NYC , july 29 2013
New York has forever been the symbol of gigantism, a sort of huge Behemoth that swalllows everything and everyone in its overdimensionned jaws and bowels, starting with human beings gulped down in droves after their arrival at Ellis Island in the past, at Grand Central or WCT today. You see them, these ants, downtown Manhattan, rushing to their occupations, like bees around a hive serving their Queen, which in NYC is big finance and big business.
But 12 years ago, the attack of 9/11 created a shock of unprecedented dimension that seems to have changed the mentalities: NYC is no longer a crucible of eat what you kill, survival of the fittest jungle. In the devastating aftermath of the twin towers attacks, New Yorkers became more human, more congenial, more caring to their neighbours: the city is cleaner, traffic is slower ( even if still hectic), taxi drivers do not honk their horns, and above all , bikes are everywhere!
We rode our bikes all the way down from George Washington bridge up north to downtown Manhattan, i.e. some 12 miles, on a bike path along the Hudson river without seeing a single car! Who would have even dreamed about that 15 years ago? Free rental bikes can be found everywhere, and the trendy ” fixies” zipp along the cars like swift sparrows flying all around. What a change! NYC, just like Paris, London and many other big cities no longer belongs exclusively to cars and trucks, but progressively become human and caring. Vive le vélo!