Yesterday afternoon, while walking on West 57th Street in Manhattan, I passed a sign outside a bicycle shop that read, “The best way to get around New York is by bike.” Judging by the vastly increased number of these vehicles I’ve seen in Manhattan and Brooklyn over the last decade or so, I’d say that thousands of more people agree with that statement.
The combined warm temperatures and low humidity yesterday afternoon seemed especially to confirm that. Once I get past the memorial to The Maine at the southwest corner of Central Park, I came across hundreds of bicyclists—and several horse-drawn carriages—out to enjoy the beautiful day.
The presence of so many bikes made me think that New York has been moving, by degrees, to something like the environment conservative leader William F. Buckley Jr. envisioned in his quixotic 1965 mayoral campaign. He proposed constructing an elevated bicycle highway on Second Avenue, stretching from 125th to 1st Streets. The idea might be “ultra-reactionary,” he admitted with a grin, but it would also be fun.
Many today, conservatives and liberals, would certainly agree with that.