Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11: A Moment of Reflection and Upcoming Bike Events

A moment of silence for the fallen people in the World Trade Center disaster eight years ago. With their memory, it is a time to reflect how far as a world, a nation, and a city, we have traveled from nature.

Airplanes used as weapons of destruction: a notion so twisted. But it also reminds us that airplanes, cars, trucks--all are man-made elements that are far stronger than the human body.

As much as machines have made travel and commerce easier, they can destroy human beings in a split second, and they do so every day. In simple strikes, or long-term through cancer, and other diseases to humans and animals.  The damages to the environment are incalculable.

With the background of the relentless and sad reading of names of those who perished on 9/11, and the relentless rain, this should be a day of reflection on how we as cyclists, and human beings, can help make the world a better place.

And so this weekend good people are putting reflection into words, and action.

For one, Transportation Alternatives is outdoing itself by hosting an extravagant four days of events dedicated to cycling in New York.

The apogee of the four days of events is the TA NYC Century on Sunday, September 13, which allows bike riders to ride various distances, from one to all five boroughs of New York City. The longest distance, about 100 miles, takes riders to Staten Island over the Verrazzano Bridge and then back to Manhattan by the Staten Island ferry. You can register the day of the event for $75 by showing up at 7 am at the Harlem Meer in Central Park on 110th Street. Download this brochure for more info.

Leading out the weekend today is a symposium being held all day today Friday, September 11, until 5 pm at Cooper Union Center for Architecture. The event called Global Trends in Sustainable Mobility is sold out, but you can add yourself to the waiting list or just show up and see if you can get in--it's raining, some people may not show.

The event will host city planners, mayors, and others knowledgeable in bike planning.

Among them in the morning will be presentations by Frans Timmermans (Minister of European Affairs, The Netherlands), Enrique Peñalosa (Former Mayor of Bogotà, Colombia), and several others.

In the afternoon, there will be workshops with Pieter de Haan (Institute for Shared Space), Herman Gelissen (OV FIETS), and many others including Paul Steely White, head of TA

On Saturday, Sept 12, TA and Amsterdam's Vélo Mondial will be hosting the New Amsterdam Bike Slam at Cielo, 18 Little West 12th St, 10:00 pm - 4:00 am. It will be a mix of bike planning presentations, poetry and live displays of how to improve cycling in downtown Manhattan (New Amsterdam).

If you caught the Channel 13 piece on New Amsterdam last night you will understand how important historically, socially and architecturally lower Manhattan is, and why these presentations are so on cue.  The competition is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's arrival on the land that would become New Amsterdam, and eventually New York City.

Making the presentations will be members of the New Amsterdam Slam teams who were asked to come up with the best cycling designs for downtown Manhattan--the challenge was to make it as good as Amsterdam, Netherlands, and their presentations will be judged at the Bike Slam on Saturday night.

The winning team will be decided by a jury including Renaud Dutreil, Chairman of Louis Vuitton - Moet Hennessy (LVMH) and Alexandros Washburn, Director of Urban Design the City of New York. 

If you read the NY Times yesterday, you will have caught the article "Whose Bike are you Wearing," where Renaud Dutreil was pictured riding to work on his Gazelle Dutch bike, and the CEO of Fendi Michael Burke was quoted talking about the Fendi bike adorned with fur and leather, "It harkens back to everything Fendi was at the beginning.'

The slam will be followed by a late night dance party at the Meatpacking District club, with DJ John Julius Knight.  Tickets for the event range from $10 (TA members) to $30 (get a membership and get in at the same time).

Also this weekend will be the New York Bike Jumble, being held on the Lower East Side between Aves. B and C and 4th Street on Sunday, Sept. 13, from 10 am to 4 pm . This is a big flea market with lots of cool bikes, paintings, postcards, accessories and bike jerseys. Hotvelociti will be there as well as the bike painter, Taliah Lampert, and several other bike suppliers like Recycle A Bicycle. These are pics from the jumble held in Brooklyn this summer.

Boy have things changed since the old days. When I was a kid, this area was full of destroyed buildings--they looked a bit like post 9/11 or post Dresden. Crime was rampant, drugs were exchanged with impunity and poverty was implicit.  Now we have Bike Jumbles and $3,300 a month apartments (are they crazy?) Okay, to be fair, the Bike Jumble is much more in keeping with the aura and history of the Lower East Side!

And the great ambiance is still there, along with the Polish kielbasa and cake store on 7th Street and Avenue A, the cute little side streets lined with interesting shops, and the great nightlife.

Hoping this weekend events will help cheer some of you, and perhaps motivate you to not only enjoy yourself, but help make the world a better place while you do.


Rica said...

Did you end up riding the NYC Bike Tour?

Jen Benepe said...

No, i didn't...But I did do it the year previous. Did you go?