Saturday, October 29, 2005

Halloween Critical Mass...Hope we didn't (Bug) you.

Mutant Bugs on chopper bikes were unleashed on the city of New York last night for the annual Halloween Critical Mass. This has always been the most festive fun bike ride in New York City. Past rides have featured thousands of people in costumes with sound systems, tall bikes and all forms of creative energy celebrating our truly unique community. After over a year of police harassment and intimidation, with varied tactics, it has been very hard to predict what the NYPD is going to do about the Critical Mass. Will I get arrested tonight? This is the question in the backs of many of those in attendance. This can effect how willing you are to come to the ride. Well last night people seemed to be back in the action despite several helicopters flying overhead and the usual brigade of scooter cops. There were about 30 people at Washington Square Park, 50 at Tompkins Square, 12 at Madison Park and about 300 combined at both ends of Union Square Park. Bug man.Crap Cook, serving up all the bad news from Fox News.
This was in accordance with the attempt to split up the ride a little and at least be able to get critical mass going. The idea stemmed out of the fact that people weren't even able to get 2 blocks out of Union Square park and thus form critical mass. It sounded like last night the police were around to monitor but the arrest order, for some reason wasn't given. Maybe no one wanted to do the paper work tonight on this long Halloween weekend. I don't enjoy being part of a split up ride. I would much rather have everyone meet together remembering the fun of critical mass on Halloween and how it was great to just sort of congregate in Union Square and peep everyone's costume. But, sometimes you got to mix it up a little bit. The idea of the separate meeting spots is to try and find the other rides. This wasn't so successful last night. The group of 30 I was with spent a long time looking for what we heard was two other groups of 200 who were uptown. I could tell people in my group were confused and moral was getting low as we snaked our way through traffic with a small group that could barely hold 2 lanes. It seemed our only salvation was to find a big group and link up...this is what critical mass is supposed to be all about. Finally around 50th Street and the 3rd Ave we got word that the another big ride was going through Time's Square. The group decided to cut west and intersect. This required a little combination of slow riding and waiting. As we were going down 5th Ave. we were taking up the whole street. We linked up with a crew from Madison Park and it was nice to see new faces even though they were only like 20 people. I hope people realize what is being attempted here and it is not some type of coop by a few individuals to make critical mass boring and lame. Ok so coming down 5th we ran into this agro bus driver who wanted to plow us all down. This wasn't a MTA bus but a private charter bus with seniors form Atlantic City...(not sure about that part) We were trying our best not to block the bus lane and I encouraged people to move to the left. 5th Ave. heads downtown and there are two bus lanes. I could understand the driver's plight, but come on. There is no reason to try and kill people. So at 42nd street we stopped the bus and tried to make peace with him and let him know what we are trying to do and in a sense tell him to..."CHILL THE FUCK OUT." He wasn't havin it and decided to run over someone's bike. What a fucking asshole. I would like to know how that all played out. So we continued down 5th, turned west, started going up 6th, turned left on 39th and then started up Broadway, to intersect with the ride. A couple of undercover followed us to be greeted by 200 people coming out of Time's Square. I told them to call their boss and let em know we were going downtown. So we all rode down Broadway towards Union Square with three groups now unified. There was another group of about 200, which had also gone through Time's Square and were left alone. Here is a picture from Eva from one Time's Square group.
So we got to Union Square which has always been a no no to return to the lion's den and some people yelled out that they saw a row of scooter cops. The whole ride turned around on Union Square East which involved some hoping over the meridian steeplechase style.Team tandem with Ninja Turtle.
After that we all kind of scattered and head to the Time's Up space for their fundraiser and after party. The party was a huge sucess, raised some money, heard the rude mechanical orchestra and best of all did not get raided by the NYPD like last year when they closed off all of Houston Street and had a cop outside the door with a shotgun. Some undercovers did come to the party but they paid their five bucks so they helped out Time's Up.Super heroes at the party...Super 8 and Team Spider Man
Time's Up fundraiser.
Jesse and the Bug
Here are a picture of the undercovers. Notice the thin silver beaded chain around one of their necks...most likely a badge. Thanks for the support guys.

I did find a cell phone on the ride that appears to be a biker. It has a picture of a red fix gear and says Ars Bike Crew when you open up the phone. It is a Sprint Samsung phone with white paint on the leather case. Let me know. I will be trying to call the numbers. I will have this phone at the bike kill today.

Not sure all that went down in London. It looks like that had a big critical mass with no harassment from the Cops.

As far as the $100 dollar entry fee "All about the Benjamin's," Alley Cat race that also happened last night I do not know who won. I did get a report that famed videographer Lucus Brunelle, who is know for strapping cameras to his helmet and documenting alley cats was injured last night in the race. He was not shooting video and was in it to win it. He flipped over the hood of a car and was hospitalized. He is conscious and in stable condition at NYU Medical downtown. I hope Lucus is ok and recovers quickly. Lucus's Video Page

Here is some old news about the ticketing that went on for two days before Critical Mass.

This article comes from AM New York paper. Also they advertised for Critical Mass as part of their Halloween Guide...hmmm isn't that what Time's Up is being sued for?!?!?

Halloween Critical Mass
Union Sq Pk, 7pm, FREE. You gotta bike for your right to party.
But be prepared to be arrested. Meet at E 17th St at Union Sq W

And then p5 again in AM NY. Great quotes from Bill and Kim

Bicyclists say police strictly enforce rules
Bicyclists say police have been heavily ticketing them. (Getty)(Getty)

amNewYork Staff Writer

Bicycle messengers working in midtown yesterday complained bitterly
about what they perceived as an unusually strict police crackdown. "I
was stopped Tuesday morning on Sixth Avenue by a cop who asked for my
I.D.," said cyclist Kim Perfetto. "When I asked why, he told me
because I was riding my bike without a bell." "Do cars get pulled over
just for having a broken horn?" said Perfetto, who was issued a $35
ticket for riding "without a warning device."

In addition to Perfetto, another four cyclists were seen being
ticketed during a short period yesterday morning along Sixth Avenue.
"The level of intimidation we've seen the past few days just
discourages people from riding," said Bill DiPaola, of Time's Up!, a
cycling advocacy group. Police said strict enforcement of the bicycle
code was routine. "We may do it in one area today and another area
tomorrow," said Det. Walter Burns, a police spokesman. Burns stressed
that riders must follow all traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles
and that anyone breaking these rules could be ticketed at any time.
But many riders insisted the heat was definitely turned up. "Word from
cops on the street is that there is heightened enforcement of bikers
going on just this week," said Noah Bidnick of advocacy group
Transportation Alternatives


Blogger Tanya said...

It really sucks what the cops are doing to your CM rides. But its inspiring to hear that so many people turned up regardless. In Toronto we had a really happy Hallowe'en CM since the police are in a labour dispute and working to rule by not issuing traffic tickets :)

4:03 PM  

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