2012-07-04 – Valet Bike Parking and BK Brews – The Wall Street Journal

Valet Bike Parking and Brooklyn Brews

The Wall Street Journal

July 4th, 2012

By Eliza Pound


“I can’t believe that we’re still the coolest group in New York City,” the executive director of Time’s Up, Bill Di Paola, said about his 25 year old environmental organization on Tuesday night.

Celebrating 25 years of saving community gardens, defending public space and empowering bicyclists, the event was held at the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg, which offered valet bicycle parking. Dozens of bikes lined up, representing the quirky atmosphere of the night.

Time’s Up hosts numerous biking events throughout the year, from the Doggie Pedal Parade to “Traffic-Calming Rides” which encourage cars to slow down in Central and Prospect parks. “It’s just so much fun, they’re riding their bikes naked or they’re swimming in a fountain,” Mr. Di Paola said. They also host workshops on bike maintenance and other events.

He said it’s hard to believe the amount of change that has come about.

“One upon a time in NYC, whether you can believe it or not, the city was really against biking,” he said.

Barbara Ross, a 15-year volunteer and the press coordinator for Time’s Up, said her favorite memory of biking in New York City was the “moonlight” ride in Central Park, her first ever ride.

“At the time I was told never to go into Central Park because it was really unsafe, but I went and everyone from Time’s Up was really welcoming,” she said. They even helped her fix her tires.

Steve Vaccaro, a lawyer at Rankin & Taylor, said he adores the moonlight ride in Central Park and “tries to make it every month, even in the winter.”

Mr. Vaccaro has represented many Time’s Up members in the past and explained how he loves the organization and what it’s about.

“They have lots of family-friendly rides, which has been a big part of my kids’ growing up.”

One of the evening’s speakers and a member since the beginning, Charles Komanoff, believes that “the progress that’s been made in bicycle activism is so much further along because of Time’s Up.”

“We’ve been the group that you can rely on, the group from the street,” Mr. Di Paola said smiling proudly of what he has created.

Everybody who attended the night was a Time’s Up volunteer, and Mr. Di Paola said it was a pretty good showing.

“Old, young, all different colors, all different ideologies that are coming together to work in an environmental organization to do something to make a difference in the planet.”