Yes it is a huge problem that elites - including elected officials - don't take public transit. I understand it somewhat for people who have a town car and driver available 24/7, but quite often in NYC the subway is a superior way to get around relative even to taxis. And who the hell wants to drive themselves?
Not everywhere is going to be Manhattan specifically or NYC generally, but NYC can't be NYC without its transit system. Even Philadelphia couldn't be Philadelphia without its (much more meager, but relatively comprehensive) transit system. There's just no room for all of the parking unless you knock down everything.
It isn't just about providing transportation for non-rich people, it's about understanding that above a certain density of employment and population, you need good transit. Without it you can't have a "nice" urban neighborhood.
This is amplified because reporters don't use transit, either (understandable given their jobs). So many articles about mass transit are written as if it's some weird Yurpean invention that no American has ever previously come into contact with. Even New York's major dailies don't exactly privilege the views and needs of pedestrians and straphangers in their coverage of these issues.