The Streetsblog Carolers Serenade Mayor de Blasio At (Er, Outside) Gracie Mansion!
Our annual anti-car, pro-transit Yuletide songs entertained the masses at the mayor's home in Carl Schurz Park.
It’s a Christmas sing-a-long, so…everybody — a-one, a-two, a-three, a-four:
Car-free streets — it can happen.
Biking network — close the gaps in.
It’s Vision Zero.
We need a hero.
To get us to a biking wonderland.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when the Streetsblog Carolers head to Gracie Mansion to salute the occupant with our renditions of Yuletide classics (with ever-so-slightly tweaked lyrics to keep our choral efforts aligned with our mission).
This year’s concert took place on Thursday afternoon at the residence, where Mayor de Blasio was holed up for a series of holiday receptions. He may have heard our dulcet tones echoing from the mansion driveway, but he did not come out to offer cocoa and cookies to our choral group, which consisted of David Meyer, Reed Rubey, Melodie Bryant, musical director Ric Becker, Chelsea Yamada, Angela Stach, Jessame Hannus, Leslie Merlin and yours truly.
The 12 Days of Christmas
We opened with a classic of the season: “The 12 Days of Christmas,” re-imagined as a wish list of all the things we hope Hizzoner will wrap up for us under the tree this year (click here for the lyric sheet).
Andrew, the Two-Faced Guv’nor
Next up? Our version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” refashioned as “Andrew, the Two-Faced Guv’nor.” Click below to hear it. (For a link to the lyric sheet, click here.)
Here Comes UPS
The third number was a riff off “Here Comes Santa Claus” that turns the joyous arrival of St. Nick into an angry screed against trucks in bike lanes. It’s called, of course, “Here Comes UPS.” (For lyrics, click here.)
(Living in a) Biking Wonderland
The closing number, and one that’s sure to be a classic for Yuletides to come, was the Streetsblog version of “Winter Wonderland,” retooled as “(Living in a) Biking Wonderland.” (To those who would say the song is too harsh on the mayor, Streetsblog would remind that this is a song parody that is intended as satire — and everyone needs to relax.) (The lyrics are here.)
Residents of the Upper East Side seemed pleased with the group’s performance (in that no one yelled from windows or told the carolers to stop). So we got through our gig with nary an issue.
Emboldened by the show, one member of the caroling group planned ahead for a more-ambitious second session featuring street safety versions of Beatles songs. Our lyricist has already come up with a hot take version of “Drive My Car”:
We asked the mayor what he wanted to see
He said, “Vision Zero, ’cause you know me!
“I want to be famous — a man of safety.
“So can you tell me how to succeed?”
Baby, you can’t drive a car!
Bill, you need a Cycling Tsar
Baby, you can’t drive a car.
If you want us to love you.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, yeah!
Now, obviously, we’re not the only ones who had the brilliant idea to combine our favorite Christmas songs with street design activism. In Pittsburgh, an urban policy writer created her own version of “A Christmas Carol” this week, with specific Steel City references. For example, according to the local website, The Incline, in Dana Leahy’s version, “the Ghost of Christmas Past is a steelworker (naturally), Christmas Present is a top 10 list, and the Ghost of Christmas Future looks a lot like … Austin, Texas.”
Perhaps you had to be there.