In case you didn't notice, last night was the last Friday in March which means that it was time for another round of that ongoing battle sometimes known as Critical Mass vs. the NYPD. And how did this month's standoff go you ask? Differently, early reports imply. Thanks to the nice weather there were apparently more bikers than usual (sigh, fine, cyclists), hundreds of tickets written and a few arrests (concrete numbers anyone?).
As usual CM started out at Union Square and rode uptown only to be systematically split up into smaller groups by police cars which blocked the avenues. The police then pushed those smaller groups of bikers off their main route so as to facilitate easier ticketing.
But something different happened this time. The bikers agreed prior to CM to reconvene at Washington Square Park when all was said and done leading a crazy sounding standoff. BikeBlog reports:
We slowly picked up stragglers and rolled into the park with a squadron of police vans following. Then we had a weird Mexican standoff in the park while the cops tied up all of 5th ave. waiting to see what would happen. Then the weirdest part happened. Everyone began to ride into Washington Square Park. From all corners. The spoke card worked. We soon grew in size to almost as many as we had at Union Square with people cheering as different groups came in. Then we walked over to the other side of the park and left out of Thompson street cheering and riding. The cop brigade move out and then we made our way to the big wide-open 6th Ave. We were cheering and chanting...
And so here we'd like to point something out to Hizzoner: Critical Mass ain't going away any time soon. Especially now that the weather is getting warmer. Maybe it's time to earn yourself some more political capital Bloomie? Think of the PR possibilities if you could just eat a little crow and find a way to embrace the cyclists in the city! It's time Mike, and we promise, it won't hurt nearly as much as you think it will.
CM stencil from Evapro's flickr stream.