira is the 17th person to die in NYC jails custody this year.
- Ten years after Sandy hit New York City, "managed retreat" is still slowly plodding along.
- Surprise: NYC Department of Finance data shows that using parking spaces for outdoor dining helps restaurants and makes people happy.
- NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell fired cop Jose Joseph, whose girlfriend accused him of assault. "[I'm] a police officer. Nothing's going to happen," Joseph told his girlfriend, according to the Daily News.
- New Yorkers are bitching more and more about people riding stuff on the sidewalk. Sounds like perhaps the City should take some lanes from drivers and give them to scooters and cyclists?
- In the most tantalizing blind item in recent memory, Melissa DeRosa reveals that "a friend and former colleague" recently got "punched in the face while standing on a street corner in Manhattan in broad daylight."
- Tonight at 7 p.m. on NY1: Governor Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin face off in their first and only debate of the campaign season.
And finally: Watch out for assailants who may be sleeping right next to the box of Famous Amos cookies.