Sen. Jeff Klein to No Impact Man: “Hands Off My Car, You F–king A–hole”

klein_adamscrop.jpg
A couple of days ago we relayed the remarkable story of Colin Beavan’s close call with a careless motorist, which ended with the parties shaking hands. Yesterday, No Impact Man encountered another inattentive driver — one State Senator Jeff Klein — but this time there were no heartwarming epiphanies.

Here is Beavan’s account, via an open letter to Klein

Though you may not know my name, you may recall that you and I met
today under rather unpleasant circumstances on New York City’s
Broadway, just north of City Hall. You were driving your black
Mercedes. I was riding a small folding bicycle and wearing a purple
helmet.

To refresh your memory:

Traffic was moving rather slowly and you were heading in the
downtown direction, as was I. You were in the far left lane and I was
riding on the curbside of that lane, near your rear passenger door.
Suddenly, you began to veer your Mercedes to the left, potentially
crushing me between your car and the cars parked on the side of the
road.

With nowhere to go to get out of your way, and to avoid serious
injury or death, in desperation, I chose to knock on your window to let
you know that I was there and that you should avoid veering further in
my direction.

At this point, you brought your vehicle to an abrupt halt, not to
avoid hitting me, but because you apparently needed to communicate
something to me. You rolled down your window and said, "Get your hands
off my car, you fucking asshole."

I said, "You were veering into me and going to crush me."

You said, "You better not touch other people’s cars. You might find
that touching other people’s cars is more dangerous than traffic."

You may recall that Klein, along with Sen. Eric Adams, called for a suspension of bridge and tunnel tolls on holidays in order to keep as many cars as possible on city thoroughfares. Klein was also a leading opponent of congestion pricing. 

At least now the contempt we always suspected the Jeff Kleins, Richard Brodskys and Denny Farrells held for those on the other side of the windshield is, in Klein’s case, out in the open. Beavan, who serves on the board of Transportation Alternatives, is calling on Klein to meet with him "to discuss transportation policy as it relates to bicycle safety, carbon emissions, the cultivation of New York City quality of life, breathable air, and traffic congestion." Beavan is also encouraging his readers to contact Klein (718-822-2049), along with Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (718-528-4290), in support of his request.

Please show Klein more civility than he would show you.

  • mike

    I’ve had this experience so many times, I can’t count. When I was in plain view, drivers chose to drive right into me, nearly crushing me. The most recent time was when a woman in an SUV illegally drove across 3 lanes of 5th avenue to park in the bike lane (again, illegal). After nearly killing me, I slapped her truck to let her know that there was a human there. The driver totally flipped out and responded “good!” when I told her that she almost killed me. The she sped off and gave me the finger.

    What is it that turns car drivers into psychopaths?

  • In the UK we’re looking forward to getting rid of our lame duck prime minister and replace him with David Cameron who is a cyclist himself.

  • Sounds like the attitude of much of the Riverdale machine that put him in office: selfish, arrogant, and willing to sacrifice the life and health of anyone who’s less powerful than them in order to preserve their status symbols.

  • This is why I ride in the middle of a lane. I don’t understand why cyclists think that’s such a bad idea. Honking doesn’t hurt as much as doors, hoods, and road. And, as I’ve said many times, you don’t get honked at nearly as much as everyone seems to imagine. I hardly get honked at at all.

  • momos

    This kind of behavior is unsurprising coming from a New York state senator.

    Arrogant, aggressive, self-entitled. Driving a Mercedes. Shouting epithets and threats. No doubt on his way to share cigars with a real estate developer planning yet another strip mall or parking lot in place of affordable housing.

    Beavan is responding like a gentleman. This could be a good opportunity to put lipstick on a pig.

  • jan

    Were there any independent witnesses or are you taking one anonymous person’s side of a story (that might not really even be a story) just to get people riled up? You have no idea of whether it went down as it is written. All I am saying and not proclaiming as truth is that this could be a very angry bicyclist with an ax to grind who incited the event. Did he knock hard? Did he slam an open fist on the window? Who knows? Was he a self-righteous bicyclist? We don’t know. But its all grist for the mill on this blog.

  • Dave Wiley

    It seems to me the outside of your pedal could leave a lasting impression of your encounter on his paint. If he complained the only likely outcome would be a citation for illegal lane change or failure to yield. Or would this be childish?

  • Dart, it is preferable to take the lane when traffic is moving but when the car traffic is moving slowly (or stopped), do you stay in the middle of a traffic lane, or do you sometimes opt for the margin (where the incident described in the post occurred)? I think NYC bicyclists are permited to do both, depending upon the circumstances.

  • momos

    Jan,
    The writer is a board member of Transportation Alternatives.

    The Mercedes driver is a member of the state Senate, home to crooks, liars and fossils guilty of crimes that in the last year alone range from corruption to assault.

    And just who are you giving the benefit of the doubt?

  • mike

    Jan,

    Unlike yourself, Mr. Beavan is hardly anonymous.

  • I sent this email to Klein, and I encourage other to write similar emails:

    Subject line: Shouting Obscenities and Threats at Biccylists

    Senator Klein:

    I live in California, and I want to let you know that the news story about your shouting obscenities and threats at bicyclists, covered at http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/09/18/sen-jeff-klein-to-no-impact-man-hands-off-my-car-you-f-king-a-hole, has attracted a national audience.

    This is the sort of behavior that I would expect from a thug or a gangster, not from a senator. You are unworthy of your office, and you should be ashamed of your thuggish behavior. When you were a child, your parents should have washed out your mouth with soap to teach you that you should not behave this way.

    Yours,
    Charles Siegel

  • I just called– they said he’s going to meet Beavan. Is that true? Can we get a blog post about that when it happens?

  • anonymouse

    People, men especially, hold their cars very dear, and touching it is, to them, a gross violation. It’s like touching their genitals, for which the car is a surrogate.

  • TMI, anonymouse! I will not be touching any cars ANY time soon.

  • john

    Being a bicycle commuter in this city – i have learned this clear fact: Regardless if a motorist is about to drive straight into you, if you touch their vehicle in a last resort defense – such as alerting them to your presence (regardless of bells, horns, verbal alerts, etc, bike lane or no bike lane…) they will go absolutely insane.

    5th avenue is the mecca of this.

    I have been chased and screamed at for many blocks usually with the threats of killing me and hoping i will die and pulling reckless maneuvers trying to cut me off or stop short in front of me. Pure road rage… except as a cyclist – you dont have the steel protection that a vehicle driver does.

    In tense situations like this, i’m satisfied my nerves have upheld and remain level headed to be able to simply say “Calm down. Dont kill anyone.”

  • I don’t see what the confusion is. The only time you’re allowed to be in contact with someone’s car is when its driver decides to crush you with it, and even then it is going to be your fault. The law is clear enough on that. There is only one way to protect our legislators’ beautiful and powerful machines from the weak (but possibly fingernail equipped) hands of New York pedestrians and cyclists: forbid drivers from subjecting their cars to the terrible dangers of Broadway. It is cruel and unusual punishment to those high performance machines to be stuck in Broadway auto traffic when they should be out taking curves and/or climbing mountains, like in the commercials. Would you torture an Alaskan Husky by taking it to Mexico? I think not. SAVE THE CARS!

  • chris

    I deal with this type of thing nearly every day on my commute from fidi to midtown and back. makes me want to move to amsterdam or copenhagen or someplace a cyclist can get some respect. If I had a $ for everytime some crazed motorist has threateed me after he broke some law while I was doing nothing but legally riding along, I could undoubtedly retire to one of these bike meccas.

  • rex

    One of those 140 dB air horns works well as an alternative. Unfortunately, it will get ripped if you leave it on your parked bike.

  • When I lived in Athens, GA there was a notorious downtown intersection I walked through several times per day between home and work. One day a left-turning SUV cut directly in front of me as I entered the crosswalk, missing me by less than an arm’s length. My first instinct was to swing my laptop bag toward the truck, but thankfully I realized the foolishness in that mid-arc. Instead, as the truck passed, I smacked the back window with my fist.

    I got about halfway up the next block when I heard someone calling out behind me. It was the driver, who had stopped her truck in the street to get out and confront me. She was incensed that I had touched her precious vehicle, regardless of the fact that she had come within inches of running me over. We shouted back and forth a bit until I finally yelled “If you don’t like it, call the cops!” That ended the argument, though she walked away mumbling curses at me.

    Regarding cars as extensions of the anatomy, this is no exaggeration. Many men also consider cars to be feminine, and touching their vehicle is like touching “their” woman. It’s a sickness.

  • Ace

    “You were in the far left lane and I was riding on the curbside of that lane”

    Does this mean on the left-hand side of the street? Shouldn’t the bicycle have been on the right-hand side of the street?

  • Jason A

    “Did he knock hard? Did he slam an open fist on the window? Who knows?”

    Who cares! I’ve been in too many of these situations to know that when you’re a moment’s notice from being squished dead, you don’t fret over the niceties of getting the motorist to BACK OFF.

    Sorry if that offends and is too “self-righetous!”

  • fdr

    Unless you live in his district, I’d be very surprised if Klein cares about your opinion. If he meets with Beavan there will probably be a nice photo in his next constituent newsletter with a story describing his leadership on transportation issues.

  • mike

    Ace – no, it does not.

  • Michael Steiner

    Ace, in NYC you are allowed to ride on the left-hand side on (wide-enough) one-way streets. In fact, many bike lanes are there (and despite some comments coming up on the blog from time to time regarding the intelligence (or lack thereof) of having bike lanes on the left, i personally think it is a good idea and feel safer on the left than on the right….)

  • I’m glad Colin’s Ok. Last year I found myself bouncing off the side of a white van that was trying to change lanes straight through me… I managed to stay upright but I was shaking like a leaf afterwards. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. It really made me realise how vulnerable we are out there and how it could all go pear-shaped just because a driver takes two seconds to examine what he found in his nose, or to be fair, because we make a stupid mistake.

    Colin, I hope something good comes of your meeting with Klein. Cyclists, stay careful out there. Motorists, every time you see someone on a bike, pretend it’s your son or daughter. And if that means stopping and giving us an allowance, I’m sure we won’t mind…

  • Grinner

    Ace:

    Very astute. The curbside of the left lane is indeed the left-hand side of the street. Broadway through New York City, however, is one-way and at least 40 feet wide, and, according to the Rules of the City of New York section 4-12(p)(3):

    Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway that carries
    traffic in one direction only and is at least 40 feet wide
    may ride as near as is practicable to either the left or
    the right hand curb or edge of such roadway, provided that
    bicycles are not prohibited from using said roadway.

    Of course, you either knew that (and are baiting), or you really don’t care enough to look it up (and are baiting).

  • People, particularly politicians, have been vulnerable while traveling at least as far back as 1610, when King Henri IV of France was assassinated by a religious extremist while stuck in a traffic jam. This is one reason for the sometimes absurd motorcades that some politicians travel in.

    Many people respond with extreme prejudice to anything that could be construed as an attack on their cars. I think this may be partly because they feel that their cars are all that stand between them and if they don’t defend them with everything they have, they could be the one that’s getting hit next.

    Of course it’s irrational and stupid, but it doesn’t seem to be going away, and it’s one factor that people need to take into account when protecting themselves while traveling on foot or by bike.

  • Ken

    I also called and the person answering the phone said a meeting with Colin would likely take place. She asked for my phone number and address so they could get back in touch, for exactly what reason I don’t know.

    Many years ago, while legally crossing in a crosswalk, I had to stop to avoid being run over by a turning car. As the car passed, I banged the hood of its trunk with my hand. A few minutes later I had the eerie feeling that someone was following me on the sidewalk. About a half a block later a guy shoved me and threatened me with dire consequences if I ever touched his car again. Then his car pulled up alongside, now driven by a woman, and he got inside and they drove off. Touchy touchy.

  • Ace

    Thanks for the information.

    I too knocked on someone’s window once as they drove through the cross walk as I crossed with the light. They stopped, they stopped and got out of the car and threatened to kill me. I pointed up at the red light and kept on crossing and luckily he got back in his car.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    Here’s an idea: Steel cage death-match between Bronx State Senator Jeff Klein and Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker. Two thuggish, entitled scumbags enter. One thuggish, entitled scumbag leaves…

  • Brad

    I know it’s wrong and I would never do it, but sometimes I wonder how much fun it would be to carry around one of those window shattering tools (the ones that sorta look like a hammer with a point on the end) for when I ride my bike.
    I don’t even care if people in cars think that bike riders are crazy and we run red lights or whatever else they think. We still are not in another car and there is NO reason to drive 1 foot away from us or not pay any attention to us at all and almost kill us on a daily basis.

  • Peter

    “Here’s an idea: Steel cage death-match between Bronx State Senator Jeff Klein and Brooklyn State Senator Kevin Parker. Two thuggish, entitled scumbags enter. One thuggish, entitled scumbag leaves…”

    Everybody wins!

  • I have had a similar experience. A motorist actually veered into a cycling lane, hit me and then yelled at me not to touch his vehicle (an SUV of course).

    I hope this gets lots of media coverage…..

  • Rex (#18) an air horn or any other object that emits 140 decibels is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage with one exposure. The people most likely to be injured are not those sealed in cars, but pedestrians on the sidewalk, trapped in open air and surrounded by hard reflective surfaces such as buildings and windows. These devices should be against the law, and as I have said in the past, those who use them should be prosecuted for assault.

  • What would you suggest, Mark? A little tinkerbell is unlikely to be noticed by an idiot in an SUV intent on advertising his terrible taste in music to the entire neighborhood.

    I have an air horn. And I don’t think it’s anywhere near as loud as the reggaeton blasted by twats outside my apartment, or the Farty Davidson that frequently wakes me up at 6am.

  • I would suggest you yell or otherwise settle your differences with motorists without inflicting lasting physical harm on nearby pedestrians. And if you don’t see the justice of that, you’re as bad as the drivers.

  • This is very depressing to think that our senators can be so transparently evil. I have posted the story with links here and to gothamist on my taxiphotoblog.

    as a formerly avid bicyclist, I am absolutely outraged that someone who is supposed to be a public servant, is actually ruining our quality of life.

  • James

    This guy represents Riverdale? I just moved there… this constituent will be phoning his office tomorrow. I’d say I was surprised at this kind of behavior but we all know how nakedly sociopathic NY drivers can be. I’m far too cynical these days to expect elected officials to set a good example for others when it comes to public conduct.

    Maybe next time the trick is to reach through his driver’s side window, take out the car keys, and toss them into the nearest storm drain? Just sayin’.

  • Felix

    Forget the revenge fantasies, I had them for years. Then one time a cab driver reached out of his car and tried to push me off my bike. I wobbled, but didn’t fall, caught up to him nine blocks later, beat him up and got no satisfaction from it. I felt like an animal, dressed in business attire and rolling around the street with him until the cops pulled me off.

    It’s funny how drivers are so sensitive about the car-touching thing. I once had a car on Chambers following me, leaning on its horn, yelling at me for absolutely no reason. I had nowhere to go and gave him the finger, then it drove past me. I wanted no trouble, but as I went to go around it at the next light, I lost my balance and fell a bit and bumped into the car as I came to a stop. The guy in the passenger seat (woman driving) started freaking out and screaming at me. The funny thing was, the car was an absolute piece of shit. It was an old, crappy Chevette type car. Also, the guy was pasty and scrawny – couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds, no exaggeration. They rode alongside me in front of Tweed and he kept screaming, telling me to pull over. It was the strangest thing.

  • RE: “the car-touching thing”:

    When I was helping paint the Century route waaay back in 2000, my friend Diana and I were painting the route in Astoria. She had to paint a directional “C” and got off her bike and leaned it ever so gently against a nearby car. She walked away and suddenly this 200+ pound moron starts sprinting towards her screaming at the top of his lungs from the basketball court nearby. “GET YOUR F***NG BIKE OFF MY CAR!” As she returned to the bike he was a few feet away and spitting saliva and continued yelling mean things. We zipped away around the corner where I gave her a big hug since she was shaking so much. She was very shaken up.

    THe number of scrapes on bikes are too numerous to count. I just got my first of what I would call an expensive bike. After two weeks it already has a scratch. Big deal.

    What is it with people and their cars? I mean it is JUST A CAR!! And from what we both remembered, it wasn’t a brand new car, wasn’t all shinny, nor did it seem like a model that was very popular.

  • Matt H

    Oh yeah – people are crazy-sensitive about this. I’m recalling one instance where a car was westbound on 101st St just past broadway in the curb lane, paused for a second, then decided to _reverse_ into Broadway against the light while my wife and I were crossing in the crosswalk with the pedestrian signal. I knocked on the trunk to alert the crazy behind the wheel as to what she was doing, and immediately got a death threat. Peds walking the other way shouted a “happy holidays” to her. 🙂

    On my rides up the greenway to get home, though, I do occasionally see cars in the 40s and 50s that needlessly block the bike path while waiting for a light to get onto/past West street. Even knowing the outcome, sometimes it’s too hard to resist knocking on their rear windshield as I go by. (Particularly in the case where the tail of the car blocks the northbound side of the path but nobody’s coming on the southbound side at that specific moment.)

    Turnabout is fair play here, though. I can think of an incident where I’ve had my bike parked outside a restaurant, where I can see it. Cue young kids approaching marginally supervised by their chatting parents, idly putting a hand on my bike. It did put me on edge a little.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Clarence to be fair, I really don’t think people should be leaning their bikes on people’s cars. If someone had done the same to my nice, shiny and expensive roadbike without asking I wouldn’t be happy but I would go ballistic like the barbarian in your example and particularly not towards a lady.

    I have a crazy war story too. On an unusually warm December afternoon I was finishing a nice 40 mile ride through the Jersey countryside on said roadbike. As I returned to the old transit oriented town where I live I found myself on a residential street sprinting towards a green light in the center of the lane to avoid the potholes on the right. Now the road I was on only has a 25mph limit and I was approaching Main St which is narrow, full of businesses and only has a 30 mph limit that no one can ever even do due to the traffic. I was going at 18mph (uphill) and when I 50 feet from the intersection, this lunatic driving a brand new sports coup crosses the double yellow, recklessly flies past me on the left side of the road and then immediately cuts across my path to make the right turn onto Main St. Since he was so close and nearly hit me I slapped his car with my open hand to let him know how close he was. To make his maneuver all that more pointless he immediately gets stuck in bumper to bumper gridlock only 20 feet past the intersection.

    Of course he immediately pulls over and goes ballistic on me for daring to touch his car. I too exchange “pleasantries” with the psychopath. I must admit that I have a very bad temper myself. When I realized that there was no reasoning with this maniac and that he wouldn’t be able to go anywhere due to traffic, I kicked with all my might the rear quarter panel his brand new $80,000 car with bottom my cleated feet and sped off into the gridlock.

    I’m not proud of what I did but if anyone deserved it, it was him. Afterwards, I didn’t ride my nice roadbike nor that outfit for many months to avoid being recognized but then again it was winter anyway.

  • makingmark

    In several years of riding in both NYC and Houston (and I can’t believe now the roads I rode in Houston – some of them were absolute racetracks for cars, but I was young and dumb) I’ve had incidents like those mentioned.

    Unfortunately, taking the lane is not a panacea. Many drivers will see it as an act of aggression towards them and their hurry which is oh so important. The last time I took the lane, on a very short crosstown block and heading toward a red light, two scumbags in a huge Escalade (naturally) threw two bottles of soda at me.

    Basically what you have to practice if you want to keep your life in this city is complete non-resistance. Someone want to menace you with their automobile? Just stop and let them go by. Wait till all the other “my hurry is more important than your life” people have passed. Then carry on.

    The sad reality of life in NYC is that so often we are powerless. How many of us are just rats in the race? Our resentment towards that builds up within us. So when we see a chance to exert power (as a driver can with a cyclist), it’s unconscious and irresistable to do so.

  • Larry Littlefield

    See that Escalade? The owner probably took out a variable rate HELOC to buy the thing at the peak of the housing bubble, and now has a mortgage he can’t afford, and is looking for a federal bailout to impoverish our children to pay for it.

    For now, however, he is under tremendous stress due to the debts accumulated to pay for the Escalade and other bling, and ready to crack.

    If our financial system doesn’t crack first.

  • Erin

    I used to bike around NYC, including bike commuting, but then I became tired of almost dying all the time. Now I walk part of the way to work, about 40 blocks, through midtown. Wow. I get almost hit by taxis and delivery vans and black cars (and other cars too) at several intersections, every time I walk. The mornings in Midtown are especially crazy – these people with no manners (and probably no education, which may or may not be their faults) hold down their horns, turn into the crosswalk while you’re there, honk while flying by when their light turned red long ago and your signal has proclaimed walk for seconds already. You know what? You can have this city. I don’t want it. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. If you’ve always been here, then you don’t know that a lot of places aren’t like this. Your heart does not need to race. You do not need to feel this kind of stress. It’s a real shame that a supposedly world-class city like New York can be so harsh and unaccomodating to its citizens. I’m talking to you: NYPD, do your job correctly. Do not keep waving buses and trucks through the intersection for a full ten seconds, literally, after the peds have the opposing walk signal and people have begun crossing the street. People almost died this morning on 6th Avenue for this very reason. DOT, stop pretending that this is a great city for biking and that bike lanes are a great solution when you can’t persuade the NYPD, tied unfortunately with taxis for the arch-nemesis of cyclists designation, to keep the damn cars from parking and driving in them.

    I keep my keys out and my suit well-pressed. If a car gets close enough to me to get keyed, well… sorry. That’s too close for comfort.

  • “You can have this city. I don’t want it. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. If you’ve always been here, then you don’t know that a lot of places aren’t like this….”

    I hear you, Erin. I just got back from Denver. It has a nice pedestrianized area called the 16th Street Mall. But even away from the Mall, walking can be a pleasure — because motorists are much more courteous than in NYC. They obey red lights, don’t violate the crosswalk, and don’t honk.

    It was a bummer to get back here and readjust to rude, loud, dangerous drivers and all the rage and craziness they generate. New Yorkers have a lot to learn about civilized behavior from people in other cities — even car-dominated American cities that we look down on.

  • Emily J.

    Erin, it’s sad to say it, but I completely agree. You expressed perfectly what — depressingly — I have been thinking about a lot lately.

  • If you’ve always been here, then you don’t know that a lot of places aren’t like this.

    Funny you should say that, but it took living in places like Albuquerque, NM and Greenville, NC for a few years to realize that, yes, most places aren’t like New York, and I like New York better.

    Living, walking and biking in those places I used to almost get hit by taxis, delivery vans and private cars on a regular basis. I got plenty of honking and drivers violating the crosswalk and acting like I wasn’t there. If they didn’t run red lights, they practiced jackrabbit starts. There were the sidewalks that just abruptly ended, or were closed for construction with no safe, reasonable alternate route.

    When I was riding my bike, there were also the charming “shotgun” riders who would scream at me out the window to try to startle me. Oh, and the people who hit my wife with an egg when we were out for a walk one evening.

    In short, I found drivers to be just as rude in other parts of the US. Perhaps even more oblivious because of right-on-red. I didn’t spend much time in Denver, but I didn’t feel all that much more comfortable there as a pedestrian. If it’s at all better than NYC, it’s probably because of all the Barnes dances. So I don’t know what you three are talking about.

  • Erin

    No way, dude. The trick is living somewhere that doesn’t suck. And this is a pretty metropolitan place; why assume I’m only talking about US cities? Being honked at every once in a while is jarring but being honked at continuously or essentially living in a long honk is something much worse. Want sidewalks that end abruptly or don’t exist at all? Go to a whole lot of the Bronx, Staten Island, and outer parts of Queens & Brooklyn. I work on projects in these areas. They’re every bit as scary as a lot of suburban neighborhoods in the US. The difference is that the drivers in the five boroughs exert themselves more forcefully than in a lot of other places, through speed and noise. If you spend all your time in a very small number of neighborhoods, like Park Slope maybe, or Williamsburg, you might not realize what the rest of the city is like…

  • If you spend all your time in a very small number of neighborhoods, like Park Slope maybe, or Williamsburg

    Uh, no. Condescend much?

    I assumed you meant US cities, because I’ve heard similar rants about the harshness of New York that have ended with “I’m going back to Akron!” or maybe “I’m so glad I moved to Florida!” (okay, whatever). But I have lived in Paris (under Chirac, not Delanoë) and spent time in plenty of other places. Certainly, Santo Domingo and Bamako are not much more relaxing.

    The difference is that the drivers in the five boroughs exert themselves more forcefully than in a lot of other places, through speed and noise.

    Again, I just don’t see it. Plenty of speed and noise on the Raleigh Beltline, or on Menaul Boulevard in Albuquerque, or on the Champs-Elysées (where a charming Frenchman told me he would break me in two for banging on the trunk of his car). Sure there’s a certain nervous energy, but you get that in most big cities.

    Could we improve things? Absolutely. I think that Delanoë has in Paris, and I’ve been told that Livingstone did in London, and of course Gehl in Copenhagen. Maybe Portland and Davis have a more relaxed attitude. My point is that I don’t think New York is hopeless.

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