May, bicycle month
Welcome to the NEW YORK CITY CONNECTION Column…!
Love it or hate it, New York is known for being an extremely bike-friendly city. Some will even tell you that the newyorkers are crazy about bikes, and not a few would openly criticize about the reckless two-wheeled rascals that roam the streets with an absolute disdain regarding vial security. Debates apart, May was undoubtedly the month of the bicycle, with the Bike Expo as the principal event of this celebration. During two days (1st and 2nd of May), bike-lovers enjoyed a major gathering in Manhattan’s Pier 36 (Basketball City) where they could attend panels, buy the latest bike gear and accessories and visit the more than 100 exhibitors displayed for a reunion that congregated more than 60,000 fans of the fastest (and healthiest, if you can deal with the New York traffic) way to move through the city. Shortly after that, on May 2nd, one of the most unique and somehow bizarre events celebrated in holy ground took place. The iconic Cathedral of St. John The Divine (one of the biggest in the world) held the 17th Annual Blessing of the Bikes, a free an quite special ceremony where dozens of bikers (all faiths and religious beliefs were welcome, even the lack of) brought their bicycles and cyclist attire to witness a scene you don’t see every day: the Holy Water sprinkle of the bikes. Not a matter of joke, though. Every year many cyclists die in the city streets, and in this act a prayer is pronounced to commemorate last year’s tragic loss of lives.
The danger from above: falling debris and anti-suicide tactics
Pitifully, and as you may assume, New York City is also full of unfortunate accidents and depressing news. Last Friday May 8th, a woman was severely injured by a plywood piece that struck her head while she was walking in the SoHo, near Broadway and Prince Street, as told by ANIMAL magazine. Thanks to the rapid response of the witnesses and the medical emergencies staff, the wounded woman was quickly transported to Bellevue Hospital, where she is being treated. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Last March a woman was killed in an almost exact accident in the West Village, and recent statistics show that one pedestrian is injured every month due to falling construction materials.
For preventing the biggest injury of all, the loss of human life, an all-new anti-suicide fence in the George Washington Bridge has been scheduled for 2024. According to The Gothamist, the estimated cost of this 9 foot high suicide dissuader will vary from $30 to $50 million. The historic record of suicides in this bridge is certainly sad, with seven dead people in this year so far and 18 jumpers in 2014…not a very high rate if you take in mind that in that same year the patrols frustrated the attempts of 74 people!
Comics and plays!
Enough of gloomy thoughts…time to cheer up! New York City is an endless source of entertainment and cultural agenda, and May wasn’t an exception. Comic Book Day (Saturday May 2nd) was, as every year, an important date for hundreds of comic book geeks (like myself!) who collected the free issues that the main stores in the sector (Midtown Comics, Forbidden Planet, etc.) were giving away to the always enthusiastic superheroes fan community. And for the more theatrical souls, May meant the return of one of the most expected events of the year: Shakespeare in the Park, the cycle of free theatre plays in the iconic Central Park’s Delacorte Theater that started the last Wednesday May 27th. The Tempest and Cymbeline are the two representations chosen for this year, and for sure we will see again the never-ending queues until the curtain closes in August 23rd.
To finish this section, check this out: Nick Rizzo, the Democratic District Leader for the famous neighborhood of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) was punched in the face by a bully in a bar after defending a damsel in distress, as told by the Brooklyn Paper. How about that? Faith in politics restored!
See you in the next New York City Connection, my friends. Have fun and take care!