22 January 2019

Blame The (Phantom) Bike Lanes!

Every one of us, I suspect, has had a moment when we realized that someone we looked up to was just plain wrong about something.  

Most of us, I guess, have such a moment in childhood.  That person who suddenly became, as it were, mortal might be a parent, older sibling, teacher, coach or other adult who nurtured us in some way.  Such a moment might have seemed like "the end of the world," at least for a moment, and left us feeling angry, hurt, abandoned or empty.  Fortunately, though, most of us move on from such an experience and learn the lesson that "nobody's perfect."

Good thing, too, because as we go through life, people we respect or admire have moments of stupidity, arrogance, greed, meanness or thoughtlessness.  We learn that our heroes--if we still create such figures in our lives--are, after all, human.

For many years, I've been a major fan of Whoopi Goldberg.  In fact, when I was still watching TV and had a schedule that allowed it, I watched The View mainly because she was one of the panelists.  She is a funny, irreverent woman who always seemed to resist pressures from society and the entertainment industry (where, perhaps, such pressures are the most intense) to conform to prevailing notions about attractiveness or femininity--which, of course, are Caucaso-centric. (Is that a word?)  Also, she has been an outspoken advocate for causes, like LGBT equality, that matter to me.

Of course, one can be outspoken about things one doesn't know much about. I've probably done it any number of times on this blog! If I have, I hope I haven't caused harm, or at least not much of it.  I'd like to think that I expounded on things I know little or nothing about only because I didn't know as much about them as I thought I knew--or because I was acting on information I didn't realize was inaccurate.

I hope that such is the case for Whoopi Goldberg.  I am willing to believe that it is because, well, I've always liked her.  Also, I think she probably doesn't ride a bike much in Manhattan, if she rides at all.

You see, anyone who regularly cycles in Manhattan knows where the bike lanes are.  Mainly, they're in midtown, and parallel major uptown-downtown and crosstown thoroughfares.

While Tenth Avenue runs the length of midtown, on its west side, it's not one of the streets with a bike lane.  She could be forgiven for not knowing that.  On the other hand, she blamed the non-existent bike lane for "ruining" the avenue and traffic flow in the city.  


  Oh, but it didn't end there.  She went as far as to say that the bike lanes are part of a conspiracy to bring Manhattan traffic to a standstill so that the Mayor can implement "congestion pricing"--which, of course, would take a bite out of her bank account as well as her "right" to drive--or, more precisely, be driven--in Manhattan.

What's really crazy about her rant is that it was a non sequitir. She was interviewing Mayor Bill de Blasio about something else entirely.  I guess she figured that since she had him in her crosshairs, she could unleash her pet peeve--however unfounded it is--on him.

Here's something I find really ironic:  She, among celebrities, has been one of the most outspoken critics of El Cheeto Grande.  Yet she behaved no differently than he has in any number of public appearances:  She told a lie or repeated misinformation (depending on what you believe) and doubled down on it.  Her tirade, like most of what we hear from T-rump, is devoid of facts and fueled by a sentiment of "If I feel it, it must be true."

Then again, she does have a few things in common with him:  They are, or have been, television stars.  They live in mansions and are driven in limousines or armored SUVs everywhere they go.  And they haven't ridden bicycles since they were kids. 


  1. Makes me glad I don't watch television or shows on line. Whoppie it appears doesn't give a damn about providing healthcare to struggling people, but is pissed about her hindered drive into the city?

  2. Perhaps I am becoming less tolerant as I get older but I now have zero tolerance on idiots like W G and that once interesting movie maker W Allen who have both publicly ranted about cyclists in New York.

    They go straight on to my no watch list when they do that.

    Takes an age to build a reputation and a moment to ruin it...

  3. Chris--I think now that she's driven to The View's Manhattan studios from her Bergen County NJ mansion, she's forgotten where she came from.

    Voyage--I used to like Woody Allen, too. But I got tired of him long before his anti-bike rants: It seemed as if he was just whining.