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New York City - Williamsburg Biker Brawl Goes Local, And Global

Published on: December 10, 2009 10:40 AM
By:  NY Post
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Bike clowns plan Ride at a Vigil for the bike lane at Bedford Ave & Wallabout StBike clowns plan Ride at a Vigil for the bike lane at Bedford Ave & Wallabout St

New York City - The city’s decision to strip away 14 blocks of bike lanes in Brooklyn is turning into an international crisis.

When Mayor Bloomberg arrives at the climate-change meetings in Copenhagen Monday he’ll be confronted by a group of activists from the borough, demanding to know how an environmentalist can take an anti-cycling stance.

“How can he fly all the way there to talk about being a green mayor when at home he is yanking bike lanes off the streets?” said Baruch Herzfeld, an unofficial spokesman for the groups of riders who repainted sections of Bedford Avenue bike lanes in protest at the removal.

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“Mayor Bloomberg is a hypocrite, and we will actively try to find and confront him in Copenhagen about this issue,” Herzfeld said.

The Brooklyn contingent was already in the Danish capital for the summit when the bike- lane brouhaha began.

The lanes were removed following outrage from Williamsburg’s Hasidic community, which complained the cyclists were endangering residents’ lives and souls.

The riders were not only reckless, but their various states of undress were an undue hardship on their faith, which dictates they not stare at members of the opposite sex, residents said.

After a group of cyclists repainted several sections of bike lanes early Monday morning, and posted their exploits on YouTube, police arrested two of the alleged perpetrators.

Quinn Hechtropf, 26, and Katherine Piccochi, 24, were issued desk appearance tickets on charges of criminal mischief, but it’s unclear how prosecutors will proceed with the case.

The pair will plead not guilty, lawyer Gideon Oliver said.

Cyclists say they have nothing against the Hasidic community, in fact, Hechtopf recently donated a tandem bicycle to a blind Hasidic man so he could exercise, Herzfeld said.

This Sunday, the bike group Time’s Up  plans to stage a “funeral procession,” to perform the last rites for the lanes, which ran from Flushing Avenue and Division Street.

At 2 p.m., cyclists dressed as clowns will lead the “New Orleans-style procession” and will hold a “vigil with a mock ceremony to resurrect a section of the missing bike lane,” spokesman Benjamin Shepard said.

But just because the group is holding a funeral for the lanes does not mean they are resigned to life without them, Shepard said.

“We are still hopeful for a resurrection,” he said.

If that doesn’t work, Herzfeld says, some cyclists have begun “building stockpiles of white paint.”

As for the repainted bike lanes, Department of Transportation officials said crews will remove whatever yesterday’s rain did not.


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Read Comments (37)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 10, 2009 at 10:45 AM Clowns they said Says:

They don't have to dress as clowns. They already have proven that they are clowns. The costume is unnecessary and redundant.

2

 Dec 10, 2009 at 10:52 AM David Says:

Guys.. I am just wondering if its Chanukah or Purim ?

3

 Dec 10, 2009 at 11:12 AM formelly Says:

Reply to #1  
Clowns they said Says:

They don't have to dress as clowns. They already have proven that they are clowns. The costume is unnecessary and redundant.

you are sure about that, look how you dress?

I wonder what the world things and and whom is in the wrong?


Any guesses

4

 Dec 10, 2009 at 11:35 AM Anonymous Says:

the biking morons are at fault

5

 Dec 10, 2009 at 11:30 AM let go Says:

I'm just wondering is it worth it to make a hole issue out of the bike lane? I mean it might not be a first choice thing but I don't think its something you gonna fight for life on! Its not like gay marriage and other big issues like that so just everyone relax!

6

 Dec 10, 2009 at 11:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
formelly Says:

you are sure about that, look how you dress?

I wonder what the world things and and whom is in the wrong?


Any guesses

He is talking from his perspective and btw the last time i checked most of the world DOES NOT dress like the west... we are not the majority of the worlds population....

7

 Dec 10, 2009 at 11:38 AM Anonymous Says:

The fact of the matter is. Since the bike lanes where interduced in Williamsburg, there are much more pollution. It takes now much longer to go from one end Williamsburg to the other, Even if you will eliminate some cars, you will allways need trucks and trailors to deliver goods. And those trucks by crawling on Wythe Avenue for 20 minutes, pollute much more than what we had until now.

So to really help the envorinment the first thing to do is to make easier for trucks and trailors to get trough the city.

8

 Dec 10, 2009 at 11:55 AM formelly Says:

question,

just wondering did people see an increase in cyclist when the bike lanes where in existence?

I as since as a cyclist it really does not matter to me if there is a bike lane or not I will take the most efficient and least congested route.

9

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:01 PM Anonymous Says:

baruch herzfeld is my rebbe.

10

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:04 PM employed Says:

Only those who live or work there can comment intelligently. Not every area can accomodate bike lanes. You must realize that some areas are so heavily populated that it creates a hazardous environment.

11

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:31 PM Anonymous Says:

I salute the Yiddin in Williamsburg for standing up to the Mongolian horde of yuppies. They try to force the long time residents to adjust to their lives. This is the first step in showing the global warming Nazis that they don't control us.

12

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:39 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #2  
David Says:

Guys.. I am just wondering if its Chanukah or Purim ?

It's Tisheh B'av. I am seriously looking to move out of Williamsburg.

13

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
formelly Says:

you are sure about that, look how you dress?

I wonder what the world things and and whom is in the wrong?


Any guesses

Are you suggesting that we dress like clowns?

14

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:47 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
let go Says:

I'm just wondering is it worth it to make a hole issue out of the bike lane? I mean it might not be a first choice thing but I don't think its something you gonna fight for life on! Its not like gay marriage and other big issues like that so just everyone relax!

So you think that safety of Williamsburg’s most residents is no big issue, but any slight inconvenience of a hipster is? Why should the needs of hipsters outweigh the safety of a whole community of children and the elderly?

15

 Dec 10, 2009 at 12:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

The fact of the matter is. Since the bike lanes where interduced in Williamsburg, there are much more pollution. It takes now much longer to go from one end Williamsburg to the other, Even if you will eliminate some cars, you will allways need trucks and trailors to deliver goods. And those trucks by crawling on Wythe Avenue for 20 minutes, pollute much more than what we had until now.

So to really help the envorinment the first thing to do is to make easier for trucks and trailors to get trough the city.

True, the bike lanes cause idling by trucks and trailers which pollutes Williamsburg. I think that Williamsburg has the highest rate of cancer in New York City, four times as much as certain other places in New York City. It is unfair to make Williamsburg even more unhealthy.

16

 Dec 10, 2009 at 01:17 PM formelly Says:

can anybody figure out a different route of avenue that cyclist can use to cross Brooklyn to get to the bridge, so everybody can be happy?

17

 Dec 10, 2009 at 02:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

So you think that safety of Williamsburg’s most residents is no big issue, but any slight inconvenience of a hipster is? Why should the needs of hipsters outweigh the safety of a whole community of children and the elderly?

"Why should the needs of hipsters outweigh the safety of a whole community"

First of all, these are not "hipsters". The are generally working people who are making the right decision to ride bikes and not drive and avoid polluting the environment for all of us including the elderly and yinglach. I suspect many of those "inconvienced" may not be working but simply locals who may be studying at yeshiva or out fressing at one of the local restaurant. Bottom line is tht the bikers make a much greater contribution to clean air, global warming and tikun olam than most of those inconvenienced.

18

 Dec 10, 2009 at 01:55 PM Anonymous Says:

the same strict Rabbis who don't want bicycles going through williamsburg also don't chasidim to go on the internet.

19

 Dec 10, 2009 at 02:12 PM OMG Says:

Reply to #12  
Askupeh Says:

It's Tisheh B'av. I am seriously looking to move out of Williamsburg.

Didn’t you once mentioned that you live in Crown Heights or was it that you grow up there?

20

 Dec 10, 2009 at 02:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

"Why should the needs of hipsters outweigh the safety of a whole community"

First of all, these are not "hipsters". The are generally working people who are making the right decision to ride bikes and not drive and avoid polluting the environment for all of us including the elderly and yinglach. I suspect many of those "inconvienced" may not be working but simply locals who may be studying at yeshiva or out fressing at one of the local restaurant. Bottom line is tht the bikers make a much greater contribution to clean air, global warming and tikun olam than most of those inconvenienced.

Tikun olam? Churban olom! Lesaken olom bemalchus Sedom.

21

 Dec 10, 2009 at 03:06 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

"Why should the needs of hipsters outweigh the safety of a whole community"

First of all, these are not "hipsters". The are generally working people who are making the right decision to ride bikes and not drive and avoid polluting the environment for all of us including the elderly and yinglach. I suspect many of those "inconvienced" may not be working but simply locals who may be studying at yeshiva or out fressing at one of the local restaurant. Bottom line is tht the bikers make a much greater contribution to clean air, global warming and tikun olam than most of those inconvenienced.

First of all most of them ARE hipsters. Secondly, most hipsters don't hold a job, or what we call a nine to five job; you can see them rollerblading in mid day, (in the morning 6-11 they sleep).

What do you have against those studying in yeshiva? Pray tell me.

Bottom line is that "these" bikers make no contribution whatsoever to mankind, except of course "aRt", "gRaFfiTi aRt" that is; they fress at local 24 hour restaurants, as they never learned how to cook, but worst of all, they don't want to keep their lifestyle to themselves and live and let live, instead they want to shove their lifestyle down our throats and change the world in their image and destroy all of society’s morals. If you dare stand in their way they’ll bring in their clowns.

22

 Dec 10, 2009 at 03:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Tikun olam, my foot.

23

 Dec 10, 2009 at 04:29 PM Live Willi Resident Says:

I live and work in Williamsburg, so I feel qualified to comment. With all due respect to the environmentalists, the bikers do pose a major hazard to young children, older folks, Moms wheeling carriages or anyone else trying to cross Bedford Ave. Williamsburg is one of the most heavily populated areas in the city with masses of people crossing Bedford Ave at any time of the day and especially at night coming home from Simchas.

Williamsburg is our home for the past 55-60 years; we feel suddenly besieged by these cyclists posing a hazard to so many walkers. There is no need for them to protest; they are only being moved one block away and they can have access to the Williamsburg bridge from there as well.

24

 Dec 10, 2009 at 04:25 PM Anonymous Says:

All the posts on this site that are in favor of the looney biking hipsters are from herzfeld. there are no other orthodox jews that care one way or the other about the stupid bike lanes other than him in fact most orthodox jews cant stand them.

25

 Dec 10, 2009 at 04:16 PM Askupeh Says:

Reply to #19  
OMG Says:

Didn’t you once mentioned that you live in Crown Heights or was it that you grow up there?

I don't lie, both are true.

26

 Dec 10, 2009 at 04:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Baruch. From the bike gemach?

27

 Dec 10, 2009 at 06:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #23  
Live Willi Resident Says:

I live and work in Williamsburg, so I feel qualified to comment. With all due respect to the environmentalists, the bikers do pose a major hazard to young children, older folks, Moms wheeling carriages or anyone else trying to cross Bedford Ave. Williamsburg is one of the most heavily populated areas in the city with masses of people crossing Bedford Ave at any time of the day and especially at night coming home from Simchas.

Williamsburg is our home for the past 55-60 years; we feel suddenly besieged by these cyclists posing a hazard to so many walkers. There is no need for them to protest; they are only being moved one block away and they can have access to the Williamsburg bridge from there as well.

Do you know what really poses a danger to pedestrians? CARS and TRUCKS. Not bikes. Get real.

28

 Dec 10, 2009 at 08:07 PM Michoel Says:

Guess what--bike lanes or no bike lanes, the cyclists STILL have the right to ride their bikes on Bedford Avenue as well as most other streets in NYC), and even take up the whole lane if necessary. That's the LAW. The bike lanes are just supposed to make it a little safer and keep the bicyclists and cars more separated--but a lot of selfish drivers won't accept it. I'm a shomer mitzvos bike commuter AND I work. (I know Herzfeld, but I'm not him.) I live on Staten Island and commute by bike to Brooklyn by ferry and the Manhattan Bridge, but let me tell you, SI is arguably more hostile to bikers than shtetl Villiamzburg. The Satmars and other hasidim in Williamsburg have to know that they have to obey the same law as the rest of the City--but I could also do less with the holier-than-thou in your face attitude of certain segments of the hipster demographic, especially when so many of them are recent transplants who only parachuted into Williamsburg the day before yesterday after graduating from art and design school.

29

 Dec 10, 2009 at 09:33 PM Simon Says:

I’m a Chasid living in Williamsburg, and I think it’s unfair to remove the bike lanes.

If you think its fair because it changes the character of the community, then it’s fair for the people in upstate to block our big Shuls and camps.

You can’t have it both ways.

30

 Dec 10, 2009 at 10:12 PM OMG Says:

Reply to #25  
Askupeh Says:

I don't lie, both are true.

I didn’t imply that you’re lying, just trying organize my thoughts

31

 Dec 11, 2009 at 10:03 AM David Says:

I can't blame the Hasidim-- they're asking for what they want, just like the bikers. However, I think the city was wrong to side with the Hasidim on this. In the end, the bikers will still go through the place (which, for the record, the Hasidim don't own), and will have to do so without a bike lane. This is more dangerous for all involved, and it's regrettable that the Hasidim (and the city officials they lobbied for this) don't seem to recognize this.

32

 Dec 10, 2009 at 02:37 PM Hey sherlock guess what else causes cancer? Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

True, the bike lanes cause idling by trucks and trailers which pollutes Williamsburg. I think that Williamsburg has the highest rate of cancer in New York City, four times as much as certain other places in New York City. It is unfair to make Williamsburg even more unhealthy.

Maybe the smoking is causing cancer. Alot of chasidim (I'm taking about men i don't know about the women)smoke and generally disregard their health. If they stopped smoking there'd be less cancer and their bodies would be less compromised and have more resistance to fight off other sicknesses. Women don't allow your husbands to smoke. There's no excuse anymore.

33

 Dec 10, 2009 at 09:46 PM Now you are a environmentalist Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

The fact of the matter is. Since the bike lanes where interduced in Williamsburg, there are much more pollution. It takes now much longer to go from one end Williamsburg to the other, Even if you will eliminate some cars, you will allways need trucks and trailors to deliver goods. And those trucks by crawling on Wythe Avenue for 20 minutes, pollute much more than what we had until now.

So to really help the envorinment the first thing to do is to make easier for trucks and trailors to get trough the city.

This is a blatant lie. Traffic has been way worse on bedford avenue before the bike lanes went up.
Face it this is about "tznues" and maybe by now "nitzuchen".
You don't own the street even if you live there..
This is reverse discrimination... Just makes me wonder how long it will take before we are kicked out of this country....

34

 Dec 11, 2009 at 10:54 AM Anonymous Says:

This is a moot point. The chassidim had enough political power to have the bike lanes removed. good for them. That shows that they are a strong enough political group that they can help control elections. this is democracy. if you can get enough people together to vote the way you want them to you will win an election. politicians want the chassidim on their side so they do things for them. nothing illegal about it. this is how america works.

The bikers are a bunch of nuts anyway so i say good for the chassidim. We should all learn to get our communities to stick together as voting blocks.

35

 Dec 12, 2009 at 10:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
formelly Says:

you are sure about that, look how you dress?

I wonder what the world things and and whom is in the wrong?


Any guesses

who is the world in your definition?

36

 Dec 12, 2009 at 10:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
formelly Says:

can anybody figure out a different route of avenue that cyclist can use to cross Brooklyn to get to the bridge, so everybody can be happy?

they have one it's just one block away!

37

 Dec 14, 2009 at 08:53 AM Mike Says:

Bike lanes or no bike lanes, cyclists can still go down streets.

38

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