As we reported last Friday, a contested bike lane that runs through an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn was abruptly removed by New York’s Department of Transportation, stoking tensions between the neighborhood’s hipsters (who bike) and Satmar Hasidim (who don’t, and don’t like to see immodestly dressed riders doing it, either). At that point, it was still only rumor—well, and logic—that suggested that the New York mayor’s office, whose boss was recently running for a third term, had removed the lanes as part of a political deal with the Satmars. However, the New York Post now asserts that “a source close to Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg said removing the lanes was an effort to appease the Hasidic community just before last month’s election.”
Anyway, the fight for the streets of Williamsburg continues: in the wee hours of yesterday morning, a small group of black-clad bike activists quietly began to repaint the 14-block stretch of Bedford Avenue bike lane that the DOT had sandblasted. Not quietly enough, though: two of them were apprehended by the Shomrim, the Satmar neighborhood watch group, who called the cops. (No one was arrested.) Before they were caught, the vigilante cyclists filmed themselves repainting the lanes. Anarchy!
Hipsters Repaint Bike Lanes in Brush Off to Hasids [New York Post]