“Oh, no. Those are prime parking spaces.” My 20-year-old son Luke, who drives down from Boston, where he’s in college, was alarmed to see my text, which included a photo of the new CitiBike installation on 85th Street off York Avenue; the nearest rack to our house (and around the block from a bike shop – I’m sure they’re thrilled.)
As if parking isn’t hard enough -- often a long day’s journey -- with construction cordoning off sections of streets for huge dumpsters, as well as the doorman conspiracy that saves/trades spots with each other to be on time for their shifts, now stretches of prime real estate on the Upper East Side are devoted to two-wheeled vehicles.
There are approximately 40 stations planned for the area between 59th to 96th Street and 5th Avenue to the FDR. Here’s where they are now:
Park and 85; 3rd and 85th;1st and 84th; York and 85; 2nd and 82nd; 3rd and 81st; Park and 81st; 1st and 78th; 2nd and 75th; York and 72nd; 1st and 68th; Lexington and 67th; Fifth and 63rd .
For me, this is one of those “watch what you wish for” situations.
When CitiBikes were only available up to around 60th Street, I admit to feeling put out. Why was the downtown crowd, as well as tourists, getting all the new shiny toys? What about us? I thought, never realizing that when one is giveth, something has to be taketh away.
But rather than focus on what’s missing, since it’s now a done deal, I figured it was better to consider the upside of the CitiBike blitz.
UESers are no longer dependent on the buses and trains to get us around town. We can pick up and CB up here, take it to work and be rid of it with one of the convenient locations near wherever we’re going in Manhattan. The CBs will also come in handy during any transit strikes.
You don’t have to sweat it if your favorite class at SoulCycle on Third and 83rd is booked. Have credit card, can spin – around the block, that is.
You don’t need to carry around a bike lock/chain; carry your bike up stairs to your apartment, or deal with your building’s bike room. Just make sure you see the blinking green light when you return a CB to its dock, or after 24 hours, the bike is considered stolen and you get charged $1000. For that amount, you could buy a Kestrel Talon Full Carbon Road Bicycle.
Our local coiffures will benefit from all the new blow-out business generated by “helmet hair.”
Filling up on carbs before your ride will give you an excuse to try the pasta at Rosina, the new Italian restaurant on York and 89th.
I will choose to consider the extra time I will get to spend with Luke driving around and around and around looking for a parking space it quality time. Thank you CitiBike. I couldn’t have wished for better.
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels Fat Chick and Back To Work She Goes.