September 4th, 2011

Bicycle led getrification (or: The Mission Street Syndrome)

Homosexuals know they are wasting their time trying to win hearts and minds out there in heartland. The situation is the same for us cyclists, in cities where almost everyone drives. We are queer, in most peoples' eyes. So I suggest we take some leads from the real queers. In the 1970s in New York, gay party animals occupied space nobody wanted in the Meat Packing District. Who would have thought they would price themselves out of that residual space, by making it trendy, and within a few years be marching North into Chelsea, at that time hardly a place the middle classes were vying to occupy either. Now they're pressing further North into Hell's Kitchen, yet another district those average-Joes have been disregarding.

I want to see cycling communities coalescing in areas no one else wants, especially places that drivers and transit users can't easily access. My buddy David, who writes the Architakes blog, took me for a ride to New York's little known district of Red Hook. There is no subway out there, so guess what? There are some real property bargains! And here's the real sweetener: it's a 15 minute bike ride from Red Hook to downtown Manhattan. Who else, but cyclists, could commute to downtown Manhattan from property they bought for a song?

Never mind begging for bike access to places drivers have already ruined. We should use our secret mobility to our advantage, and flag places like Red Hook as bicycling districts. Via social media, we could simply garner consens, that such-and-such part of town is the place to head if you're into bikes, and viola: we would all move there and take over. I'm high enough on this idea, to give it its own fancy name, "The Mission Street Syndrome", so-named because what I'm describing happened, to some extent, on Mission Street in San Francisco. 

   Thanks Edward. The comment you left after my last post, jogged my mind to think of this parallel between queer-space, and cycle-space.