Why we can’t have nice things

Citi Bike, New York City’s new bike-share program (you know, the one that represents creeping totalitarianism), while already very popular, is not without its problems. For some of the city’s wealthiest residents, for example, the issue is not so much the existence of the program but rather the fact that its bike-share stations have to be so, y’know, close.

From the Village Voice (because I’d rather not link to the NY Post), some examples:

In a New York Post exclusive, it was discovered that the DOT agreed to move at least 10 Citi Bike stations either right before or just after the program’s initiation–all of which are nearby a concentrated wealth epicenter. Ritzy spots include the IAC Building in West Chelsea, designed by Frank Gehry and housed by Newsweek/The Daily Beast; a loft on Spring Street; the Milan Condominium on East 55th; and a handful of other expensive locations.

A few of the angry 1 Percenters were represented by Manhattan attorney Steven Sladkus. As the stations push uptown, “you won’t see a Citi Bike station in front of Mayor Bloomberg’s town house,” he argued to the Post. “Maybe the same [courtesy] should have been given to all other property-owners in the city.” 

You see, this is really an issue of equality. If billionaire Mike Bloomberg can treat the entirety of NYC as his fiefdom, why can’t multimillionaires do the same within a few block radius of their home and/or place of work? This is America, dammit! Occupy Citi Bike!

Oh, it’s almost enough to drive one to drink. But since it’s still morning here, I’ll just recommend you read this recent interview between David Dayen and Chris Hayes. The focus of their discussion is, primarily, elite and institutional failure. Hayes’ point about inequality breeding social alienation strikes me as particularly relevant…

43 replies
  1. 1
    jayjaybear says:

    For the same reason there’s usually very little multiple-stop public transit to the suburbs (buses)…the black/poor might actually show up in the neighborhood! Buncha whining crybabies…Masters of the Universe, right!

  2. 2
    Zam says:

    This is why only property owners should be allowed to vote.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    Same reason MARTA goes nowhere.

  4. 4
    Jen says:

    So why exactly are people kvetching about this? The Bikeshare in DC is wildly popular.

  5. 5
    Emma says:

    Same reason why the Miami Metrorail stops short of going down to Homestead, where it’s most needed. Instead, the maids and cooks going to Pinecrest have to take these ridiculously long bus rides (and damn few of them) and then walk to their places of employment.

  6. 6
    ChrisNYC says:

    I happen to know something about this!

    Anyway, I can see using it to prove a point but I actually think it’s a little more complicated. My guess, from talking to people involved is that they did move the bike stations on request and quickly but probably because they wanted a completely non-troubled launch. In some cases, buildings actually own the land to the center line of the street, so the city would have needed an easement, which they apparently did not figure out before planning the stations. There’s def potential problems with that but it’s more a we want this initiative to not drown in a thousand NY Post stories (like the one above!) political decision than a dastardly plot.

  7. 7
    martha says:

    And the bike share in little old Madison WI is also wildly popular but we are in the flyover so we don’t count.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    We have bike share in Athens, leave that fucker unlocked and it’ll get “shared” most ricky tic!

  9. 9
    eric says:

    You libs never cease to amaze me. First you want to clutter the landscape with bikes and then you complain when someone stands up for the landscape. These environment watchdogs should not have to suffer from the howlings of libtard jackals simply because they value the beauty of mother nature out their front doors.

  10. 10
    PeakVT says:

    The bikeshare programs are nice, but the fact that we can’t have the big-ticket nice things (high-speed rail, 2nd avenue subway phases 2-4, etc.) is what really bugs me. America has become a can’t-do nation in this regard. Hell, we’re not willing to pay to keep the things we already have in a state of good repair. That’s why we see major bridges going kerplunk every couple of years. Our problem in this regard isn’t simply the result of the 1% thwarting the will of the masses.

  11. 11
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:


    In some cases, buildings actually own the land to the center line of the street

    How the fuck does that happen?

    ETA: Go Hawks!

  12. 12
    PeakVT says:

    @eric: Nice spoof.

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    stop the whining….the bikes need somewhere to go

    it’s not like they’re going to put these stations in rough neighborhoods

  14. 14
    gelfling545 says:

    The local “big” suburban mall expressly prohibited public transportation buses from having a stop on their property (although the big tourist buses from Canada, sure, come on down) to keep ‘city’ people from going there yet they wanted people from the city to work at minimum wage in their shops. It took several people being killed trying to cross one of the busiest streets in the area to get from the bus stop to their place of employment before they were finally forced to allow a bus stop on the premises.

    Our “metro” goes nowhere. First the state built the new campus of the state university about as far away from the original campus as you can get and still be in the same county (instead of downtown where they were being urged to build it) for fear of “student uprisings” so they say and, of course left the students with totally insufficient parking and no way to get from one campus to the other. They have had to run a private bus service. Then the “metro”, one of the purposes of which was supposed to be to connect the 2 campuses got stopped at the first suburb you come to because it might bring “those people” into their area. Well, they fooled themselves because now the medical school of the university has moved downtown near the cancer treatment and research hospital and one of the largest general hospitals in the area with virtually no parking and they may actually need a convenient way to get there so there is talk of extending the metro line, at of course, much greater expense that it would have been 30 years ago.

    Of course I expect this development of the “medical corridor” may force an organization I do some work for (which provides permanent housing to homeless vets) out of the area because the tenants aren’t what anyone would call chic or trendy and the delicate suburbanites must not be scarred by the intrusion of reality.

  15. 15
    Wag says:


    Those doing the complaining see popularity of the program as a bug, not a feature.

  16. 16
    Linda Featheringill says:

    According to the website for NYC’s CitiBike program, a million miles were clocked during the first month of operation. Wow.

    No pollution, no fuel use, and a lovely way to thumb your nose at the 1%.

  17. 17
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    I imagine myself wearing a Che beret with a gold star humming The Internationale while carrying these 1% bastards in a tumblr on the way to the guillotines at Yankee Stadium or Madison Square Garden.
    I shouldn’t think this way but Lord it makes me hard not to.

  18. 18
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Ahhh, mass transit, the bane of the wealthy and semi-wealthy throughout this great nation of ours.

    Even in cities with “good” mass transit, not a bus, bike, or light train goes within several miles of people who have money.

  19. 19
    R-Jud says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: In a “tumblr”?

  20. 20
    Tone in DC says:

    That’s why we see major bridges going kerplunk every couple of years. Our problem in this regard isn’t simply the result of the 1% thwarting the will of the masses.

    Actually, it pretty much is.
    The 1% pay about half the income tax (as a percentage) that I do, and I am no Warren Buffett. In OvenMitt’s case, he pays even less. The tax money, due to all these tax dodges and outright givebacks, is not there to fix the infrastructure. Because the MoTU have decreed they do not have to pay up. Meanwhile, unemployment around here, which is capped at about $400 per week, is taxed.

  21. 21
    Jen says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Not necessarily. The part of Northwest DC that I live in (right at the border of DC, MD and VA, very wealthy) has a few bus lines servicing it. Though I guess it’s mostly for commuters and the maids and nannies.And Georgetown has many. Though those yuppies will NEVER allow a Metro stop.

  22. 22
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: I guess you’ve never ridden a bus in NYC, especially in Manhattan.

  23. 23
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Visit Chicago sometime.

  24. 24
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @R-Jud:(In a Charlton Heston voice) DAMN THE LACK OF PROOFREADING SKILLZ :-)

  25. 25

    Did anyone see the story in the NYT style section about how much rich NYC socialites spend on charity balls and other function in one season?

    ETA: On topic: This is the reason metro doesn’t go to Georgetown in DC.

  26. 26
    Julemry says:

    Sheesh. Wealthy New Yawkers are so ridiculous.

  27. 27
    Julemry says:

    What a terrible commenting procedure here.

  28. 28
    mrmcd says:

    One of the stations that the Post claimed was removed because of rich people and their fancy super lawyers (the one on Spring St) is actually a block away from my office. It really was in a bad location for that station, because it wasn’t easy to access without salmoning (riding against the flow of traffic) and on a infrequently used side-street with cobblestone. They didn’t remove it so much as relocate it a few blocks down to a public park where it’s now in a more compact double-sided configuration and a more central intersection for heading either uptown, downtown, or eastbound.

    Just something to keep in mind. The stations might have been tweaked for lots of reasons unrelated to rich people whining, and the Post isn’t exactly known for it’s accuracy in reporting.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    We had a bike-share in Austin for a while, right before I started college. But the bikes got “lost” and stolen on such a regular basis that the system fell apart. If you can keep a program like this in good working order, more power to you.

  30. 30
    lol says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Yep, though bus service to the area has improved dramatically, especially with the Circulator route.

  31. 31

    @lol: Actually its not too long a walk from the Dupont Circle Metro either. Less than half an hour, if remember it correctly.

  32. 32
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): I don’t know. My guess would be either (1) archaic stuff which exists unnoticed a lot in property records, until it becomes an issue; or (2) contemporary deals. I don’t think it’s hugely common, the owning the street thing. But it did come up in the Citibike placement and made for a hard argument by the city.

  33. 33

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Even in cities with “good” mass transit, not a bus, bike, or light train goes within several miles of people who have money.

    That’s a bit of an exaggeration. That said, I’m damn pissed off at the way public transit is treated by the rich. Here in the LA area, Beverly Hills is fighting like hell to prevent the subway from being extended under their city. How do they expect their domestic servants to get to work other than public transportation? They certainly aren’t paying them well enough to afford cars!

  34. 34
    ruemara says:

    NYC is a whole different animal, not that some bike stations may not be removed because of socialite pressure. But no, rich people use subways and buses there. That being said, they keep doing this shit and they’re going to realize how hopeless the rest of the country really is, right quick.

  35. 35
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    What purpose do the idle rich serve?

  36. 36
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Even in cities with “good” mass transit, not a bus, bike, or light train goes within several miles of people who have money.

    While that may be true in other parts of the country, that’s certainly not true in New York City.

  37. 37
    Yatsuno says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: To prove Calvinism right of course. After all, if you’re born rich you must be part of the Elect no?

  38. 38
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to!”

    (Like most of Dorothy Parker’s witticisms, it cuts from both sides).

  39. 39
    Another Halocene Human says:

    I really, really suggest you go to streetsblog.org and read their take on this issue before you shoot off, Elias.

  40. 40
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I was on a coach tour and the bus driver bragged that there was so a subway in Georgetown–bump-adump-dump we ran down a big commercial street and there it was–the Subway.

  41. 41
    Rafer Janders says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Actually its not too long a walk from the Dupont Circle Metro either. Less than half an hour, if remember it correctly.

    A half-hour walk, which is about a mile and a half, isn’t too bad for a healthy adult or teenager. But if you’re old, or sick, or disabled, or have kids with you, etc., then it’s often difficult to impossible.

  42. 42
    TG Chicago says:

    CORRECTION: the interview linked at the end is conducted by David Daley, not David Dayen.

  43. 43
    Narcissus says:

    next thing you know you’ll have poors all over your neighborhood, gettin’ their poverty all over everything

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