BIKE SHARE DEVOURS ANXIOUS CITY WITH MERCILESS APPETITE! COUNTLESS CASUALTIES IN ALL PARTS MANY FASHIONABLE DISTRICTS! MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION DECLARES MARTIAL LAW! DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER! CITI BIKE PEDALING UP YOUR PANTLEG WITH KNIFE IN ITS TEETH! — from an advance copy of tomorrow's NY Post.

The preemptive backlash against Citi Bike has spread to SoHo, where a neighborhood group known for its hatred of bike lanes is accusing the DOT of tyranny. Literally. In a fulminating press release, the SoHo Alliance has lashed out at the bike share program with a level of vitriol that's not usually seen outside of Two Minutes Hate. Specifically, the group is irate that bike share stations have been installed in Petrosino Square, a small park at the border of SoHo and Little Italy on Lafayette Street near Spring. This bike stand will not stand, man:

Formerly a refuge for homeless and derelicts, the park recently underwent a beautiful restoration via a $2 million grant that the residents fought hard for and won. As part of the beautification of the park, one area at the tip of the park was specifically dedicated to public art shows. Several works have been exhibited.

However, fearful of a planned demonstration and civil disobedience by local artists and activists, last Friday at midnight a DOT crew furtively installed one of the largest CitiBike stations in New York City in the parkland specifically reserved for public art exhibitions.

AND NOW LOOK! The founder of the Friends of Petrosino Square says, "Sneaky midnight raids by CitiBank and DOT to destroy public art is an obscenity. This CitiBike scheme seems like it was concocted at a dinner party in Bloomberg's townhouse. We want our art space, not advertising for Citibank." And Minerva Durham, who owns a Spring Street studio offering life drawing classes, has been staging a regular protest against Citi Bike in the park. [Disclosure: I used to model for art classes at Spring Studio. Easy money!]:

Public art vs. Public bikes in Petrosino Square, SoHo. from Aaron Naparstek on Vimeo.

The SoHo Alliance claims the DOT backed out of a meeting that was scheduled tonight with Community Board 2. (The DOT has not responded to our request for comment.) Because of the anticipated large turnout, the board moved the venue from a classroom to a large school auditorium. Sean Sweeney, a SoHo Alliance rep and CB2 member, believes the DOT is unwilling to confront "the citizens of Greenwich Village and SoHo face-to-face."

"It is incredible that a city agency would exhibit such fear and contempt of the citizenry,"
Sweeney declared in a statement. "Are they so afraid to confront us with the failed scheme they once so proudly proclaimed? Is this how Citibank repays the taxpayers who bailed it out a couple of years ago? By destroying our art and culture?"

The meeting will go on as planned tonight with or without the DOT, starting at 6:30 at PS 41 (116 West 11th Street). Sweeney urges everyone to come out, lest they "miss the fireworks." Isn't it wonderful to see everyone taking this Citi Bike thing in stride?