2004-11-16 Critical Mass Ass - NY Press

CRITICAL MASS ASS
New York Press
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

CLEARLY, AM NEW YORK'S editor-in-chief Alex Storozynski misses his glory days at the Daily News, back when his quill dripped fire and he let loose such broadsides as "Jamaica Bay, A Gem Worth Saving," "Just Say No When Firms Avoid Taxes" and "Grammys, Eminem: Keep Out."

Power of the pen, man!

Helming a free daily that's read by those too poor to buy the New York Post must be causing a midlife creative crisis for Storozynski. And so last Friday he demonstrated that though editors-in-chief enjoy a certain right of kings, it's a right best exercised with discretion.

Taking amNew York's front page for himself, the fortysomething Storozynski urged Critical Mass organizers to "End the Anarchy" by securing a permit for the monthly ride. In a tone that wouldn't seem out of place at an Eva Moskowitz-hosted dinner party, Storozynski heaped opprobrium upon "anarchists" who have "hijacked the ride and [are] using it to confront the police."

Lest you think that "anarchist" was inserted by a mischievous copy editor hell-bent on depicting her boss as an out-of-touch retard, Storozynski elsewhere claims that "[i]nstead of promoting safety, the riders celebrate anarchy."

As readers may remember, New York Press named Critical Mass the Best Socially Aware Tourist Attraction in 2003. We support the monthly ride. We participate in the monthly ride. We were disgusted to witness first-hand the Dyer Ave. arrest on the pre-RNC ride. Our friends were harassed by police at an Oct. 29 after-ride party.

Critical Mass is one of the few local political mobilizations that does what it says, says what it does. Critics like Storozynski are naive if they think the event is about picking fights with the cops. Even before the Republican National Convention, police were combative with riders; it is they who instigate confrontation, who pit bicycle against automobile. As for altercations with drivers, for every flared traffic-jam temper, we've had supportive honks and graceful, considerate halting by both working and casual drivers.

New York Press supports Critical Mass and hopes the riders stand tough. We also urge anyone who supports sane traffic reform for New York City to educate themselves. Finally, we urge Storozynski to retire early.

ALEX STOROZYNSKI DECLINED to comment for this article. Here are the questions we didn't get to ask:

• Where do you live: Connecticut or New Jersey?

• Have you ever participated in a Critical Mass ride?

• With this front page, you've effectively pushed amNew York into New York Post territory, namely a stodgy tab that complains about kids making too much noise. Yet, in an interview with the New York Observer prior to am's launch, you said, "We're going to have a young staff that's going to be writing for their own generation." How does your young staff feel about having their cranky grandfather commandeering the front page for an obnoxious, reactionary editorial?

• How many junior editors do you think are laughing at you behind your back?

• Do you own a car?

• Is it true that you were on the Daily News editorial board that received a Pulitzer for "Showdown at the Apollo."

• Is this the kind of insightful, snappy writing that won you a Pulitzer at the Daily News?

• Are you going to give back your Pulitzer now?