By Aaron Short
The Brooklyn Paper
January 6th, 2011
The beloved bike messenger and cycling shop owner, who has been held in a deplorable immigration detention center in New Jersey for 10 weeks stemming from a decade-old, out-of-state theft case, was released early this morning after a New York immigration judge threw out the criminal case.
â€œHe has been released,â€ said Airaldiâ€™s attorney Stan Weber. â€œThe judge has terminated his case and his immigration troubles have ended. Heâ€™s home.â€
The decision marks the end of a turbulent few months for the 28-year-old former bike messenger, who was detained by Immigration National Services after a routine court appearance in October and faced deportation to Uruguay, where he was born.
Reporter John Nova Lomax spent time investigating the life of some old school messengers and learned there is some animosity between real couriers and those who just dress the part.
Don’t Kill the Messengers
By John Nova Lomax
Houston Press, January 5, 2011
Back in the good old days for bike messengers, every weekday
at four o’clock, the front steps of the Harris County Civil Courthouse were the
gathering spot for a happy hour for that pierced, tattooed, hedonistic horde.
Those days are as gone now as earnest talk of Monica
Lewinsky’s stained dress and jubilation over the Dome derring-do of the Killer
Bs. Today, Old Man Tim Bleakie â€” at 55, his nickname is not ironic â€” is one of
the last messengers riding. As he locks his snow-white Italian Cinelli
SuperCorsa to one of the racks out front, he remembers the days gone by fondly.
“The ’90s, oh, the ’90s, you were at the height of the
implant case, and there were no electronic filings or late filings,” he
says. “Everything had to be done by five o’clock. Four o’clock was
basically social hour at the courthouse. Attorneys would hate having to come in
there then because they would be around a bunch of sweaty bike messengers
talking about partyin’ tonight, partyin’ last night, or partyin’ next
Here are some good talking points for the holiday table for New Yorkers, especially if you are a biker and family and friends want to challenge you about the new 250 miles of bike lanes that have been installed. The New York Times has brought together five writers and advocates for livable streets who bring up excellent points about bike lanes and weather they are working or not here in NYC.
As part of the Time’s section, “Room for Debate,” first we hear from Alex Marshall who is a columnist for Governing Magazine, and author of the book: “How Cities Work.” He offers specifics of what the city can do to get more cyclists on the streets and make better relationships with motorists including eliminating one-way roads such as Kent Ave and enforcing traffic laws for drivers.
Then there is Felix Salmon, a finance writer for Reuters who recently wrote a few articles on the realities of biking in NYC. His stance is basically that were all just impatient and shouldn’t really expect the city to become Copenhagen overnight.
Read his side of the debate here.
Next at bat is Robert Sullivan who is a contributing editor for Vouge writer of the environmentally conscious blog, The Thoreau you don’t Know He also brought us a socially acceptable way to ride on the sidewalk, the schluff. He cracked some jokes about cyclists, taking the bike haters stance for the sake of comedy and then went on to advocate for increased ticketing of riders who break the law.
Next is Sam Staley, the director of urban and land use policy at Reason Foundation and the co-author of â€œMobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive 21st Century.â€
He is hopeful that the controversy about bike lanes will stir up necessary debate on the practical ways to make NYC more livable. Read what he has to say here.
And finally there is Caroline Samponaro, the director of bicycle advocacy for Transportation Alternatives. She seems to have plenty of statistics on the increase of cycling due to bike lanes (maybe she can lend them to the DOT) and gives positive arguments for the lanes.
I agree with many of the points these writers and advocates bring to light. Mainly, I believe our planet is in crisis and regardless of whether you are an inconvenienced driver or a hard core year round riding bike nut, we are all in this together. It’s very interesting and at the same time frightening to watch how the debate on bike lanes has highlighted just how deep the car culture runs into our mentalities, to the point were people are willing to argue reckless driving, pollution, safety and public health vs less congestion, cleaner air and a better way of life. Sure we all bitched at the smoking ban at first and now, isn’t it nicer to drink your brains out in a bar? Let’s work for a safer, healthier and cleaner city for 2011.
Please feel free to submit your comments on points raised by these people and issues about bike lanes in general.
Dmitry Gudkov loves bikes and taking photographs.
Recently he’s been taking photos of local bikers and writing profiles on them, like Willie (shown above) who’s been living in the Bronx for over 30 years.
26 year old Angela Burke was killed in Portland Oregon last week by a drunk driver while walking her bicycle. Here is a report from Portland’s famous bike blogger Jonathan Maus of Bikeportland.org as he investigated who Angela was as a person and about this tragic loss to our community. Who was Angela Burke? Piecing together a picture of who 26-year old Angela Burke was has been difficult. Now I know why.
Today I got a call from her mom, Athena Burke. Ms. Burke, fighting back tears throughout our conversation, said her daughter had just moved to Portland a month or so ago and that she “was lonely and hadn’t found her people yet.” Given what I know about Angela now, I feel like it would have been just a matter of time until some of us would have eventually become her “people.”
Thursday, December 16th, the â€œLove Your Laneâ€ cyclist clowns from the environmental organization Timeâ€™s Up! came to Brooklyn Borough Hall dressed in holiday- and festive-colored costumes. The clowns were ready to recruit. After Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitzâ€™ clownish behavior last week at the well attended bike lane oversight hearing, the clowns hoped to invite Markowitz to join their circus. After all, his rendition of â€œMy Favorite Thingsâ€ to the City Councilâ€™s Transportation Committee hearing on NYC Bike Policy, chalk full of anti-bike lane misinformation, made him an ideal candidate.
The â€œLove Your Lanesâ€ clowns were also interested in adding a verse to the childhood anthem, â€œMy Favorite Thingsâ€:
When the car honks,
and trucks double park,
when we’re run off the bike lane
I simply think of Prospect Park’s designated bike lane
And then I don’t feel so bad.