I felt obscenely important as I sat down in the driver’s seat and put the key in the ignition. Vroom. The car has a valved exhaust, which makes it sound loud and kind of scary. The car, an automatic, was so powerful that it drove itself out of the garage; I didn’t even need to put my foot on the gas. Read More
Like all six-lane urban highways scattered with years of pulverized wreckage—nary an inch of shoulder for breakdowns, center lines that weave like spaghetti, out-of-control speeders passing each other on curves designed to be rounded by wooden subway cars, long-haul truck drivers pounding the roadway to pieces and blatantly nonsensical subverbal signage essentially declaring to the Read More
My earliest memories are about riding in my dad’s ’47 Mercury convertible, the smell of the canvas and leather, the heater underneath the dashboard. Or with my Uncle Leo in his ’49 Chevy coupe, delivering sweaters embroidered in his shop in the Bronx to Macy’s and Lord & Taylor’s, or some of the smaller shops Read More
When people tend to complain about bikes, it is in terms of law-breaking dare devils. Whether or not this is accurate, at the very least, the pedestrians who so often feel threatened by these two-wheeled madcaps need not look over their shoulders fearing for their lives.
Well, that might still be a good idea, especially with an 18-wheeler barreling down behind the bike, but the odds that a cyclist might actually kill, or even maim you are incredibly slim, according to new city data.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
City Councilman David Greenfield is introducing a bill today to require every New York City cyclist to wear a bike helmet.
It is an intriguing proposal on a number of levels.
Currently, only children 13 and younger are required to wear a bike helmet. Think of the last time you saw a cyclist cruising by—were they wearing a helmet? Through highly unscientific personal observation, this reporter would say odds are evenly split for and against helmets. Maybe it’s a little higher, hopefully, so this is simply a safety measure, and a warranted one, like seat belt laws.
This is to be the attitude of the councilman, who told The Observer, “This is the simplest thing a cyclist can do to protect themselves. To do anything else is frankly irresponsible.” He pointed to federal statistics showing that 96 percent of bicycle fatalities involve people not wearing helmets (which may have as much to do with the cyclists attitude and actions as the presence of a helmet, but the numbers still speak volumes.)
Still, the best way not to get killed on your bike in the city is to keep from getting hit by a car. Which begs the question if this is not simply more anti-bike legislation masquerading as pro-bike legislation. Going back to the back-of-the-envelope assumption that half of city cyclists don’t wear helmets, dumb if legal as that may be, how many of them might stop riding if it meant the choice between mussed hair and a $25 fine? With thousands of bike share bikes on the way, could this kill the program before it even gets off the ground?
Brooklyn State of Mind
Oh, crazy Brooklynites, will you never change? It’s been less than two months since the incident at D’Amico Coffee in Carroll Gardens, when an angry note on the door alerted fans of the 75-year-old shop that nosy neighbors had petitioned the city to get involved in their coffee battle (apparently some people just hate the smell of freshly roast grounds).
This weekend continued the passive-aggressive madness in the form of more homemade “notes”: with area residents this time taking to the streets in Park Slope to leave long-form essays on the windshields of motorists who took up too much space with their parking without violating any actual laws.
Read the entire two-page citation, via StreetsBlog.org.
Best Laid Plans
The city’s Department of Transportation is putting the brakes on its plan for 6½th Avenue, yielding to oncoming concerns about the implementation of a plan to construct new crosswalks that would connect pedestrian plazas running from 51st to 57th streets between Sixth and Seventh avenues. The plan was due to be put to a vote at Community Board 5 last Thursday, but the department has delayed its presentation for a month to help pave the way for its approval.
There had been some concerns about whether or not traffic impacts on the corridor had been sufficiently addressed and what the best means to mitigate traffic at pedestrian crossings might be. “It’s not going to be quite so simple at the full board, and they wanted to take a step back and make sure they had all the answers,” one community board member told The Observer. As we previously reported, the board’s transportation committee approved the 6½th Avenue plan unanimously.
SO I JUMPED ON THAT SUCKER AND LAID RUBBER
Whether or not Joe Biden has said anything unintentionally funny or cringe-worthy on any given day hinges on a single question: Did Joe Biden give someone an interview? Today’s answer is, of course, yes. This time, to Car & Driver.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
Planes Trains & Automobiles
Joel Karie was returning from a trip to Maryland on Thursday, having left that morning to make rehearsals at the Minskoff Theater, where he is a singer in The Lion King. He had just pulled over on 10th Avenue and 44th Street to hop out so his partner, Derek, could take the wheel. Just then, a red-and-black Mini Cooper pulled up behind them, and an older gentleman with a salt-and-pepper mustache got out.
“He wanted to know if I actually liked it,” Mr. Karie told The Observer. “People seem to have a very positive reaction, but then they want to know if we enjoy the car as much as they seem to.” It was the same reaction Mr. Karie has gotten not only driving around the five boroughs for the past two months, but also on the streets of West Baltimore and at a Delaware rest stop. “It’s kind of ridiculous” how much attention the car draws, Mr. Karie said.
He is the proud owner of a brand new Fiat 500, one of only a few hundred in the metro area. He opted for the 500 the sport model, because it came in the color he was looking for, Tropicalia Yellow. “It cost a few thousand dollars more, but that’s what I like about the Fiat,” Mr. Karie said. “I didn’t get a small car because I couldn’t afford a better car. Really, really both of us wanted to buy an American car. However, when you go under $20,000 in an American car, it feels like you get what you pay for. I don’t get that pop I get with the Fiat. You can buy the baseline 500 and it doesn’t feel like the baseline.”