Basically, what they announced at the press conference was that this summer, for three Saturdays in August, certain streets in Manhattan will be car-free for part of the day, a program modeled after the Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia. You can read a little bit more about it here on Streetsblog and on Gothamist, and I'm sure now that it's been officially announced there will be more details available elsewhere as well. I'd love to give you more details myself, but unfortunately I was standing close to the luminaries and far from the speakers so it was almost impossible to hear anything apart from the street noise.*
*(Update: in the interest of actual information, here's the press release and map.)
And who were those luminaries? Well, Paul Steely White from Transportation Alternatives was there. (I told him he had a nice ass and he seemed oddly flattered.) Also, Janet Sadik-Khan, the DOT Commissioner was there, as was David Byrne (who I'm pleased to report seems to be recovering nicely from his drunk cycling accident), Mayor Michael Bloomberg (of course) and, of all people, Lance Armstrong. I was especially pleased that Lance was there, because it gave me an opportunity to give him my thank-you gift much sooner than I'd expected. (If you're wondering, he seemed very pleased with it. Who wouldn't be?)
As far as the press conference itself, since I couldn't hear anything I confess my mind wandered a bit. I'm afraid I also didn't take pictures of the luminaries, since as an anonymous writer I actually don't like sticking my camera in peoples' faces, even at a press conference. (Exposed buttocks on the Brooklyn Bridge notwithstanding.) And an internet image search will yield tons of pictures of all those people anyway. However, I did take some pictures, which should give you a good idea of what it was like to be there:
The VIP bike parking. I'm guessing these belong to people like David Byrne and the Transportation Alternatives people. I was forced to lock up to a nearby lightpost. Fortunately the policeman was looking in the general direction of my bike, so I had a false sense of security.
The press. The various luminaries are to my left. As you can see the cameras are pointed at them. That's why I choose to remain anonymous.
Car-free Saturdays may be green, but this press conference was not. In fact, it spelled "death" for the local flora, which was trampled by inconsiderate bystanders. (I'd have laid down in front of the flowers to save them, but they'd have trampled me instead had I dared to block their precious view of Armstrong and I didn't want to soil my Primal jersey.)
Oh, "The Love Guru" is coming out. It didn't take long for the questions from the press to veer away from bikes and towards boring stuff like this whole OTB business, so between keeping an eye on my bike and anxiously checking the time this is the sort of thing I occupied myself with.
So there you have it. Will car-free Saturdays be a success? Has Paul Steely White finally learned his lesson about exposing himself? Will Michael Ball's autograph finally inspire Lance Armstrong to accomplish something? Only time will tell.
And now back to Rock Racing in Harlem.