Friday, September 30, 2005

the deviant thrill of the scatter

Critical Mass was lots of fun tonight...sort of. Yes there were arrests. 20-40 people is the estimate. The multiple meet up spots worked good. 150 people were at Union Square, 30 people in Washington Square and about 20 in Tompkins. The group at Washington Square was left alone and played a game of "Find the other rides," which made for a leisuely stroll reminiscent of the good ol days when critical mass wasn't considered a terroist threat. We linked up with the main ride going up Lafayette street. After some cheering our crys of joy were quickly drowned out by the sounds of a siren. An ambulance cruised up the street and the riders pulled to the side only to observe the rushed ambulance stop at Starbucks. The driver must have had a Latte attack, which proves the point that the police are willing to use emergency vehicle and fire trucks to prove we are a dangerous traffic menace. It is also important to note, we pulled over quickly. The ride got info to aviod 14th street so we stayed downtown and took a piece of the West Side Highway for old time sakes. Then we heard the police found us and sure enough showed up at Bleeker with a squadron of scooters and police vans. A few more arrests were made. Using technology helped a lot but there were still arrests. Having multiple meet up spots worked well and people were real good about communicating information to the front and back of the ride. We still kicked ass. Still we ride. Next ride is Oct 28th which will no doubt be Halloween themed dress up ride. Support Brooklyn Critical Mass and keep riding.

More updates to follow. Please send me pictures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

How attend Critical Mass out of town

First, make sure someone has put it on some sort of events the one last weekend in Washington DC, on the Friday before the HUGE anti-war march. Yes, critical mass does not need to be only on the last Friday of every month.Then get together with a bunch of friends and load all your bikes in a pickup truck or minivan.This is a great way to get more people to go out of town.Then find some cheap accomodations near the action. Hotels can be a cheap way to go, especially if you split up the rooms and some places are even bike friendly.Then get to the rally spot for the start of the ride.Sometimes the cops will leave you alone so its best to ride on into the night with your new found friends.Awesome.
Thanks to Jamie for the pictures.

For those riding in NYC September Critical Mass...

The NYC critical mass is this Friday, 9.30.05. There is large encouragement to use the 4 meeting spots. Choose your own adventure. Goto: Washington Square Park, Tompkins Sqaure Park, Union Square Park (Both North and South Sides) and Madison Park (23rd and Broadway) 7:00pm

Here is a little speech on the importance of these spots:

"Last month the NYPD, after what appeared to be a backing off period,
resumed their strategy of attacking Critical Mass with overwhelming
force, right at the start of the ride. This is what they were doing
for the 9 or so months since the RNC ride: the ride leaves the park
and they pounce, throwing up nets, cornering riders, stealing bikes...
you know the drill. In response to this (because we were tired of
being such obvious and easy targets) people started to meet up in
various locations other than Union Square. This took some effort and
some coordination, but it did seem to have an effect. It certainly
made it more difficult for the cops to police the ride. Whether it
was this or some other reasons, the NYPD did back off the ride,
considerably. So much so that Union Square once again seemed safe,
and the multiple meetup strategy was sort of abandoned (not entirely,
but mostly). And now they are hammering at the ride again, pouncing
on Union Square riders almost as soon as they leave the park.

So we are revitalizing the decentralizing. Putting the kink back in
the hose, or something like that. This month there will be people
starting out from Madison Sq. Park, Tompkins Sq. Park, Washington Sq.
Park, and Union Square. You and your friends can also start from
wherever the fuck you please of course, but there will for sure be
folks at those locations, and, at least in those locations there will
be folks in constant communication with riders from all the other
start-ups. Then we get to play a game of "find your friends" in the
streets of Manhattan. It's fun, actually, and even if you never find
the other rides, you are likely to have a less cop-heavy ride, and
there is the added bonus of just making all of this more of a pain in
the ass for the assholes.

So, that's the announcement: show up somewhere ELSE at 7:00pm, and be
prepared to RIDE.

The other part of this, is that the community of riders who take part
in CM need to have a way to discuss tactics, and to inform new riders
about some of what CM riders have figured out thus far after years of
doing it, things such as:

** If there's, like, two cars up at the front and we have 500 riders
behind them: Let the fucking cars go. Blocking them in the middle of
the street blocks OTHER RIDERS. It's stupid.

**SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. If you find yourself in the front of the ride,
don't get so excited (and yes, it is exciting, we know, and we all
adore you for your exuberance, but shit...) that you ditch the slower
riders. Yes you are an individual, but CM is at heart a collective
experience. You are a part of a larger body, and ripping the head
from the torso is painful, and leaves both body parts vulnerable.

**Just cause you're at the front doesn't mean that you ought to be
"leading" the ride. And, inversely, just cause some jackass is at the
front doesn't mean you all have to follow them. Check them out. Slow
down and make some smart decisions

** If you see an undercover, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. OUT them. This
means yelliing to the other riders. This means riding right alongside
them and eavesdropping. It does not mean whispering the information
to the 4 or 5 riders in your immediate vicinity.


We would like to continue a discussion about Critical Mass and ride tactics so feel free to post comments here on this blog.

See you in the streets Friday.

Monday, September 26, 2005

While activists use non-violence...

SUV drivers commit to extreme violence.

This came off dc indymedia

World Bank Disrupted, SUV Strikes Protestor
Joe Sacco
Date Created
25 Sep 2005
More details...
Joe Sacco, while working to prevent delegates from attending the World Bank meeting on Sunday, was nearly killed when a motorist drove at speeds over 45 mph with the protester on the hood of the SUV. Sacco was blocking one of four intersections surrounding the Mayflower Hotel- where many important delegates of the World Bank meetings were staying.
At approximately 4:45AM Sunday, September 25, 2005, a collective of approximately 100 activists from around the nation surrounded the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Multiple affinity groups were able to effectively communicate in order to delay many delegates from easily being transported to the World Bank meeting.

Joe Sacco, of Las Vegas, was standing in the crosswalk at approximately 6:15AM at 17th St. and L when a grey/silver SUV (Washington D.C. plate DW7274) approached the intersection. The motorist came to a full stop about 4 feet away from Sacco. The driver then accelerated and proceeded to hit the activist. Sacco flipped up onto the hood of the vehicle in an attempt to prevent being pulled under and run-over.

The driver, seemingly a private citizen, then drove at high speeds 8 blocks to 9th St. and L. Sacco screamed and pleaded for safety while gripping the windshield wipers for dear life. The man finally came to a stop and let Sacco off the vehicle.

Street medics on the scene comforted Sacco as he was in a state of shock. Legal observers caught the incident on video and several people reported the license plate number to legal aid. Sacco is going to pursue criminal charges and a civil case. He will be speaking with a lawyer soon. And, he plans to be seen at a local hospital for neck, back and shoulder pains.

Due to the blocked intersections, delegates were escorted on foot by police down the streets to shuttles and limos. The activists also walked along their sides exposing the truth to them- how the World Bank and its economic polices plunder resources, devastate ecosystems and exploit disempowered workers.

The direct action was non-violent and decentralized, yet the swarming clusters of affinity groups successfully held the intersections for about 4 hours directly impacting the September 25th World Bank Meeting.

We've got momentum

Cindy Sheehan got arrested in Washington DC today at the pinnacle of her anti-war tour. She was willing to put herself on the frontlines of a growing anti-war movement and take that next step of direct action. Sheehan's arrest The Neo-cons in Washington, who are more than willing to sacrifice our sons and daughters to fill their rich coffers and tell the world it's about, "fighting terrorism, seem to have no exit strategy for Iraq and no idea what to do about one pissed off Mom. The veterans of Vietnam were crucial in stopping the war, maybe now it will be the Mom's. Seems that Carl Rove and the spin makes are more concerned with figuring out how to make their puppet moron George W. Bush look good after letting the nations poor starve in New Orleans. This is how our government cares for people. Way to go Cindy! Keep it up. The next big action against the war is November 2nd. Being spearheaded by the world can't wait On that first Wednesday of October, don't go to work, walk out of class, make noise and drive out George W. Bush from office before he gets us all killed. Times Up was in DC for this past anti-war march. Here are a few photos.Bikes at the Saturday MarchCritical Cop Mass. DC is an interesting place to demonstrate. They have 7 divisions of bicycle cops. The parks department wears riot gear, and of course you have the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, Metro Police, Special Ops, and just about every state, federal and local law enforcement you could imagine. It's good to know we have lots of security on hand, encase some crazy bike riders try to raise up their bikes or something. Thanks to Time's up for the pictures.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Huge Rally and March in DC, against the war

This weekend there was a massive demonstration against the on-going oil profiteering of Bush and Cheney otherwise known as the Iraq war. Friday, Sept. 23rd was a a critical mass bike ride of 150 or so brave souls, through the streets of DC. No arrests. Saturday was a giant march and rally. This ended with a great energetic show featuring, the coup, Steve Earl, Thievery Corporation and Le Tigre. Awesome...just came from it and Le Tigre rocked the house. More details to come...nighty night.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Burning Man 2005 by bicycle

Burning Man 2005.
Although it is expensive, especially for East Coast people, Burning Man is an amazing art event that everyone should try to go to at least once in their life. Burning Man It is also an amazing place to have a bicycle. Here are just a few images of Bikes at Burning Man from flickr

Car free day

So today is car free day. I'm sure we will all be walking, biking and finding otherways of getting around? Right? Not likely. Conservation is not in the lexicon of consumer driven Americans, who would be more happy to have world plenty of Hummers day. At least think about it public transportation.

Thanks to antleredlife for pointing out the Newsday article on bump removal on Williamsburg bridge. She posted the article on her blog.
China celebrates world car free day
"Volunteers in big Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, are calling on drivers not to use their private vehicles on World Car Free Day, which falls on Thursday.

More than 500 people in Shanghai chose to ride bicycles to their workplaces. Similar scenes were also seen in Shenzhen, an economic powerhouse in southern China, China Youth Daily reports Thursday.

Urbanites in 35 French cities initiated the environment-friendly endeavor in 1998, which was echoed by many European cities in following years.

The annual economic losses led by traffic jams in Beijing is estimated at 6 billion yuan (741 million US dollars), the paper quoted Mao Yushi, a well-known Chinese economist, as saying.

Statistics show, Beijing has 2.41 million motor vehicles, and the rank is enlarged by 1000 with each passing day.

Song Xi, a Beijing resident who is active in environmental protection, said his promotion of no-vehicle day is not against the use of private vehicles, but helps arouse people's awareness on environmental protection."

That's great cause according to the World Health Organization, in a study of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, China has 16 of them. Yikes. For a lengthy read check out this article in the economist

Meanwhile, everyones favorite leader...Hugo Chavez of Venezuela gave his first interview on American soil to democracy now's Amy Goodman. Now, I'm sure I will be called some sort of Castro lover with all the demonizing of this world leader...but there is truth in what he says. I don't love Venezuelian leader Hugo Chavez, but it is refreshing to hear someone in charge of our crude oil speaking truth about our consumption. Venezuela has become America's leading foreign source of crude oil which is why the media tries to tell us all to be affraid, the US tried to remove him with a coup, and Pat Robertson thought it would be best if we just assasinated him. Here is a little of what he said on the popular radio show, "Democracy Now"

"PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ: The imperialist government of Mr. Bush planned. What is the U.S. government looking for? And the elite governing this country? They're looking for oil. This is part of the crisis that is looming in the horizon. You should know that the U.S., I already said this, 5% of the world population lives in this country and you consume 25% of the energy. That this consumption is partially rational, I am convinced that the U.S. people will wake up to the reality of things. Yesterday morning, we were coming from the airport for instance, it was the traffic jam time, it was very packed in the highway coming from the airport here. I talked to the people in my car, looked outside, looked at the cars surrounding us. Out of a hundred cars, ninety-nine were occupied by a single person, the driver only. Cars occupying the highways, and burning fuel, how many gallons of fuel were burned yesterday morning, polluting the environment? That's the extreme of individualism. And public transportation, we don’t see large buses coming from the airport here. So this is pure individualism, this is capitalism.

This planet cannot stand this model any longer. I think developed countries-- so-called developed countries should reflect upon the way of living and the waste of energy. And the government knows this. The big trans-nationals know this. The U.S. only has 20 billion barrels of oil in reserve. It seems as though there is no more oil around. Venezuela has 300 billion barrels of oil in reserves. Iraq has like 150 billion barrels of oil. Iran, close to 300 billion barrels of reserve. Oil for 200 years of course. Now, it is clear that the U.S. government wants that oil. That's why they planned, first they tried to get the Venezuelan oil and, of course the coup, they staged against us. That was an oil-motivated coup. They want to have the control over Venezuelan oil before going for the Iraq, for Iraq’s oil. "

Monday, September 19, 2005

Harassment of Dissent Continues in NYC

If you ride a bike in this city you can expect harassment by the NYPD beyond just those attending such things as critical mass. If you are outspoken against the occupation of Iraq you can expect even more harassment, and it seems, if you try to help those outspoken against the occupation, you can get your property stolen.

Cindy Sheehan, of Gold Star Families for Peace who lost her son in Iraq, has been speaking out against the war and demanding George W. Bush bring the troops home. Cindy made a name for herself by camping out in Crawford Texas with other Mother's with killed offspring, to urge the president to come up with timetables and address what is slowly becoming a "no-end-in-site" operation. The president and his cabinet were far too busy fishing, biking and napping to be bothered by such inconveniences as to have to talk to a couple of grief stricken Mother's directly. While ignoring Sheehan's complaints and the entire poor population of Mississippi and New Orleans during the largest natural disaster in America's history, Cindy has vowed to keep her fight going and is now on tour making her way to Washington DC for an anti-war rally on the 24th of September. Cindy stopped in New York City to a packed house in Brooklyn last Sunday. Today she was in Union Square, where a makeshift tribute to Cindy's Camp Casey was established until police tore it down last week. Cindy was speaking on the Southside steps which has become a focal spot for demonstrations and harassment by the NYPD. Around 2:45pm, the police moved in on Cindy and stole the sound system lent by the environmental group, Time's Up which has constantly been attacked for their bicycle actions for more than a year now.

The sound system has been used by the bike group, on the last Friday of every month in what is being called "Still We Speak." This is a permitted rally, which the city allows amplified sound. The police are constantly demanding the group get permits and the organizers have quickly realized just how difficult this can be as the city does everything in their power to delay the process and thus make it extremely difficult for politically motivated groups to advertise in advance, their speak-outs.

The estimated value of the stolen equipment is as follows:

$50 microphone
17 cable
65 inverter
100 battery
100 amp
50 cents worth of TIMES UP! stickers

total value $332.50

we've been told there are lawyers working on recovering the property which Time's up says they need for the next critical mass speak-out at the end of this month.

There was also one arrest.

Cindy Sheehan's people say this is the first time they've been harassed to this extent on their tour. Welcome to the Big Apple.
Free Speech...costs about $400.00, not to mention legal fees, time and effort.

Wake up drivers!! We are not targets.

So let us not forget that while we make slow victories like getting the D.O.T. to reduce the expansion joint covers on the Willy B. Bridge, we are still being needlessly killed in the streets for daring to ride our bikes. Here is another victim of a city which refuses to create a safe infastructure for bikes.

Article from 9/17/05 Newsday

Grandmother killed by bus in hit-and-run
David Lepeska and Wil Cruz
Staff Writers
September 17th, 2005

A Manhattan grandmother was struck and killed Friday by a charter bus on the Lower East Side, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run, police said. Jen Shao, 65, was riding her bike off the curb of Gouverneur Lane yesterday about 9:40 a.m. when she tried to turn on Water Street. The bus, traveling north on Water -- a narrow, two-way street with no bike lane -- clipped her, police said. "I saw the woman right after the accident," said Abdul Nannan, 43, who owns a fruit stand about 20 feet from the accident. "She was laying there quietly; there was no blood." "It was almost like she was asleep," he added. Shao was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Police last night were trying to track the bus in question, but had little leads. No arrests have been made. A sign on a drop box at Water Street urged witnesses to call 718-217-3529 with information about the accident. Neighbors, meanwhile, said Shao moved into her apartment on Catherine Slip in the Alfred E. Smith housing projects about a year ago. She lived there with her adult daughter and two grandchildren, ages 13 and 2. Yvette Miranda, 46, a captain of a tenant patrol in the housing complex, and other residents said Shao could be seen riding her bicycle every day.
"She always rode her bike in the morning," Miranda said. "But where she was going, I don't know. "She was very quiet," she added. "But she always said hello to me."

Also in nytimes article

Metro Briefing


MANHATTAN: TOUR BUS KILLS CYCLIST A Chinatown souvenir-shop owner was struck and killed by a tour bus as she rode her bicycle in downtown Manhattan at 9:45 yesterday morning on her way to renew her vendor's license, her daughter and the police said. The bus left the scene of the accident, the intersection of Water Street and Gouverneur Lane, the police said. They said the driver might not have been aware of striking Jen Shao, 65, who owned a shop on Mott Street. Investigators said that they were still searching for the bus and its driver last night. An investigator said that after the collision, witnesses reported seeing Ms. Shao fall under the rear wheels of the bus. The victim rode her blue bicycle often, according to her daughter, Cong Cong Hu, in part because cycling was easier for her than walking. Kareem Fahim (NYT)

G8 report back and Screening, Tomorrow!

Bad Ass Biker has been doing an excellent job of putting together a great line up of videos which are screened at the space on Thursdays. Just one of the many ways Time's Up expands its cultural horizons to more than just mixing it up in the streets on bikes. Props to him and those that organize the screenings. And what does it cost you the public? Nothing. Free Free Free. Although donations to Time's Up which is being sued by the city for daring to exist would be greatly appreciated.

Here is a screening Tomorrow...Tuesday.

G8 2005 Screening and Reportback
Tuesday, September 20 at 8PM
49 E. Houston St, NYC, NY

On September 20th at 8:00 PM, there will be a screening of NYC Indymedia footage from the 2005 G8 protests at the Time's Up! space at 49 E. Houston St. The screening will be followed by a reportback from individuals who attended the protests and an update on actions planned for the September 24th protests in Washington, DC.

During July of 2005, the G8 (Group of Eight, most industrialized nations) summit was held at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. Thousands of protestors from around the world showed up to disrupt the summit. Actions ranged from a gigantic march organized by a coalition called Make Poverty History (the largest march in Scottish History) to roaming blockades organized by the Dissent! Network, a network of international anti-authoritarian groups.

US activists who went to join in with international activists will discuss the successes and failures of the protests. There will also be a discussion of if similar tactics should or should not be employed at demonstrations in the United States. Following the screening and discussion, there will be an update on plans that are developing for the upcoming September 24th protest in Washington, DC.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

So they are fixing the bumps

So we took another multiple borough trek today showing a friend from out of town our bike-friendly city. We started our journey across the Williamsburg Bridge and sure enough, on the Manhattan side, the down ramp, there was construction going on to fix the bumps. The construction workers were joking with us as we passed by saying, "much better, huh?" They hammered away and waited as cyclists and skaters passed over the bumps. Victory! All we needed was a few accident injuries and a tough fight by transportation alternatives to reduce the size of these ridiculous traffic obstructions. I took a few more pictures and one of the DOT workers said, "no pictures, no pictures!" Why? Are you some famous movie star? You should be proud of the work your doing, making the bridge more accessible for the people who need and use alternative forms of transportation.

Then we rode up the West side bike path to go to the African American parde in Harlem. Folks up there seemed most excited by Al Sharpton holding hands with Mayor hopeful Freddy Ferrer.
It was kind of a weird parade. Not very well attended. People did get very excited when the Hot97 float came by anchored by 2 hummers. Then we rode to the East Side for the Mexican independence parade. Nice Bikes. Lowrider, get a little higher!!Nice Meat!!Then it was time to go back to Brooklyn and we wanted to take the 59th Street bridge. I really hate using 2nd Ave cause of all the traffic. So we went across town over to the FDR and went across a footbridge. There is a path along the East River and then we took the bridge to Randalls Island.This is a really nice ride. Then it was over the Triborough and into Queens. Here we saw the bikes on poles at Socrates Sculture Garden.
Holy shit, that's my bike from 1995! I didn't abandon that, I was just storing it on that pole. Now it's art?

Here is the article in the NYTimes.

article on bike art
Photo of the artists David Shapiro, with the bicycles he found almost beyond redemption.
Photo taken by: Ruby Washington, NYtimes
article written by: Corey Kigannon, September 12, 2005

Where do all the old bicycles go: those twisted, rusted, fragmented remnants of freewheeling happiness that are chained to poles and left for dead on New York City streets?

A group of them, at least, have been given second acts as objets d'art by a New York-based artist who found about 100 bikes on city sidewalks this summer and took them to his own Island of Lost Bicycles in Queens.

In an emancipation crusade that involved cutting through Master locks and Kryptonite chains, the artist, David Shapiro, liberated abandoned bicycles from sidewalk purgatory and turned them into sculptures at the Socrates Sculpture Park, a rugged stretch of grass and trees on the East River in Long Island City.

Actually, the bikes are still captives of signposts. Mr. Shapiro, 41, attached them to poles he sunk into the park's grassy expanse. The show, which he calls "Left for Dead," opened at the sculpture park on Saturday, along with nine other exhibitions by other artists.

Leaning against poles are cheap bicycles mangled like pretzels, and high-performance ones with expensive frames. All were found stripped of most parts. And all had been left for at least two weeks.

Mr. Shapiro attached the bikes to posts that resemble city parking signs, each bearing the location of the bike when it was rescued and the date it was salvaged. He put a shiny aluminum tag on each bike bearing the name of the work of art it had become.

A tortured turquoise bike he removed at 54 Canal Street on July 13 was named Turq. Bumblebee is a mountain bike frame wrapped with bright yellow duct tape that was found at 99 Delancey Street. Roadmaster was found at 58 Canal Street on July 13: a dirty, black, weathered Roadmaster bike bereft of its back wheel and seat. The black Schwinn clipped from 204 South Fourth Street in Williamsburg is so twisted and gnarled that Mr. Shapiro named it "Double Pretzel."

"This one is called Handles," Mr. Shapiro said, running his hands along a shabby black Savoy, its plastic handles still spiffy.

For the exhibit, he separated the bicycles into seven groups based on the neighborhoods where they were found. He collected most of the bikes in Manhattan. The smallest groups are from the East and West Sides of Manhattan. Mr. Shapiro said he found most of the bikes in the East Village and Lower East Side, where they tended to be locked and abandoned near subway station entrances and adorned with hipster graffiti, decals and engravings.

Along Allen Street, he found many bikes that, he said, seemed to have once belonged to food messengers from Chinatown restaurants. Many had duct-taped frames and one still had a pair of chopsticks attached.

Mr. Shapiro says the motivation for his project was his guilt over abandoning his own bicycles on city streets.

"I grew up on the Lower East Side and must have had seven or eight bikes stripped or vandalized, and I always felt badly about leaving them for dead," he said. "So now I'm rescuing other abandoned bikes and bringing them here."

"Bikes like these are considered eyesores, but I began seeing them as memorials," added Mr. Shapiro, who lives in Long Island City. "They're still really carcasses but they're still beautiful objects deserving of dignity. By taking them out of context and memorializing them here, I wanted to give them their dignity back."

Mr. Shapiro said he hoped his more salvageable sculptures would have a third act, as functioning bikes. He plans on donating them to Recycle-a-Bicycle, a group that rebuilds bikes. "I'm leading them to a better pasture and saving them from the landfill," he said.

The process of freeing the bikes was usually not especially difficult, Mr. Shapiro said. Armed with a battery-powered metal grinder, he cut even the strongest locks easily.

"I tried to get city permission," he said. "I called the Sanitation, Transportation and Police Departments, but I just got a bureaucratic runaround and no answers, so I finally said, 'I'm just going to do it.' "

At first, he would carry them home on the subway, but he eventually rented a plain white van and, wearing a blue jumpsuit and Ray Bans favored by state troopers, he seemed rather official cruising the streets looking for bikes, pulling up alongside them and matter of factly removing them.

"A few times, people asked, 'Hey, are you sure the owner doesn't still want it?' " he said. "But I tried to pick bikes that were not likely to ever see the road again, and I always waited two weeks after first seeing them before taking them."

Once, Mr. Shapiro said, a police officer asked him what he was doing. Holding a mangled bike frame, he explained he was making sculptures. The officer did not object, he said. (If such scraps are truly abandoned, according to a police spokesman, it is perfectly legal to take them.)

"I see them as surrogates for New Yorkers themselves," Mr. Shapiro said of the bikes. "They're stripped down and naked and just hanging on and eventually will inevitably all be removed and destroyed."

The locks are also part of the show, all of them welded onto one pole. But maybe Mr. Shapiro should have used them to secure his sculptures.

He pointed to a Schwinn Co-Ed, found in front of 21 Essex Street on July 28 and said, "There was a guy here this morning trying to steal the seat off that one."
more info on the sculpture gaden

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Fixing the BUMPS

So after numerous injury lawsuits and lots of hard work by transportation alternatives the Department of Transportation has come to its senses. They are replacing the obnoxious yellow bumps on the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge. Above is an artists rendition of the expansion joint covers replacement...hmm looks a lot flatter, thank God.
"Today the New York City Department of Transportation announced that it is replacing the 26 dangerous 2-inch high expansion joint covers on the Williamsburg Bridge biking and walking path with a safe alternative. While details are still emerging, it appears that the new replacement covers represent an improvement."
You can read a monthy bulletin at:
transalt Sept. Bulletin
Rumor has it that the work will be done by Dec. 1st, 2005.
Lets hope D.O.T. fixes what should have been dealt with a long time ago..."Who's Bridge? Our Bridge!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Well we didn't win, but we had a good ride.

Norman Siegel had a cool sound bike.
Every once in a while, a group of cyclists can get together and ride their bikes in the streets...and not have it be seen as some terrorist act of protest against oil or the occupation of Iraq. Last night, while other candidates used SUV's and wasted gas at $3.30 a gallon, Public Advocate hopeful Norman Siegel took to a pedicab bicycle and waved to his potential voters.

A few scooter cops watch the action...while most of the police force were at the UN defending Bush who was in town to pretend that he has any idea what the UN even means or does.
The crowd gathers at Union Square South to begin the second ride for Norman of the day, around 6:30pm
We had a good bike ride of about 30 people and handed out flyers to pedestrians, We had the sound bike blaring some tunes and people we pleasantly surprised to see our booming base was not coming out of some Homeboy in a Hummer, plastered on the side with the latest album release from Hot 97.
This was a cool bike made for 2 people to ride side by side.
Norman addresses the crowd.
The police escorted us with three scooters and then realized we were not a threat and left. Of course this had a lot to do with the fact that our lawyer, Norman Siegel was leading the ride but it felt nice to be left alone, much like every critical mass used to be before Bloomberg brought the RNC here in 04. Last night we gauged New Yorkers commitment to defending civil liberties by watching the one guy who wanted to do just that, loose to a good liberal candidate who will continue to do nothing.Fix gears for Norman

Yes, Betsy Gotbaum won the democratic primary as NYC public advocate by 48 percent of the vote. I think this just goes to show you that most New Yorkers haven't got a clue what this position even is let alone how local city government operates. Not to mention that there was low voter turnout, which goes to show, people don't really give a shit. Former head of the New York Civil Liberties Union Norman Siegel was running in opposition. It was his agenda to make the public advocate position a real watchdog institution and put pressure on the mayor when our constitutional rights are severely eroded. This goes beyond merely letter writing to the city when Mayor Bloomberg tries to pass an initiative to limit the number of group who want access to Central Park. Not in order to protect the grass or environment, but to limit free speech and groups the city otherwise feels is too anti-war demonstrations or anti-republican national convention demonstrations or peaceful bike rides, which aren't political at all and have been going on in the city for 10 years without interruption. If New Yorkers had been paying attention, they would notice that in exchange for corporate development and unaffordable housing we are loosing or basic rights of freedom of speech and assembly, which couldn't be more illustrated in the NYPD's attack during the RNC and the entire past year against cyclists and other politically active groups. I'm not just talking about critical mass which, yes, I have a personal bias towards defending because I am a BIG BIKE FAN. I'm talking about anarchist groups who get raided at their fundraisers, I'm talking about closing down entire blocks and sending in battalions of undercover cops with shotguns to fundraisers, I'm talking about denying permits to techno music dance groups that have been having parties in Tompkins square park for over 6 years. This has been a Bush agenda, patriot act agenda of harassment towards anyone who is not with the corporate agenda. Mayor Bloomberg and the police are defending corporations and the critical mass bike ride and other protest is a direct challenge to that power. Norman Siegel would have made an excellent public advocate, a job he was made to do. But New York is asleep, or too busy hording money and dreaming of football stadiums to pay attention to Corporations basically wiping their asses with the US constitution. So we will continue to fight for our civil liberties in court and win and defend the constitution with Norman Siegel on our side and Betsy Gotbaum hiding in her office under the desk doing nothing.

Norman in the pedicab.

Arriving at campaign headquarters, we ate good food, drank beer and watched Norman loose. Sad. Oh well, he's still our lawyer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Mass Bike Ride in support of Norman Siegel

Mass Bike Ride in Support of Norman Siegel

6:30 - Union Square South (Tuesday 9/13)

This is your last chance to support Norman Siegel who has been supporting
you for over 35 years.
Come join us in a celebration ride spreading the word to get out the vote in
support of Norman Siegel for Public Advocate.
Let’s not forget that when most people were debating whether the city was
involved in stealing peoples bicycles, Norman Siegel was collecting the
evidence on video tape and heading to Federal Court to prove that this did
occur. In a lawsuit which he won, he proved the NYPD was illegally seizing
peoples bicycles.
He has constantly been a friend and a true advocate to the people of New
York City.

You have the right to ride your bicycle without a permit.
You have the right to free speech.
You have the right to assemble without a permit.

TIME’S UP! Stop being so complacent- lets hit the streets in support of our
rights and Norman.
Please spread the email and call your friends.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Team Time's Up wins big at Death Race 2005

2 members of team time's up, Jamie and Austin came in Second as a team in yesterday's "alley cat" Death Race 2005.

Jamie was also the first female racer to finish the course.

Congradulations: Team Time's Up. In my opinion, Alley Cats in NYC are fun as hell and more people should be encourged to ride. Great job to Jamie who kicked some serious butt!

Death Race 2005

"Violence, Violence, Violence...that's what America wants." Says the character Junior Bruce in the Roger Corman cult classic Death Race 2000. Well, it was a bloody day at the races as messengers and non-messengers gathered to compete in Deathrace 2005, an alley cat fun ride based loosely on the movie. The ride was hosted by Jason of 4916 a messenger clothing company. Jason all bloody, fake blood.
In this race, you had to enter as a team of 2 with one rider being the navigator as a tribute to the low budget flick of 1975, staring David Caradine and Sylvestor Stalone. Although unlike the film, the object was not to kill people for points which would probably slow down your bike considerably. The ride had 8 checkpoints with physical challenges and triva questions to answer.
riders waiting for the start.
I tried to do my best Junior impression, the obnoxious host of the movie. There is plans in the works to make a short video about this race.
there was a doctor on hand with his nurse copilot.
This messenger from LA was a bit out of his teritory but he picked up a 15 year old kid to show him his way around the city. This was by far the largest age gap of team members. The kid was also the youngest to compete in the alley cat. Turns out his father was a cycle messenger in the 70's and would take him to critical mass when he was 7. The youngest rider. Everyone gathered at the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg bridge, in teams of 2 and in various costumes. Here they were given a t-shirt and a manifest with a list of the checkpoints which they could do in what ever order they saw fit.registrationchecking the mapteam Fans of Frankenstein, hoping that some vigins will sacrifice themselves to them for points.
Team teen wolf...who did well in the race and finished in the top 10. The tall guy didn't slow his teammate down, even though he flew over the hood of a taxi somewhere in midtown. The race took off around 4:30pm and many riders took the car path of the Williamsburg bridge for the fastest possible route into the first check point at 28th and 1st. Ave. Squid, keeping true to the spirit of the film had a female team mate and they leaped out in front pack, up the steep part of the bridge.Squid and Uri
Squid's partner cruisin up 1st Ave.After checkpoints in Manhattan, the racers crossed the 59th bridge and had to answer a triva question at the Long Island City side.Carlos, a team puma racer, was one of the winners overall, despite losing his partner. He completed the ride in about 50 minutes which is pretty damn fast to go from Brooklyn, through Manhattan and back into Queens. The official race results will be posted. It was a good day at the races. No old ladies were killed. In a side note, while checking the internet movie data base on deathrace 2000, it looks like they are in development of a 2006 remake. I know Sly Stalone is available.