New York|Will Lagging Ridership Cloud the Future of Public Transit?
Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high in the low 60s.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Passover).
The $6 billion included in President Biden’s stimulus plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was undeniably good news for New York City’s struggling transit agency, which operates the subway, buses and two commuter rail lines.
Before the pandemic, New York’s subways were the city’s most popular mode of transit, with nearly 1.7 billion turnstile swipes in 2019. But in March 2020, ridership fell 90 percent, with the biggest drops typically taking place in higher-income neighborhoods.
At the lowest point, bus ridership plummeted to 20 percent of normal.
The M.T.A.’s costs have also gone up. Systemwide, the agency spent $371 million on pandemic-related costs in 2020 — like cleaning trains or stations — and expects to spend close to that same amount each year through 2024.
An analysis by McKinsey & Company, commissioned by the M.T.A., found that ridership might reach 80 to 92 percent of prepandemic levels by the end of 2024, and that some riders might retain fears about the health or safety of trains and buses.
To adjust, the agency could reduce or alter service, which could mean longer waits between trains during rush hour and less service on suburban-bound trains, where ridership remains low.
From The Times
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The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.
What we’re reading
The police are investigating an attack on an Asian man in the Lower East Side as a hate crime. [Gothamist]
A police officer who was previously arrested under a new state law barring chokeholds was arrested again after firing a gun into the ocean while off duty, police said. [Daily News]
Pharmacies in New York can now administer Covid-19 vaccine to people with underlying health conditions. [N.Y. Post]
And finally: The blooming of New York City’s wildflowers
In Williamsburg, on a seven-acre park by the East River, spring will soon unfurl in blue blossoms. Cornflowers are always the first to bloom in the meadow of Marsha P. Johnson State Park, a welcome sign to bees and people that things are beginning to thaw.
Orange frills of butterfly milkweed and purple spindly bee balm, among other flowers, will eventually follow. Not all of them are native to New York, or even North America, but they have sustained themselves long enough to become naturalized.
A wildflower can refer to any flowering plant that was not cultivated, intentionally planted or given human aid, yet it still managed to grow and bloom. That’s one of several definitions offered in Andrew Garn’s new photo book, “Wildflowers of New York City,” and one that feels particularly suited to the city and its more than 2,000 species of plants — more than half of which are naturalized.
The book is not intended to be a traditional field guide for identifying flowers. Rather, the portraits are meant to invite New Yorkers to delight in the charm that we more often encounter in a sidewalk crack than in a bouquet.
“They all share a beauty of form and function that offers testimony to the glory of survival in the big city,” Mr. Garn writes.
It’s Monday — stop and smell the roses.
Metropolitan Diary: Prospect Park lake
I was walking in Prospect Park at sunset. I paused by the lake for a few minutes to admire the way the light was reflecting off the water.
As I wandered off, a man on a bike pulled up next to me and made a gesture that suggested he was trying to get my attention. Curious despite myself, I stopped.
Using the Notes app on his phone, he explained that he was deaf. Then he showed me a video he had taken a few minutes earlier. It showed a hawk sitting on a branch above where I had been standing at the time.
— Grace Brunson
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