When the blue Citibank Citi Bikes—thank you again impossibly selfless, unfailingly generous corporate overlords!—start rolling out of their stations, there is one neighborhood that will not be sharing.
South Williamsburg is noticeably lacking in any of the city’s new bike-share stations, The Wall Street Journal noticed. And this time the Hasidic community didn’t even have to battle against naked hipsters to get their way!
There were so many communities clamoring to host the cruisers, ugly Citibank logos be damned, that the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community simply stayed mum and let the sought-after stations go where they were wanted, the city transportation commissioner explains. And that wasn’t South Williamsburg.
“I think it’s really important that the stations meet the needs of the communities,” city transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told The Journal. “We’re not really looking to put them where there isn’t a lot of demand.”
Have you ever heard of such an easy victory? It’s like we can finally, for once and for all, say whose side God is on. Still, not everyone is pleased. The whole point of a transportation system, as bike share aspires to be, is that it serves all neighborhoods, whether their residents want it or not. (That’s how a system works, right?)
And even some Hasids want to bike! They just don’t want to be associated with the kind of bicyclists who are “more naked than clothed.”
Baruch Herzfeld, former proprietor of Traif Bike Gesheft and a member of the Orthodox community told The Journal that he found great demand among local Hasidim for his rental bikes.
“I always heard them say, ‘I wish I could ride a bicycle,’ and I’m like—’Why don’t you ride a bicycle?’” Mr. Herzfeld said.
Not that Hasids are becoming cycling enthusiasts any time soon, especially not the children, if the powers that be can help it. Alas, although the community shows occasional interest in change, they are not its biggest fans. In that, they join other insular enclaves like Brooklyn Heights and Turtle Bay, who have also voiced opposition to hosting bike share stations.