03 October 2018

Lime In The Queen City Of The Southern Tier

If you have ever wondered what La Belle Siffleuse did, take a listen:

I mention Alice Shaw, not because she might be one of the world's few whistling virtuosas or for making one of the earliest known sound recordings, but because she hails from the same town where a fellow named Samuel Langhorne Clemens is buried.

How did Mark Twain end up in the ground in Elmira, New York?  The short explanation is that his wife's family had a plot (which couldn't have made him too happy) in the city's Woodlawn Cemetery.

Other justly and unjustly famous people have come from self-proclaimed Queen City of the Southern Tier. In more recent years, this city hard by the Pennsylvania border has fallen on hard times:  It now has less than half of the population it had in 1950, when it was a center for both manufacturing--which declined in the region--and railroads, which declined and nearly died everywhere in the US.  As if those losses weren't bad enough, it's been said that the city never recovered from the flood of 1972, which decimated residential as well as industrial areas.

I mention the city's hardships, not to denigrate it, but to highlight something it has in common with other areas that have a service that's about to come to Elmira.

I'm talking about Lime Bikes, the dockless sharing service with green bikes you just can't miss.  This summer, I saw them along the Rockaway Peninsula--both in the popular beach areas and in Far Rockaway, a long-depressed area where high-rise public housing looms over rather forlorn (but still, in their own way, charming) bungalows.  I also saw Lime Bikes in Yonkers, which has its share of affluent neighborhoods that fit the stereotype of Westchester County but also areas like Getty Square, which locals have dubbed "Ghetto Square" because of crime and general seediness.

I know that Lime can be found in thriving upscale (or, at least, young and hip) communities in other parts of the US.  But it's interesting to see them in poorer areas more established share services like Citibike seem to shun.  Lime also is making inroads into college campuses which, like the neighborhoods I've mentioned, are full of people who don't have a lot of disposable income. 

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