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Ride to Save Community Gardens, and other actions

NYC’s community gardens are in trouble again.

Time’s Up has been on the forefront of saving community gardens in the past from having them be turned over to private development. In 2002, there was a Spitzer Agreement to preserve 500 green spaces (2002 Preservation Agreement) but this is set to expire in September of 2010. More about the details are included in a press release at the end of this posting.

Meanwhile, there has been a call to action to make people aware of the plight of these sacred green spaces in our city. Time’s Up is once again leading the fight.

Here are a number of events to get involved with this week.

Please join us for the events listed below and bring your friends, neighbors, family, co-workers!

1. “Get Your Horse Head On” Prop Making Session for the Paul Revere Ride
July 28th, 6 p.m., (Wednesday) Generation X Garden (4th St between b and c), NYC

2. Paul Revere Ride – The Developers Are Coming! Dress like Paul Revere – colonial style!! Be prepared to dance to save the gardens!
July 29th, 7 p.m. (Thursday)- meet at Tompkin Square Park

3. Save Our Garden Celebration/BBQ (with flag and banner making)
Bring food, friends, family and garden stories to share – prepare for fun!
July 31, starting at 4 p.m., (Saturday) Generation X Community Garden (4th St btwn b and c) NYC

4. Harvest Day Rally at City Hall (in conjunction with other garden groups’ press conference)
August 2nd – 10 or 11 am (Monday) (exact time and location TBA)

5. Proposed Rules Public Hearing/Rally – Let’s rally around the hearing and let them know how we feel about saving our community gardens! Bring instruments and props – be creative!
August 10, 10:30 a.m. rally before 11 am public hearing (Tuesday)
Chelsea Rec center, 430 W. 25th Street, Manhattan

Remember if you want to speak at this Public Hearing, email by August 9th Laura Velle, at Laura.LaVelle@parks.nyc.gov and write, “I intend to make a statement at the August 10th Public Hearing on the Parks and HPD Rules for Community Gardens. Please add my name to the list of speakers.”

Press release
With the new parks and HPD rules (see below), the city has taken a huge step backward. Community gardens in New York have thrived since the 2002 Spitzer Agreement which preserved these precious green spaces (“2002 Preservation Agreement”). Yet, with the Preservation Agreement expiring on September 17, 2010, the city appears to have abandoned its efforts to preserve green spaces. With the new rules, all the gardens may now be legally transferred for development, rather than preserved.

The benefits of gardens are many. “Community gardening is a way to fight the systemic injustice of poverty and other forms of structural oppression. Most of the gardens are in poor areas of the city, with much higher rates of asthma and lower rates of open space equity. From an indigenous/community perspective, gardens offer a way for our community to heal itself and to recover a humanizing sense of itself – its dignity – in an otherwise very hard city,” explained Friends of Brook Park gardener Ray Figueroa. For New Yorkers of all walks of life, the gardens provide much needed green space (particularly in low-income communities of color).

“Don’t destroy our gardens. Don’t destroy our communities,” declared long time Lower East Side activist Paul Bartlett. “Gardens helps us connect with both the earth and our communities, in ways which parking lots, coffee shops, and other urban spaces fail to.”

“Make all existing community gardens permanent for the sake of our children, and our children’s children,” declared Lower East Side Ariane Burgess heeding the call for the city to preserve, not to destroy, their green spaces. “Such spaces promote positive youth development, as well as spaces for community members to come together.”

“Gardens are a place for us to form communities in connection with nature, the foundation of our existence. The more connected we are with nature as a community, the more likely we will become more sustainable in our economic lives, step by step. The more disconnected we are to nature, the more likely we are to destroy the environment that is the foundation of our existence,” Bartlett continued.

“Gardens are amazing spaces to educate students about the environment, environmental research, planting, sustainable agriculture, and urban farming, as well as positive forms of community development and democracy renewal,” explained Benjamin Shepard, a New York college professor and father of two girls. “I bring a group of students to a garden every semester, and they love seeing these unique spaces. My kids love the gardens as a much needed space to play and explore outside of the asphalt of the concrete jungle of New York City.” In this way, gardens function as distinct park and play spaces used by all New Yorkers and tourists.

All gardens have something to contribute. After all, Burgess concludes, “In the future the community gardens are going to play a huge roll in Food Security – many offer opportunities for establishing urban farms.”

“In the midst of a fiscal crisis, the city could only dream of having such unique spaces which help the city so much, yet cost so little,” explained Benjamin Shepard. “Gardens help stabilize communities and reduce crime. They are also places where people of all walks of life come together. They are places of education about the environment and the city, as well as the world ecology. These are precious public spaces, which should not be privatized.”

“This is the hottest summer on record,” explained Lower East Side gardener JK Canepa. “Community gardens help cool Manhattan. If you allow the gardens to be turned into concrete spaces, the city only gets hotter.” After all, gardens promote health and the reduction of heat throughout the five boroughs.

Sharon S., a community gardener in East New York, said he wants to ask the mayor, “What kind of green are you preserving? In Plan 2030, you say you want this to be a green city. Being a green city does not mean catering to developers. To be truly green, Mr. Mayor, we need you to expand green space in every neighborhood, not just the wealthy ones. Community gardens are the only open green spaces that many low income neighborhoods have. Yet you’re replacing the good 2002 Preservation Agreement with rules that will bulldoze gardens one by one.”

“In a time of fiscal crisis when New Yorkers have seen reduction in services and increases in costs across the board, why cut something people love and that costs the city almost nothing?” asked Lower East Side environmental activist Bill DiPaulo.

“Most other cities consider the gardens something to cherish. This is an opportunity for Bloomberg to demonstrate he appreciates green space is a resource for global cooling and community development,” explained Times Up! Director Bill DiPaulo. “Why should the mayor sell this space off to developers when there is such an opportunity to create a different kind of green, more forward leaning New York? Making gardens permanent could be Bloomberg’s legacy.”

In the end, those involved with Times Up! and the garden movement urge the city to reject these rules and makes a final commitment to a green city by making all the gardens permanent once and for all. The group plans to organize to defend these precious spaces using a wide range of means, from legal advocacy to direct action. The group plans to stage a “Paul Revere” Group Bike Ride to the gardens next week to sound the alarm that the gardens are in danger.

Awards

Just wanted to thank a few people.

I did a really impromptu contest and gave away a free bikeblognyc t-shirt to my 1500th follower on twitter.com.

Congratulations to Steve Ferdman of Hell’s kitchen for plugging in at the right time.

Also,

A while back I had a contest to give away sun care products from Kiss my face.

Toby Miller was the winner, instantaneously guessing the questions I posted.

A face you just wanna kiss!

Toby is a film maker who along with his girlfriend, Martine Charnow just completed a short film called Bike Love.
Great job! Enjoy.

Bicycle Paparazzi

Here’s a new segment I’d like to call:

Spotting famous people on bicycles in New York City…

Guess this couple seen pedaling 38th and 6th Ave.


find out at mrpaparazzi.com

then there was:

Justin Timberlake with girlfriend Jessica Biel, taking time out from filming a new NBC Show, Friends With Benefits. Seen on the Hudson River Greenway.

Read more here.

But even more famous, at least to me anyway:

This is Radioman, a New York institution. This guy is on just about every movie set and knows all the productions going on in town. He travels from one film shoot to another on his green rolling rock bicycle. Check out his website: He’s a kook, but he’s our kook.

He was scene here on Brooklyn Bike and Board’s website.

NYC compost needs your help

According to NYCgo.com NYC has 18,696 eating establishments. What it does not have however is a city wide program in which to compost. Therefore, reusable food matter goes where…you guessed it, into the landfill. The folks at New York Compost would like to change that.

I learned about this on Treehugger.com who pointed out that the food recyclers want to get funding for a program to move recyclable food matter from “table to farm.” Oh yeah, and they want to use cargo bicycles to make it a reality.

Here is more on their Kicstarter page:

“Won’t you please help?”

Here is part of their kickstarter campaign pitch that really appeals to me…
This is where we come in. We believe that we have developed a method of organic material pick-up that will surmount all of these obstacles. We want to use low-cost cargo bicycles that would collect food scraps from small to medium sized restaurants, containerize them, and deliver them to farmers who would be in the city for farmer’s markets and CSA drop-offs.

Now I know, one pretty amazing cargo bike company that would be ideal for this.
Larry vs Harry and their super fast Bullitt bike.

Check it out.

Bike lanes, keep coming

I know, there’s a whole lot of emphasis on bike lanes in this town. As if they are some sort of litmus test for gauging weather we can function more like a European city, less dependent on motor vehicle transportation. To the seasoned cyclist who’s been biking in NYC long before we had green painted pathways to aid us, it often seems like a bizarre slap in the face, especially when we are also given the mixed signal that every lane is a bike lane. Weather it helps new cyclists feel comfortable riding or its just something that looks good in a Bloomberg power point presentation, most people can agree they are symbolic of a movement in the right direction, never dreamed possible 10 or even 5 years ago.

In the latest developments…I saw on newamsterdamize.com, that the Flushing Ave. bike lane in Brooklyn has arrived:

More on this from Gothamist.com.

The new bicycle infrastructure is causing angina, with local business even though they were informed from the DOT.
Gothamist has a report on grumblings over the new bike lanes going in on 1st and 2nd Ave, in Manhattan.

Complaints like this:
Hardware store owner Jim Doria has been particularly hard hit. He tells NY1, “My truck has to park away from the curb. Now my employees have to cross through an active bike lane and there’s a possibility of being hit by a bicycle, and there’s cyclists getting hurt. My driver’s getting hurt.” What do those merciless DOT bastards expect his employees to do, look both ways before crossing a street?!”

I’m a little confused here? Your business is being “hard hit” because of the 10 feet extra you have to walk now? The DOT bastards expecting people to look both ways when crossing the street? That’s something you should have learned as a 5 year old. I mean the nerve of these DOT, the next thing you know their going to expect people to wear a seat belt or not stick a fork into a toaster. And a driver complaining about getting hit by cyclist? Aww. Maybe you’ll take few seconds to be aware of other people on the road and how your delivery truck send cyclists to the morgue when you don’t take time to think. I mean lets be realistic here. Do we really have so much bicycle traffic in the bike lane that deliveries are really inconvenienced? What we should really try and figure out, is how to make more deliveries by bicycle.

But what does it matter, according to the NY Post, our streets are under siege with killer cyclists!
( picture by Jamie NYC)

Well until the renegade bikers from hell kill everyone…here is a bit of pro cycling love.

This is not my big beautiful bike lane- David Bryne riding in a piece for the NY Times.

And last year a great PSA with Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, made by Daniel Leeb of cinecycle.

Regardless, we really shouldn’t clog up or streets with motor vehicles or bikes. It gets in the way of people doing important New York City things…like beating the shit out of one another.

Great time at the tweet-up.

I had a great time meeting people at the tweet-up last night. Thanks to @noneck and @brooklynbybike for putting it on. This was basically a meet-up with a group of people who’ve been using twitter to post about things bike related in NYC, using the hashtag #bikenyc. We all sort of geeked out last night and hung out at Adeline, Adeline, who we also have to thank for letting us be there and giving discounts.

We avoided the rain and went next door to the Reade Street Pub for beer and pizza, where we were rather happy about our decision not to ride judging by the rain delay footage from the Yankee game on the big screen.
(photo by noneck of our Meta conversation)


What? I was thirsty…geeks can drink too.

It was great to meet this crew of bike entusiast. If you use twitter, follow along with #bikenyc and you’ll get linked to stories like this just posted on WNYC.

It’s a brief video of some “man on the street” conversations of people responding to the new bike lanes.

The source of the story is here.

I was happy to see my man Matt Levy in the video:

Matt is part of a family who hosts unique tours of NYC. Check him out at Levysuniqueny.com.

Which reminds me, Matt wanted me to post this story from his blog about coming to a cyclists aid. Yes, Matt’s got a blog too and posts some interesting experiences on and off the bike.


Cyclists to the Rescue! by Matt Levy

Aunt Reba was in town from Seattle and I only had one night to see her. This meant a bike ride from my apartment in Greenwood Heights Brooklyn, over the Manhattan Bridge, coast through Chinatown and zoom through the East Village over to Sheridan Square, where Reeb’s East Coast BFF Maxine has an apartment with million-dollar views.

After sliding down the bike ramp into Manhattan and turning north onto Allen street, I came up and passed another cyclist, a cool looking dude wearing a vintage Mets teeshirt and baseball cap, zooming on a powder-blue single speed fixie. I nodded, he nodded, just two cyclists in the city on a warm spring night.

After Delancey street, just north of Sammy’s Roumanian, something caught my eye on the West side of Allen; a taxicab pulled over at an acute angle to the sidewalk, with the driver out of his cab and face to face with yet another cyclist. This cyclist’s bike was flat on the street. The driver looked to be a modern Middle-Eastern man, mid 30s, polyester clubbing shirt and trimmed beard, and the cyclist was white, blue undershirt and curly hair sticking out from under his helmet.

Read the entire piece here.

Looks whats coming to NYC

look what I spied on Mulberry Street between Prince St. and Spring, while riding around with John Campo.

2 bikes stolen. Hate crime!

I think feel that bike theft is actually a Hate Crime and should be dealt with accordingly. Maybe caught bike thieves should have to go door to door and apologize or make it known to neighbors they have moved into the area like Megan’s Law.

First one comes from Natalie Johnston:

Hello,

Someone stole my bike last night (as in within the last few hours) from inside my building! The front door was wide open this morning–kinda creepy. I live in Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy. Please post the following information to your blog.
Thank you so much!
-Natalie

My bike was stolen from inside my building last night! Sad and scary. Please help me recover this bike! It is only a few months old but I looked for a couple years before I found one that I liked as much as this one and I can’t afford to buy another bike.

KHS Flite 250
Black
Men’s frame
Straight handlebars with silver bell
Seat is chained down
Looks pretty new

$100 reward.
Thank you.

any info contact: Natalie Johnston, nj_2332@yahoo.com

Then I just got this one from Craig Richards:

Hi Mike,

My friend had his bike stolen on the evening of 20th July. It was
locked up at 10th and C. I’d be grateful if you could add it to your
list of stolen bike please.

This is his posting on Craigslist.

–Some assmaster stole my custom made, heavy, rusty Bologna bike at 10th
& C last night.
I’ll give anyone who returns it $500 cash, no questions asked.
I’ll also give $1k for the thief’s nads on a stick
Yes way.
Heres a photo (of the bike, not the nads) – http://twitpic.com/27e3a1


It’s a lot rustier now, and it has a black seat, black rubber oray
grips, and riser bars.
It’s been passed on from generation to generation in my family for
almost 3,000 years.
I’d really like to give it to my son some day.
And if you’re the thief, and you’re reading this, please give it back.
I’ll give you the five hundred bucks.
Please.
If you don’t, I will call Dog the Bounty Hunter, Bobba Fett, and Bear
Gryls, and they will have a 3 way, and that 3 way will produce a son,
and that son will be raised by Tito Ortiz, and on his 18th birthday,
he and I will come to your house, and fuck your shit up.
Thank you for your time.

I definitley would not want to meet Tito.

TFL Cycle Hire Scheme

To go along with London’s new super highway for bikes, there is also a bike sharing program.
Here is a nice animated video of the new service.

TFL Cycle Hire Scheme – How It Works from Mummu on Vimeo.

NYPD loves cyclists…NOT

Hard to believe but the NYPD did it again. Another shinning example of the police’s blatant disregard for cyclists in NYC.

You’ve probably already seen this by now but NYPD officer Louis Ramos, was charged with assault, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident after hitting a 61 year old man in the crosswalk in Brooklyn.

From Yournabe.com
An 84th Precinct cop who rammed his police cruiser into a 61-year-old bicyclist as he blew through a red light in DUMBO — then failed to report what happened in the June 14 incident — was arrested on Tuesday.

With very little fanfare, Officer Louis Ramos surrendered at the Gold Street stationhouse, though he was released on his own recognizance after being charged with assault in the third degree, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless driving — all misdemeanors.

Investigators said Ramos struck the senior as he zipped past the corner of Jay and Sands streets.

The 19-year NYPD veteran and his partner, Officer Paris Anderson, were waiting at a red light at the corner when Ramos reportedly flipped on his lights and sirens, pulled into oncoming traffic and sped past several cars before hitting Yu Tong Chan as he pedaled by.

Read the whole story here.

Also covered in Streetsblog.org by reporter Ben Fried.

This leads to my poll of the week:

This latest incident should make the NYPD
have a sensitivity training program towards cyclists
major lawsuit
a hard slap on the wrist
a vacation with Patrick Pogan
nothing, what did the NYPD do wrong?
learn how to lie better.
  
pollcode.com free polls