Tag Archives: Bloomberg

Free Citi Bikes on the Upper West Side!

Citi Bikes on the Upper West Side! If it was going to happen anywhere it would be here.

Riverside has always been a mystical park. Even as Guilliani and now Bloomberg whitewash the city Riverside resists.

Riverside No Smoking Sign


Riverside Rules

As youths, it was in Riverside where we escaped the confines of prep school to frolic in the animal kingdom, or trade stories with an old man who lived underground while his campfire cracked and licked at painted walls, and it was in Riverside on Christmas eve that Lester, Bat, Marley and I dove into piles of freshly discarded pines – light as haystacks and fragrant like a forest.

These days it is Riverside where the green turf fields turn to sheets of sparkling white – illuminated by the dipping winter sun, and in the summer it is Riverside were behemoth bottom trawling fish spill their guts, and bearded warblers sing of bygone eras.

So of course it would be Riverside where a wily band of nudniks chose to dump their dozen Citi Bikes. Were they stolen?  Has someone figured out how to hack a Citi Bike rack?

But it had to be a group because the nearest station is over a mile away, and to get twelve bikes to 97th – from 59th – that would take a lot of time. Were they somehow lost – at $1,000 per bike -that would be a hefty fine! Or was it a statement “Bring Citi Bikes to the Upper West Side, By Any Means!”.

Materializing after midnight and vanishing before dawn their origins and disappearance remain a Riverside enigma. Though the intent seems clear, these stolen Citi Bikes set free in Riverside Park send a message of dissent to the Bloombergian powers that be.

citi bikes 2

What do Citi Bike and the NFL have in common?

In Color Me Blue Ephron makes  humorous, poignant and cutting observations about how Citi Bank did quite well for themselves in the Citi Bike deal at the expense of New Yorkers aesthetics and tax dollars.

“For $41 million — what Citibank paid to sponsor the program for five years — our city bikes became Citi Bikes. To make certain you don’t forget this fact, a Citi Bike sign hangs in front of the handlebars, Citi Bike is printed twice on the frame, and a Citi Bike billboard drapes the rear wheel on both sides. The font is the familiar Citibank font and the Citibank signature decoration floats over the “t.” There is no way to see a Citi Bike without thinking Citibank. The 6,000 bikes so far rolled out, of a possible 10,000, and their signs are a Day-Glo cobalt blue that you see on banks. Nobody wears this color. Nobody paints his or her apartment this color. This blue is bank blue”.

I won’t summarize or paste the rest here – but if you missed this piece – here it is.

From city views,to neighborhoods like Greenpoint, to attempts to turn public parks into private stadiums, in the Bloomberg era we might ask, “What’s not for sale?”

Don’t worry New Yorkers we aren’t the only ones subsidizing big business, as Greg Easterbrook points out in a recent Atlantic article on the NFL, the subsidization of major businesses like sports franchises is a national pastime.

Ever wonder where your tax dollars went America? (hint, it’s not just health care)

How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers

To Give you a taste: Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

“Last year was a busy one for public giveaways to the National Football League. In Virginia, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, who styles himself as a budget-slashing conservative crusader, took $4 million from taxpayers’ pockets and handed the money to the Washington Redskins, for the team to upgrade a workout facility. Hoping to avoid scrutiny, McDonnell approved the gift while the state legislature was out of session. The Redskins’ owner, Dan Snyder, has a net worth estimated by Forbes at $1 billion. But even billionaires like to receive expensive gifts.

Taxpayers in Hamilton County, Ohio, which includes Cincinnati, were hit with a bill for $26 million in debt service for the stadiums where the NFL’s Bengals and Major League Baseball’s Reds play, plus another $7 million to cover the direct operating costs for the Bengals’ field. Pro-sports subsidies exceeded the $23.6 million that the county cut from health-and-human-services spending in the current two-year budget (and represent a sizable chunk of the $119 million cut from Hamilton County schools). Press materials distributed by the Bengals declare that the team gives back about $1 million annually to Ohio community groups. Sound generous? That’s about 4 percent of the public subsidy the Bengals receive annually from Ohio taxpayers”. 

And this is just the beginning…The article goes on to explain that the NFL is a non-profit and how that happened.

I seriously considered boycotting pro-football,  luckily the Giants and Jets are two of three teams that have paid 3/4’s or more of their stadium capital costs.

At the end of the day, literally, you may find me searching 33rd street for a quicker way home, and scowling in dismay as yet again all the bikes have flown west for the night leaving me to ponder if maybe we could use more bikes?

But seriously, subsidizing millionaires is madness, inequality is bad for everyone – and if you don’t trust me – listen to former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

an empty citi bike rack
But wait – you might say- I see that last bike at the end of the rack! Sadly, it’s always out of order.