Brooklyn beep Markowitz takes jab at city’s bike lanes in holiday card
December 17, 2010
By Erin Durkin
Tis the season to spread holiday cheer with festive cards – and for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to take a light-hearted swipe at the city’s bike lane craze.
Markowitz, a fierce opponent of the new two-way bike lane on Prospect Park West, sent out thousands of cards depicting the thoroughfare carved up into a packed car lane, bike lane, walking lane, sitting lane, lovers lane and even a “holiday only lane.”
Inside were lyrics to his own version of “My Favorite Things,” which he also sang at a City Council hearing on bike lanes: “Let’s not forget cars, it’s getting insane/Welcome to Brooklyn ‘The Borough of Lanes.’”
“It’s showing the extreme of what could be if we continue to reengineer our city streets,” Markowitz said. “You’ll notice that of all the lanes, the car lane is the narrowest.”
The song earned Markowitz a Borough Hall visit Thursday from Time’s Up pro-bike carolers who put their own spin on holiday classics. “Bikes to the World, from Brooklyn to Queens! The lanes are here to stay!” they sang to the tune of “Joy to the World.”
City Transportation Commissioner – and bike supporter – Janette Sadik-Khan took a different message from the chaotic scene pictured on the card. “The borough president’s holiday card clearly shows significant improvements in reindeer traffic compared to last year’s card,” she said. “The card’s accommodation of all modes of holiday travel points to an even happier holiday for Brooklyn residents.”
Other borough presidents’ cards paled in comparison with Markowitz’s: Queens Borough President Helen Marshall sent out a simple snowy scene of the Unisphere. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. sent a photo of his staff ringed with holly.
Markowitz is known for his elaborate, current event-themed holiday cards, with past cards commemorating everything from a massive blackout to the redevelopment of Coney Island.
The bike lane scene also nods to other controversies: There’s a sleigh pulled by geese like the ones killed en masse in Prospect Park this year and a bedbug-ridden mattress leaning against a tree.
And despite his feud with Sadik-Khan, Markowitz said she’s still on the Christmas card list. “Absolutely,” he said. “Every commissioner of New York City gets one.”