- Last Updated: 10:32 AM, July 15, 2012
- Posted: 12:55 AM, July 15, 2012
What do crowded street fairs and empty bike lanes have in common?
Both evince an appalling ignorance of what our streets are really about.
Despite the handful of citizens who claim one fair or another is “different” because it includes a few local fruit-sellers, 99 percent of them recycle the same cheap goods and fast food under the same blue tarps schlepped from block to block.
City Hall’s refusal to crack down on the racket can only be blamed on a mayor who’s merely 100 percent out of touch with the needs of pedestrians and drivers alike.
Why does Michael Bloomberg let them thrive, even as they inconvenience residents, hurt legitimate businesses and make it excruciating to get around even by mass transit? (Buses, which are rerouted like captured enemy tanks, are public transportation.)
Enabling fraudulently “charitable” fairs where hucksters peddle tube socks and slimy sausage is of a piece with other boomeranging brainstorms to make the town more fun for people on foot and on two wheels, and less welcoming to drivers and their passengers.
Bloomberg’s heart quickens to the notion that the city’s unparalleled street life needs enhancing.
He can’t grasp that every street fair is as much a nuisance to pedestrians as it is to drivers. They stifle real life in the asphalt jungle, rich with color and unexpected incident, as effectively as would building a chain-link fence around the blocks and declaring them off-limits.
Our streets and sidewalks are legendary for their energy — a barely controlled frenzy of motion in varying degrees of purposefulness. We walk fast even when we’re walking just for pleasure.
But how would Bloomberg know? Except for carefully staged photo-ops and in parades, Bloomberg rarely walks anywhere. He rides the No. 6 train to work. He uses a limo to get around town and pilots his own Agusta SPA A109S helicopter to flee the pressed-concrete jungle.
Bloomberg should wear out a fraction of walking shoes that some of us do. I typically stroll over a mile-plus every weekday and three miles a day on weekends, despite burning through MetroCards and owning a car. (Cuozzo-hating bloggers, take heed: The vehicle in question, a 1996 Toyota Camry, just recently broke the 25,000-mile threshold.)
Let him experience the outdoors as the rest of us do. He might learn that the biggest fraud perpetrated by the fairs is on New Yorkers who know better than City Hall what makes our streets the envy of the world.