Bikes—or specifically, bike lanes and the scantily dressed women who sometimes use them—have become a pretty well known point of contention between Hasids and the rest of North Brooklyn’s residents over the past few years. But, per a new report from DNAinfo, the disparate demographics that comprise neighborhoods like South Williamsburg and Greenpoint have actually started banding together, in hopes of bringing more Citi Bike kiosks to the area.
There’s even an official group, Hasidim for Bikes, that’s been tossing out catchy talking points (namely that there’s a “black hole in black hat Williamsburg”) and putting together a petition (still in the works) to get councilman Stephen Levin to push for more stations in the area. Before Hurricane Sandy threw off plans and funding, both North Williamsburg and Greenpoint (but not the heavily Hasidic South Williamsburg) had been slated for inclusion in the initial Citi Bike rollout, a decision that was based on interest expressed in community meetings, according to Levin’s Communications Director Matt Ojala. The issue has become especially pressing with recent news of extensive, long-term closures on the G.
“While we know that the Citi Bike program is eventually slated to open in those communities, there’s no date as of yet, we really need an additional mode of transportation that’s viable for people ASAP,” Levin has previously stated in petitions to bring more of the kiosks to North Brooklyn.
Per a mission statement on the Hasidim for Bikes website, “Our goal is to unite Hasidim to gather support, to speak with one, powerful voice—to make bicycling more available, more convenient and appealing to Hasidim. We believe that by coming together, we can make our Hasidic Shtetl a better place to ride.” And while it seems like there’s still a long way to go in getting the entire community behind the plan, well, it’s just a nice change of pace to have some kind of consensus on the issue.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.