Afternoon Bulletin: Taxi Hits East Side Building, NY Post Homeless Crusade Continues

A taxi jumped a curb on the East Side Thursday morning, injuring the cab driver and two pedestrians.

(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
A taxi jumped the curb on the East Side this morning, injuring the driver and two pedestrians.

A taxi jumped a curb on the East Side Thursday morning, injuring the cab driver and two pedestrians. The vehicle climbed the curb at 8:45 a.m., when it collided with a building at First Avenue and 33rd Street. According to witnesses, the the driver had run a red light. “All the cars were stopped, this cab was just flying,” said witness Chris Collins. “Took out this guy on a bicycle, swerved to his right, hit a car, swerved back over toward the bike lane, like he was about to jump the curb and take everybody out. Everybody just ran that way.” The victims were taken to nearby NYU Langone Medical Center for treatment. It’s unclear why the cab driver lost control. (CBS New York

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio allowed officials to remove the “junk train” of possessions owned by Sonia Gonzalez, a homeless woman based in Hell’s Kitchen who was splashed across the front page of yesterday’s New York Post. It took workers 90 minutes to throw out most of her belongings, which included tens of carts and a handful of suitcases. When the Post reported Ms. Gonzalez’s prodigious hoarding earlier the same day, it was denigrated by the media for perpetuating its long-term diatribe against the homeless. Still, according to Mr. de Blasio’s spokeswoman Karen Hinton, cite Ms. Gonzalez’s mass of possessions as hindering sidewalks and traffic and the city’s prolonged attempt to relocate her to a Safe Haven shelter. “Outreach teams have been working to build trust with this client and help bring her to shelter for years,” Ms. Hinton said. “She has been known to the city since 2009 and has for several years refused to engage with the outreach team, and she will tell them to leave her alone.” Even if it was in the city’s best intentions to move Ms. Gonzalez, as Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steve Banks puts it, it was “a very troubling situation . . . We had trained professional staff out there this morning and afternoon working with this individual.” (New York Post)

With a Sunday deadline nearing for the New Jersey Transit rail strike―the first in 33 years―the transportation agency increased warnings to riders Wednesday by putting preemptive fliers on train seats. The notices announced that passengers could expect delays and reduced service if the strike goes through. A contingency plan would only accommodate 38 percent of the 105,000 daily commuters who rely on N.J. Transit to get to New York City, so New York businesses that have hired large contingents of New Jersey residents are making their own pre-strike plans. Mount Sinai Health System’s emergency management director, Dr. Kevin Chason, intends to make room for staff members to sleep overnight on cots in hospital areas not designated for patient care, while Macy’s spokeswoman Elina Kazan said that employees normally based in New York could be temporarily relocated to stores in New Jersey. For commuters left with no choice but to brave the highway, increased road traffic could exponentially increase travel time. Samuel Schwartz, a traffic expert and liason to N.J. Transit, said that the Holland Tunnel line could extend 25 miles. “It can’t be business as usual,” said Mr. Schwartz, who advocates for carpooling. (New York Times)

Warmer weather means mosquito season is coming. Yet despite the increasing global spread of Zika virus, City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett is “cautiously optimistic” that the insect-carried blight won’t encroach upon the Big Apple. Come spring, Ms. Bassett said, the city will increase the number of mosquito traps that it uses to monitor the bugs by 20 to 50 percent. The traps will allow the city to record the whereabouts of different species. Although the Aedes aegypti mosquito―which is spreading Zika in Latin America―is not found in the States, its relative, the Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito), can be found here—and scientists believe that it can transmit the virus too. While the city doesn’t plan to deviate from its usual insecticide treatment, the Health Department is investigating what types of spray to use against the Asian tiger mosquito just in case. In the meantime, New Yorkers can take precautions by cleaning up standing water, which mosquitoes breed in, and by ensuring that window screens are installed. (Daily Intel)

Despite the $4 billion Port Authority/Delta renovation plan for LaGuardia airport, a runway pothole delayed dozens of planes from taking off Wednesday night. According to NBC New York, the pothole (the latest thorn in LaGuardia’s side) had an alleged girth of two feet by eight feet, was created when a landing plane “blew out a chunk of concrete on the runway as it was coming down.” It will likely take more than a day to repair the runway because it is constructed from a myriad of layered materials. (Gothamist) Afternoon Bulletin: Taxi Hits East Side Building, NY Post Homeless Crusade Continues