On November 7th, the speed limit in New York City will officially become 25mph, and Denis Hamill doesn't like it.
So who the hell is Denis Hamill?
The short answer is "Some asshole who lives in Queens." The long answer is that Denis Hamill is Pete Hamill's brother, and he wants you to know that he represents the authentic New York. This is why he'll bore you with old-timey Brooklyn stories about stickball and egg creams and riding the streetcar to Ebbetts Field with a Nathan's frank up his ass and how he was one of 146 siblings, born of Irish immigrants so poor they couldn't even afford the additional "n" in "Dennis." He also wrote the movie "Turk 182:"
"Turk 182" was a crappy movie about Timothy Hutton fighting corruption in City Hall with graffiti. It came out in 1985, around the same time as movies like "Krush Groove," and it was Hamill's desperate attempt to appropriate at least some aspect of the blossoming hip-hop culture for white people.
You might also recall Pete Hamill's Brother as the guy who doesn't like bike lanes because when he was a kid he rode around Brooklyn dodging streetcars on a homemade meat bike and these kids today with their fancy Bing Glass and Microsoft Smart Calculators don't know what it meant to play stoopball and use a stick to roll a hoop down the street with a "Spaldeen" lodged up your ass like they did in his day:
Well, it shouldn't surprise you he doesn't like the new speed limit either, which is why the other day he woke up, took a whiff of the jar containing a smear of Jimmy Breslin's ballcheese that he keeps by his IBM Selectric, and hunted-and-pecked this piece of shit:
Basically, it turns out the main reason Pete Hamill's Brother hates the new speed limit is because he's too stupid to get his kid to school on time:
I was running late last Thursday morning driving my kid to school through the streets of Queens with a car in front of me moving at the speed of bureaucracy.
“I’m gonna be late,” my son said.
“This clown is slower than a glacier,” I screamed.
I honked. The guy didn’t accelerate. “He has two speeds,” I shouted. “Drop dead and rigor mortis.”
My speedometer read: 25 mph.
And I suddenly realized that come Nov. 7, this was going to be the speed limit in New York City. Bloomberg banned smoking and trans fats and de Blasio was gonna make us the City That Never Speeds.
Turning right onto three-lane Horace Harding Expressway, I passed the slowpoke, shot him a dirty look, and raced my kid to school just before the morning bell.
It's always good to scream at other drivers while your kids are in the car so they grow up to be assholes like you, and if you're wondering why Pete Hamill's Brother doesn't let his son walk to school it's because if he did he'd probably wind up running the poor kid over.
Next, Pete Hamill's Brother decides to perform an "experiment," because if nothing else he is a man of science:
I decided to experiment. I pulled away from the curb and snailed down Francis Lewis Blvd., activating cruise control when I reached 25 mph. Within 10 seconds, horns blared behind me. One driver passed on my right, flipping me the bird. A motorist on my left shouted, “You drive like a f-----g nun!”
And then he roared off, literally fuming.
Really? "Literally?" The driver himself--not the car--was literally fuming? Was he smoking? Was he on fire? HOW WAS HE FUMING, HAMILL?!? HOW WAS HE FUMING???
By the way, I'll bet you one million Vietnamese Dong that this exchange is completely made up. First of all, I'm pretty sure Pete Hamill's Brother's 1988 Ford Taurus didn't even come with cruise control. Secondly, it smacks of the sort of hoary dialogue that made "Turk 182" a box office flop--as does this one, which is equally spurious:
A police van from the 114th Precinct trailed me. But as I stuck to 25 mph, the cop driver passed me on the left, giving me an odd glance. He put a full city block between us. Now a Mack truck tailgated me, leaning on his loud horn. My 25-mph cruise control answered. More horn blowing. More 25 mph. A dangerous duel. Finally, the truck driver passed me on the right. When I stopped for a red light at 108th St., the same trucker parboiled beside me. He glared down at me.
“Maybe you should put on your hazards, man,” he said.
“Because you’re driving 3 mother f-----g miles an hour.”
“Same s--t, a--hole!”
This too is complete fiction, or at best it's something Pete Hamill's Brother himself once shouted at someone in the parking lot of Queens Center before they beat the living crap out of him.
Anyway, for such a seasoned New York City driver, I find it odd that he has to use a GPS to get from Queens to Gracie Mansion:
At the next red light, I typed “Gracie Mansion” into my GPS. Soon I was crossing the Triborough Bridge, jolting the FDR south and exiting at 116th St. I inched down Second Ave. toward 88th St. My speedometer only climbed to 25 mph for one three-block stretch. I hit cruise control. And angry drivers looking to ride the brief rapids of this steel river of taxis, trucks and cars all blew their horns at me in furious unison as we passed along the Second Ave. subway construction trench.
The cacophonous horns of New York were so loud and angry that I started to laugh.
Though in fairness to the dimmest of the Hamill brothers, it was built in 1799 which is a little bit past his heyday.
Still, it's got to be tough laboring under the lifelong delusion that you're a character in a Norman Lear sitcom. This is why, given Pete Hamill's Brothers' insatiable need for speed, I'm starting a Kickstarter to raise the $250,000 to buy him a ticket on the very first Virgin Galactic flight:
I'm guessing the wait list is considerably shorter these days.
Meanwhile, in Austin, the anti-Pete Hamill's Brother thinks the key to sharing the road is waving:
When confronted with a difficult driver, some riders opt for the one-fingered salute, which doesn’t do much to help the situation. Austin cyclist Adam Butler, is all for the one-handed salute, but he’s making a movement for that to be a wave.
Butler is launching the WAVE campaign in his hometown in hopes to improve relationships between cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers. “We need something to lube this big old crazy machine called ‘getting around’, and I think it’s waving,” Butler says.
Now that nobody cares about Portland anymore it would seem that various other quirky starter cities are attempting to fill the bike culture power vacuum, and here comes Austin right on cue, attempting to shift the tone of discourse from Portlandia to its own laconic stoned country-fried Linklaterian drawl. Hey, whatever works for them, but why should I have to wave to someone giving me something which is already mine, that being the right of way? Sadder still is when I'm driving or riding and someone thanks me for stopping for them, which I don't deserve, for I'm only doing what I'm supposed to be doing. It makes me grieve for the broken, timid people we've become, thanks largely to selfish pricks like Pete Hamill's Brother. That's why I'm starting my own campaign:
I'm sure even quasi-hardboiled Daily News columnists can relate.
Speaking of the giant sucking sound that is the bike culture power vacuum, riders donned their Uniforms of Irreverence recently for the Single Speed Cyclocross Single Speeder Singlespeed Championship of the Worlds (SSCXWCSSCXCXWC) in Louisville, KY:
After which Adam Craig got his nine billionth ironic world championship tattoo:
Shouldn't be long before someone puts on a singlespeed gran fondo.