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Archive for July 31st, 2012

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

While walking down Greenpoint Avenue recently, specifically that section of the ancient lane which overpasses the massive Long Island Expressway, this “Ghost Bike” caught my attention. Reckless, the political calculations which have caused the Manhattan elites to embrace and encourage cycling as an alternative form of transportation has created several spots where high speed traffic interacts directly with human powered vehicles, and tragedy has ensued. Cycling enthusiasts place these white painted bicycles at the spot where someone has died, as a memorial and a reminder to passerby.

It’s kind of a somber thing, these white bikes.

This is an “unnamed” ghost bike, according to

A livery cab driver struck and killed a cyclist in Long Island City early this morning, as first reported by DNAinfo. The motorist was not charged with any crime, said an NYPD spokesperson.

According to police, the cyclist, a man in his 30s, was riding south
on Greenpoint Avenue at the time of the crash, while the livery driver,
25, was heading east on Borden Avenue, along the side of the Long Island

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This post won’t be debating the efficacy of such alternative transportation, the wisdom of allowing vehicles to operate on the streets of New York City (motorized or human powered) without insurance or tags or operator training or licensing, or comment on the tremendous amount of traffic focused on and through Western Queens.

Instead, my attention was drawn to the slip of notepaper which was inserted into the spokes.

from wikipedia

A ghost bike or ghostcycle is a bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed or severely injured (usually by a motor vehicle) Apart from being a memorial, it is usually intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road. Ghost bikes are usually junk bicycles painted white, sometimes with a placard attached, and locked to a suitable object close to the scene of the accident.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

“You have a beautiful bike. Have a nice day- homeless Cassie” is what it reads. Hipster “twee” notwithstanding, this is simply in bad taste, and the writer might as well have left a note of the gates of nearby Calvary saying “nice landscaping.”



August 5th, 2012- Newtown Creek Alliance Walking Tour- The Insalubrious Valley

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Newtown Creek Alliance historian Mitch Waxman will be leading a walk through the industrial heartlands of New York City, exploring the insalubrious valley of the Newtown Creek.

The currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and the place where the Industrial Revolution actually happened, provides a dramatic and picturesque setting for this exploration. We’ll be visiting two movable bridges, the still standing remains of an early 19th century highway, and a forgotten tributary of the larger waterway. As we walk along the Newtown Creek and explore the “wrong side of the tracks” – you’ll hear tales of the early chemical industry, “Dead Animal and Night Soil Wharfs”, colonial era heretics and witches and the coming of the railroad. The tour concludes at the famed Clinton Diner in Maspeth- where scenes from the Martin Scorcese movie “Goodfellas” were shot.

Lunch at Clinton Diner is included with the ticket.

Details/special instructions.

Meetup at the corner of Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn at 11 a.m. on August 5, 2012. The L train serves a station at Bushwick Avenue and Grand Street, and the Q54 and Q59 bus lines stop nearby as well. Check as ongoing weekend construction often causes delays and interruptions. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your vehicle in the vicinity of the Clinton Diner in Maspeth, Queens or near the start of the walk at Grand St. and Morgan Avenue (you can pick up the bus to Brooklyn nearby the Clinton Diner).

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic as we move through a virtual urban desert. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended.

Clinton Diner Menu:

  • Cheese burger deluxe
  • Grilled chicken over garden salad
  • Turkey BLT triple decker sandwich with fries
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce or butter
  • Greek salad medium
  • Greek Salad wrap with French fries
  • Can of soda or 16oz bottle of Poland Spring

for August 5th tickets, click here for the Newtown Creek Alliance ticketing page

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