A Quick Announcement
The Holidays are upon us, and I will just wanted y’all to know that I will be taking some time off for the festivities. I will continue my puzzle schedule the next two Fridays and then after the answers and musings on Dec 21 and 22, I will take the next two weeks off. I will resume the puzzling goodness after we bid adieu to the “Oughts” and puzzles will flow forth again on 1/8/2010.
A Quick Rant: Bedford Avenue Bike Lanes
I really, really, really don’t want to use this blog to talk politics. I am here to have some fun with the City and more amuse than enrage, but I just can’t let something go and I have to get it out. This rant is political in nature, so I will say right off that I am of a liberal bent, and if you don’t agree with my world view that is absolutely fine. I don’t think what I’m going to express here is terribly left leaning, but I will just want those of the conservative and easily offended mindset to just take a pass on these words right about NOW.
I dislike being treated like an idiot and marginalized. The recent mayoral election has made me feel both of these things.
I have never liked term limits (in fact I voted against them TWICE), but I understood when a majority of New Yorkers who take the time to vote disagreed with me, uh, TWICE. The fact that Mayor Bloomberg did an end around two public referendums to get on the ballot for a third term was beyond infuriating to me. There were many justifications used by Mr. Bloomberg and his constituents, chiefly that NYC was in too great a crisis to not let him run, and that he was a different type of mayor, i.e. a mayor freed from traditional politics due to his independent standing.
The crisis argument never washed with me. Nobody let Giuliani run for a third term after the 9/11 attacks, and as dire as the economic problems that the city faces are they are NOTHING compared to the months after 9/11. The argument that Mr. Bloomberg is not a traditional political beast was just too weak of an argument for me, and then I found out about the Bedford Avenue Bike Lanes being removed.
Backstory and my main point here: Mike Bloomberg, like him or not, has a vision for New York City. A big part of that vision is making New York more open, and greener. The bike lanes that have been created under his tenure are a big part of that. Bike lanes were opened in Williamsburg for commuters to use the Williamsburg Bridge to get to work from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Some of these bike lanes, especially down Bedford Avenue went through Hasidic neighborhoods and the Hasidic community found the bike riders somehow offensive, especially “scantily clad” women. So the Bloomberg administration had the DOT remove the bike lanes to appease a constituency that they needed in the 2009 election!
Mike Bloomberg’s claims of “no politics as usual” is a total crock. He, like every other mayor before him and probably everyone after him as well, will attend to his constituents first. Don’t treat me like an idiot and say otherwise. More importantly, remember that this is an example of how our mayor is willing to forgo his own vision for the city to appease a relatively small community that supports him politically. This is not the bold leader that he portrays himself to be, and is very depressing to see that we will have four more years of favors to friends and allies and partisanship from Gracey Mansion.
Now ranting is all fine and good, but I always felt that the best way to counter those who make treat me like an idiot is to come up with a clever way to fight back. Now some activists have already taken it upon themselves to fight the Bedford Avenue Bike Lane Removal. Well, I would like to add my idea for the whole situation. If the Hasidim are all worked up about nubile young women riding their bicycles on their streets, then I have the perfect protest. These women should continue to use Bedford Avenue for their commute, but where the lanes have been removed, they should get off and walk their bicycles through the neighborhood nice and slow. Make the Hasidic community look at you longer than if you were just riding through. I say these ladies should be pleasant and not verbally abusive, but they should continue to dress as they see fit and walk leisurely through the blocks that have had the bike lanes removed. If they also happen to have a skirt a hair shorter than usual or a slightly sexier outfit on, so be it.
I will gladly volunteer to chair a committee to form the “Tastefully Sexy Walk Your Bicycle Up Bedford Avenue” protest, and I don’t even ride a bike.