Streetfilms: The First Tour de Queens

Nearly 500 people braved the mid-90s heat yesterday to take part in the inaugural Tour de Queens, and Steetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson was there to document the occasion.

In addition to discovering the borough’s best bike shop, viewers will see Congressman Anthony Weiner, stalwart defender of car commuters, deliver the following message of support to the crowd of cyclists:

We still have to make this city a much more bike-friendly town. For every ten dollars we spend for transportation in this city, nine dollars and 30 cents goes to moving cars around, and the other 70 cents is to help pedestrians and bike riders. We need to change that.

  • My impression is that gas price have added an edge to the road rage from the motorists who are forced to wait for rides like this to pass. One guy actually cited the cost of the gas as he sat there honking, cursing and complaining. I told him to turn off his car and get out while he was waiting but he didn’t take kindly to this suggestion.

  • Clarence

    Make sure to watch right to the end when cyclists inadvertently take over a gas station and look like they are pulling into refuel at nearly $4.50 per!

  • Tony

    Once you get in a car, your stress levels increases no matter what.
    At low speeds, you get stressed from traffic or slow you are going.
    At high speeds, you get stressed from possibly getting caught of speeding or keeping an eye out for other drivers.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Did Weiner happen to mention transit, rather than just bicycles and cars?

    Remember, the only hope for the MTA is for the “hidden billions” PR seeking Comptrollers claim around fare hike time to be found, and the promised Brodsky and Weiner billions to arrive — without higher taxes on wages and property and without harm to other priorities.

    Hey Weiner, how are those promised billions coming? Or do you perceive a future of placard holders and bike riders, without access to transit for anyone else (like I do thanks to folks like you). All you have to do to change my mind is deliver — $4.5 billion over and above the $8.5 billion in federal money the MTA was already counting on.

  • Were there a lot of angry drivers? I was at Flushing Meadows the whole time, but when I was talking to riders afterwards I didn’t hear many complaints about angry motorists.

    I’m just glad so many people could turn out despite the heat. We were so stoked to see it all come off so well.

  • mfs

    I was corking a lot and there were only a few angry drivers. As it started to heat up and the day wore on, there was a lot more honking. Then again, we were also in a more congested area.

  • @Heffron #6: I am deeply grateful to the Queens TA committee that pulled off a fabulous first-ever TdQ. What a delightful opportunity to get to know your borough better!

    I especially appreciated the syngergistic arrangements you worked out with the Queens Museum of Art to let us bring our bicycles indoors from the already-scorching 8 a.m. heat, enjoy the air conditioning and bathroom facilities, purchase food before and after the ride, and watch the charming Streetfilms mini-festival. Having the route superimposed on the panorama was a nice touch. The outside taps were life-saving. In short, the attention to detail was nothing short of superb.

    Yesterday’s scorching weather took us all by surprise, but why not consider kicking the ride off an hour earlier, or doing a sunset or even nighttime ride?

  • I think there was more road rage than at TdBrooklyn and TdBronx rides I have attended. I saw three people get out of their cars and engage in shouting/pleading matches with marshals. I’m not sure to what extent the heat was a factor, or the tendency toward road rage among Queens vs. other motorists. The NYPD presence was perhaps a bit skimpy compared to TdBronx, so there were many intersections where volunteer civilian marshals had to convince motorists that they were authorized to cork.

    While small, the NYPD contingent imposed an extended 20-minute compression stop on the ride just before Eliot Ave. at high noon. It was pretty brutal. many thanks to all the Queens reisdents who doused us with their garden hoses! (Great idea, Urbanis, to have some of these types of rides scheduled to take place during summer evenings.)

    Here are some pictures.

  • Well, BicyclesOnly, now I know who you are! Since I never manage to encounter you on my commute down the Hudson River Greenway, I’ll make sure to mug for you on the next Central Park Moonlight Ride (that is, if you bring along your camera for such occasions). To quote Gloria Swanson, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”


The New York Times JSK Profile: Politicos vs. Progressive Transportation

Has the Times ever published a profile so singularly devoted to one city commissioner’s relationships with other public figures as this Michael Grynbaum story? It’s not so much a profile of transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan as a 2,500-word description of her place in New York’s political firmament. The question that drives the piece forward is […]

This Week: Q’boro Bridge Buses, Union Square, Tour de Queens

After a relaxing long weekend, it’s a busy week for livable streets, with an urban vs. suburban debate, two important Manhattan community board meetings, and a weekend packed with opportunities to walk or bike New York City’s streets, ending in the Tour de Queens.  Wednesday: Sprawl booster Joel Kotkin debates Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution […]

Anthony Foxx Envisions a “Gradual Shift” Away From Car Dependence

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx criss-crossed the country last week on a tour of the seven finalists for U.S. DOT’s $50 million “Smart City Challenge” grant. When Foxx was in Portland, Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland got a chance to ask him how he plans to change the transportation “paradigm” so walking, biking, and transit become the norm. Six years after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood […]

The Transformation of Queens Boulevard, Block By Block

For many years, New York City’s Queens Boulevard was known as the “Boulevard of Death.” The street cuts through the heart of the Queens, expanding at some points to a chaotic 12 to 16 lanes of traffic — which makes it extremely dangerous for human beings. From 2003 to 2013, 38 pedestrians and cyclists were killed and 450 suffered severe injuries. Last year, the New York […]