Our editor, Gersh Kuntzman, has been doing his video series about defaced plates for about two weeks now (archived on the bird site here), but he only received his first threatening, blocked ID phone call on Thursday night after posting this video earlier in the day of a firefighter/scofflaw who thought he could get away with something:
— Gersh Kuntzman (@GershKuntzman) December 8, 2022
The call came from a man identifying himself as “we know your phone number” and “we don’t want you to get hurt,” who promptly and aggressively questioned Kuntzman about his loyalties and agenda.
“Why are you going after cops and firefighters, Gersh?” the husky voiced man asked. “They heroes — or are you one of those people who hate cops?”
Kuntzman is not someone who hates anyone, actually, but he detests some people’s behaviors — especially those of selfish people who are so eager to race through school zones at 11 miles per hour or more above the already generous speed limit that they would deface or damage their license plate so that their transgressions might not be recorded by speed cameras legally authorized by our democratically elected legislature.
So he told the man just that — but the caller didn’t want to debate the finer points of the criminal justice system, but merely reiterated his “concern” that Kuntzman is likely to “get hurt” if he persists in his one-man criminal mischief wave.
So Kuntzman posted his latest opus, featuring some bona-fide criminal mischief against an officer from the 84th Precinct:
WORLD EXCLU: This is the CRIMINAL MISCHIEF video that will bring an onslaught of middle-of-the-night harassing phone calls and threats from cops (I've already had 1) because it's absolute CRIMINAL MISCHIEF against an @NYPD84Pct cop who should be punished by @NYPDPC and @NYCMayor pic.twitter.com/saVgNWQOKN
— Gersh Kuntzman (@GershKuntzman) December 9, 2022
The video above is likely to initiate a new wave of hostile phone calls and threats (Kuntzman’s cellphone number is the worst-kept secret since the identity of the eternal resident of Grant’s Tomb), but his video series will continue until Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell or Mayor Adams take action, not just against their own employees, but against any driver who defaces a plate to avoid being held accountable for endangering the residents of this city.
It’s a good reminder to mention that our December donation drive continues — and we’d like to thank yesterday’s generous contributors: Thanks, Justin! (The rest of you, don’t wait ’til Kuntzman is in a hospital before you start to give!)
In other news:
- Here’s more evidence that the DOT needs to move quickly to make Third Avenue safe: A woman was killed after being hit by a hit-and-run driver on the highway-like roadway. So far this year, there have been 287 reported crashes on just the 3.3-mile stretch of Third Avenue between 59th and 125th streets, injuring 141 people, including 32 cyclists and 41 pedestrians, not that you’ll read about the inherent danger of our roads in the Daily News coverage.
- Good news: Rather than losing their jobs, subway “token booth” clerks will be deployed on the platforms, helping customers. (NYDN, Gothamist)
- And while we’re on the subject of transit, shouldn’t buses be free? Well, yes, of course, but there are lots of issues, as Jose Martinez reported in The City.
- The Post followed Gothamist’s West Village pickleball ban scoop.
- Speaking of Gothamist, Stephen Nessen, who is killing it lately, had a nice scoop on the MTA’s effort to phase out that awkward “conversational” seating configuration in the subway.
- Now that people are finally seeing those gargantuan 5G towers, they’re freaking out. (Upper East Site)
- We didn’t look at the Times all day because of the one-day boycott to show solidarity with our fellow reporters, but after midnight, we definitely needed the Paper of Record’s take on Mayor Adams’s big housing initiative (plus, you don’t get a Dean Chang byline very often). In the end, the Times’ story was one-dimensional, so we flipped over to The City and Crain’s for a little more depth. (amNY also covered)
- And, finally, Friend of Streetsblog George Hahn is a transportation legend. But this kid stays in the picture:
— George Hahn (@georgehahn) December 8, 2022