Monday, August 23, 2010

Culture war, New York City style: it's about bikes.

Much has been written and said about the supposed cultural divide between coastal elites and heartland (or flyover country) just plain folks, but, as Alexander Nazaryan describes it in his Daily News piece, there's an internecine version playing out here in Gotham. His analysis of the kerfuffle over a bike lane abutting Prospect Park in Brooklyn, in which our Borough President, Marty Markowitz, sided with the gas guzzlers, is illuminating:

Markowitz, the consummate politician, was playing to his base: the ethnic whites of Jewish, Italian and Irish descent who drive along Prospect Park West to their homes in Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Midwood. On Prospect Park West live yuppies who couldn't tell Marty Markowitz from a borscht belt yukster - and couldn't care less. They're the ones doing the biking, the ones with no tangible roots to New York who might finally spend that year in France - where, of course, they will bike from patisserie to boucherie to the wineshop in perfect pastoral bliss.