Well, thanks to being born into a showbiz dynasty, this is one of the little perks Delia Ephron gets to enjoy, and she's written an op-ed on Citi Bike that boldly breaks new ground in saying dumb shit:
What is Hell? Jean-Paul Sartre said it's "other people." Well, I say it's being in a classroom and always knowing the correct answer, but instead the teacher keeps calling on little Delia because what he really wants in life is to be a screenwriter and he wants to get in with her family. That's what it feels like when you open what is ostensibly an intelligent newspaper and read something like this about a subject that's important to you:
It’s this bike program. The other day I stepped off a curb and a bike coming the wrong way down a one-way street passed so close I could feel its breeze on my back. It seems as though, every day, I’m almost hit by a bike.
You're probably thinking to yourself, "If you're almost getting hit by a bike every single day you must be doing something wrong." As it turns out, she is, and it won't surprise any cyclist to learn that what she's doing wrong is walking around with her head completely up her ass:
As it happens, the bike was going the wrong way and I was crossing against the light.
Okay. So she stepped into the street when she shouldn't have, a bike went near her, and nothing bad happened. What's the problem? Well, apparently bike share is undermining what it means to be a New Yorker:
That’s what New Yorkers do. When we walk, we don’t pay attention to lights. That is practically the definition of a New Yorker: when walking, ignores lights. These bicycles have made walking around the city much scarier. Helmets are recommended gear for bikers. These days pedestrians should be wearing helmets.
No, the definition of a New Yorker is not "when walking, ignores lights." It's "when walking, knows what's up." It's not ignoring the lights, it's knowing that you know better than the lights. There's a difference.
Delia Ephron clearly does not know better than the lights. Perhaps she did at one time, but it's obvious she has not kept pace with this dynamic urban environment, so what she should probably do is spend some time engaging in "remedial walking"--you know, strictly adhering to lights and traffic signals until she's gotten her bearings again.
It can't be 1986 forever.
But this isn't Delia Ephron's real problem. It's not just the Citi Bikes, it's that they're blue:
That should be the reason I picked hate, but it isn’t.
He’s turned our city blue.
For $41 million — what Citibank paid to sponsor the program for five years — our city bikes became Citi Bikes. To make certain you don’t forget this fact, a Citi Bike sign hangs in front of the handlebars, Citi Bike is printed twice on the frame, and a Citi Bike billboard drapes the rear wheel on both sides. The font is the familiar Citibank font and the Citibank signature decoration floats over the “t.” There is no way to see a Citi Bike without thinking Citibank. The 6,000 bikes so far rolled out, of a possible 10,000, and their signs are a Day-Glo cobalt blue that you see on banks. Nobody wears this color. Nobody paints his or her apartment this color. This blue is bank blue.
Yeah, nobody in New York wears blue.
("What's the deal with saying nobody wears blue?"--Jerry Seinfeld)
Anyway, let's look at a Zipcar:
To make certain I don't forget I'm "sharing" my city with a Zipcar, they put their ugly green logo on both doors, and their stupid "Wheels when you want them tagline" on the trunk. On top of that, I have to look at the branding of the motor vehicle itself: the make and model of car on the trunk, the corporate logo on the front grille and on all four wheels. Then they need a place to store all those cars, and a Citi Bike station with its dozens of bikes is about the size of two (2) Zipcars, which means when a Zipcar driver pulls over in front of Starbucks to run in for a pupkin doucheaccino he's already taking up as much public space as like half an entire Citi Bike rack. And yes, there may be no way to see a Citi Bike without thinking Citibank, but there's also no way to see a fucking Citibank without thinking Citibank, and the city is full of them. There's also no way to see a Zipcar without thinking Zipcar, and Mini Cooper or Madza or whatever kind of car it is, and "yuppies heading to Fairway."
Oh, then we have these things called taxi cabs, which are bright yellow, and sever tourists' legs, and have ads for strip clubs on them:
Evidently Delia Ephron would prefer to be almost hit by one of these, since it's more "authentically New York" or something.
I mean, I don't have any love for Citibank, but there aren't very many artisanal Brooklyn businesses with earthtone logos queueing up to sponsor giant initiatives that enhance our public transportation network, so it is what it is. The divisions that now comprise the New York City subway system were also private enterprises in the beginning, and I think that turned out pretty well for all of us, though I'm sure if they were only introducing the whole subway concept today Delia Ephron would hate them. "These trains. They're underground, they're noisy, they're full of ads, the stations are ugly, and you have to have these grates in the sidewalk and I can't walk on them in heels!"
By the way, there's tremendous irony in the fact that a woman who hates corporate branding co-wrote one of the biggest Hollywood corporate branding exercises of the 1990s:
And yes, while ostensibly a New Yorker (by virtue of the fact she ignores lights), Delia Ephron doesn't want you to forget she's all about Hollywood:
Almost all directors and cinematographers know that, in a movie, the color blue pulls focus. If you place a love scene in front of, say, a blue bench, the audience will look at the bench and not the actors. Our city, if you look around, isn’t a blue city, or wasn’t until the bikes arrived. With the exception of Times Square, where loud clashing colors are the point, our city is browns, grays, greens and brick red.
I really hope the next mayor appoints Delia Ephron to be head of the Department of Transportation, because we should really base our infrastructure on which colors look best in romantic comedies. By the way, Delia Ephron finds bikes annoying, but what I find annoying is when a whole city block gets shut down so they can film some stupid romantic comedy. But sure, by all means, let's treat the city like a giant soundstage and avoid anything that "pulls focus."
Yes, the color blue has no place in this town, and with Delia Ephron as DOT Commish we'll rid the city of the Scourge of Blue once and for all. Just imagine, no more buses:
No more law enforcement:
No more Manhattan Bridge:
No New York Knicks:
No New York Mets (obviously):
Actually, especially no Mets because of Citibank:
(I think Ephron just plotzed.)
And, most importantly, let's nuke the clear azure sky because those beautiful days are pulling focus like a motherfucker:
Then the piece just starts getting offensive:
Where there used to be four lanes for cars traveling down Ninth, there are now two. A long triangular concrete island has been installed to guide drivers making left turns even though drivers have been making left turns since they got licenses.
Yeah, they're trying to keep Ninth Avenue from being an expressway so people don't keep dying. And sure, people have been making left turns since they got licenses, and they've also been killing people in the process.
And here's her prediction for the spring:
Then the snow will melt and freeze, and someone on a blue bike will skid right into you. Finally spring. Your broken leg is almost healed. The surgery to insert pins went well. You have completed four weeks of physical therapy, and at last can limp around outside without crutches. As you spy a cherry tree lush with blossoms, a you-know-what will zip by. Suddenly that beautiful day will get so much uglier.
Or maybe your leg broke because you tried to walk over an icy subway grate in heels. Anyway, here are some stats, Ephron:
RE NYT bike oped: # of peds killed by cars since 2010: 569. # of cyclists killed by cars since 10: 67. # of peds killed by bikes since 10: 0People are dying. A lot of them. Three young kids were run down the week before you wrote this. But yeah, keep making shit up because you don't like blue.
— howard wolfson (@howiewolf) October 20, 2013
Actually, I don't think this has anything to do with hating bikes or the color blue. I think what's really going on here is that she's in love with this guy:
("Watchoo talkin' bout, Wildcat?")
Look at it this way. Suppose some yenta like Delia Ephron goes to see an apartment that's for sale. She loves it. It's to die for! But she can't afford it.
Now let's say that this hugely successful guy with a ton of money comes along and buys the place for himself and his wife or his parter or whatever. And let's say they renovate it and decorate it to their tastes. And then let's say the apartment gets a whole spread in "Vanity Fair" or something.
Do you think Delia Ephron's going to look at the pictures and say, "What a beautiful apartment! I'm so happy for them!"? Of course not. She's going to say, "I can't believe they did the walls in that color!" No matter what they do she's going to hate it, because she's jealous.
And that's what's happening here. Regardless of what you think of Michael Bloomberg, he's the ultimate catch for any yenta. Not only is he like the richest Jewish guy in America or something, but he's in charge of New York City. Forget having a nice apartment--he runs all the apartments! The guy gentrifies half a borough with a single zoning change. So don't think for a second that if Delia Ephron was schtupping Bloomie she wouldn't be traipsing all over town, throwing parties and bragging to her friends about the pretty blue bikes they scattered all over the place. And you can be sure her next project would be a romantic comedy called "Dockblocked," in which some hateful yuppie couple in Brooklyn fall in love at a Citi Bike station.
Instead, we have to settle for this--though now that I think about it we're probably getting the better end of the deal.