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Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Borough President

April 27, 2011

Via Sheesphead Bites comes this video of Marty Markowitz resurrecting his anti-bike-lane song parody at the Kingsborough Performing Arts Center on April 16.

I’ve already done you the favor of watching this four-minute video, so please spare yourself.  Before singing his “Bike Lane Cantata,” Marty delivers a preamble in which he lambasts bike lanes and the people who support them, woefully miscategorizing even an inch of bike lane support as an effort to ban the automobile.  Like many politicians, Marty isn’t against bike lanes, of course, he’s just against most bike lanes.  He’s really against the bike lane that has absolutely zero effect on traffic or congestion, despite the doom-and-gloom predictions of his 2009 letter to Janette Sadik-Khan. [PDF]  Just as in that letter, Marty makes no mention of safety in this speech.

The man just can’t ever admit when he’s wrong.  If only a borough as great as Brooklyn had the true leader it deserves, not some Chuckle Hut comedian pandering to the convenience of one constituency over the safety and health of all others.

  1. Marcus permalink
    April 28, 2011 7:27 am

    I believe the correct Brooklynese to describe Marty is “maroon.”

  2. Micah Rosen permalink
    April 29, 2011 12:54 pm

    “If only a borough as great as Brooklyn had the true leader it deserves, not some Chuckle Hut comedian pandering to the convenience of one constituency over the safety and health of all others.”

    The problem is that Brooklyn does have the borough president that it deserves, since the sheer majority of Brooklyn is not what you see strolling around Park Slope or the Brownstone Belt. Most of Brooklyn isn’t from Amherst or Berkeley, didn’t study at Vassar or Wesleyan and aren’t multi-media free-lancing marketing specialists or corporate lawyers/ commedian- bloggers with cash enough to live high and mighty in 19th century brownstones. So this Beep gets releected with significant margins because most of Brooklyn does like him or at least sees him as suitably representative. Most of Brooklyn isn’t white and affluent either and so they have real cares about housing and jobs, which this Beep works hard towards addressing. They don’t turn out in droves over bike lanes. Bike lanes are way down the list of concerns. The biking community has a real problem with image. They are the ones that are not representative. Bike commuters sill make up only 1/2 of 1 percent of everyone schlepping to work. Which means they don’t even factor in to elections, though due to concentration in Park Slope, they do have one council member in the 39th. Bikers still come off as affluent white transplants with zero real concerns. I’d say that’s a big problem in a mostly black and minority borough with 40% of the city’s murder rate. But… maybe your types will eventually finish pushing out all the black peple from the brownstone neighborhoods in a few years and then, you’ll have a larger swath of the borough to represent. Good luck with all the Russians and old jews of southern Brooklyn, though. They don’t care about your bike lanes either. And they love Mr. Markowitz.

  3. April 29, 2011 2:04 pm

    Great points, Micah. I agree that bike lanes register low on the political radar, as they should, so why then is Marty devoting so much time to them? This is the third time he’s rolled out this song parody since December. He’s had meetings with NBBL members and written letters on their behalf. His staff has arranged media appearances for upset PPW residents. The BP himself has taken to the airwaves numerous times to rail against pedestrian islands and new street designs.

    Anyone who’s concerned about something as grave as the murder rate should be outraged that Marty has devoted so much time to an issue of such little importance as bike lanes. I’d argue that no matter one’s special interest, Brooklyn still deserves a more serious borough president. James Molinaro is no huge fan of bike lanes, but you don’t typically see him clowning around like Marty.

    The Kingsborough Performing Arts Center is located in Sheepshead Bay, far from the Vassar/Berkeley/Amherst/Wesleyan cocoon of brownstone Brooklyn you describe. Presumably, Marty was in an auditorium full of the types of people more like you, real Brooklynites who don’t trot their organic groceries home from the food co-op on their cargo bikes. Why would Marty devote three to four minutes ranting against bike lanes at an show where most people were expecting to hear some first class performances?

    I can’t blame bicyclists for being obsessed with bike lanes, but what’s Marty’s excuse?

  4. krstrois permalink
    April 29, 2011 4:33 pm

    It’s consistently amazing to me that bike lane opponents who bandy about assorted working class stereotypes totally ignore that most of the people on bikes in this city are recent immigrants who work in the food service business.

  5. Brooklyn Bike Guy permalink
    April 29, 2011 11:40 pm


    You repeat many common misperceptions. Some of the highest rates of bike usage in New York City is happening in outer borough, working class immigrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

    What I think you really need to do is flip your point around: Yes, it’s true. Most of Brooklyn doesn’t care a whole lot about bike lanes. For the most part they are popular or simply ignored by non-cyclists. So, why is Brooklyn’s Borough President so obsessed with bike lanes?

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