Saturday, December 12, 2009
Two hipsters painted DIY bike lanes on the Hasidic-controlled stretch of Bedford Avenue between Flushing and Division avenues, where a city-installed bike lane was recently removed. According to posts on Gothamist and The Huffington Post, local Hasids asked the city to remove the bike lanes because they posed a "safety and religious hazard," and the Bloomberg administration, fearing retribution from an important constituency during an election, complied, claiming that the operation was "part of ongoing bike network adjustments in the area."
Communities have protested bike lanes for safety reasons before, but, so far as we know, this is the first instance of a community citing a "religious hazard." The source of this hazard? Hasids have been disturbed by “hotties” who traverse their neighborhood on bikes in “shorts and skirts.” Hotties in shorts and skirts may violate the community's dress code, but in case anyone forgot, in New York City, streets are part of the public realm. Unlike in say, a gated community, streets in the city are the jurisdiction of the city, not the community. By catering to this ridiculous criticism, the city is setting up a frightening precedent indeed.