Williamsburg cyclists got a new bike lane on Bedford Avenue yesterday morning, but they lost one last night when dozens of cars obstructed the cycling path on Kent Avenue. Just hours after biking activists repainted a cycling path on Bedford Avenue that was recently removed by the city, the equally controversial Kent Avenue bike lane was blocked by parked cars for a major Hasidic celebration.
Gothamist reader Sam says the Kent Avenue lane was severely blocked between Clymer Street and Division Avenue:
my thoughts were wandering as I biked home along the Kent Ave bike lane. Suddenly I shook myself back to attention because I wasn't sure were I was -- the bike lane was gone and I thought maybe I had turned onto another street. Nope. It was just that cars were completely obscuring the bike lane, so much so that I couldn't even see it as I biked by. There were perhaps 50 cars or more diagonally parked all along Kent from Clymer to Division. I called in a 311 complaint (another cyclist was there had just done the same) and then biked over to the 90th precinct to report it since the NYPD does not have to respond to a 311 complaint until 8 hours later. I told an Officer Williams at the 90th the situation and he said he would send a car over. However, he made that pledge before I had told him exactly where the cars were parked, so I biked back over to Kent to see what happened. There was a police van there, but they were not doing anything -- I waited about 30 minutes, the cars left (an event had ended) and I went home.
South Williamsburg community activist Leo Moskowitz told Gothamist that the Kent Avenue bike lane was obstructed by guests attending a major Satmar celebration at Steiner Studios, where thousands convened to celebrate the anniversary of the day when Satmar Grand Rebbi Joel Teitelbaum — the leader of the religious group — escaped from the Nazis. "They were parking angled on the bike lane because it was overcrowded with people and there wasn't enough parking spaces inside," said Moskowitz, who added that drivers were being encouraged to park on the cycling path by the police (the NYPD has not yet confirmed this with Gothamist). "This was from about 8 pm until 11 pm, it was a cold night, windy, not too many bikers. I understand that people are trying to make a big issue about it, but it was only in the nighttime, and really there weren't too many bikers."
Here's a video of the celebration at Steiner Studios last night.
Miss Heather over at NewYorkShitty.com has an account from a passersby to another major Hasidic gathering on West Street in Greenpoint last night, which might or might not be linked with the festivities in the Navy Yard.