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Walking around NYC finding the David Byrne Bike Racks | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Walking around NYC finding the David Byrne Bike Racks

David Byrne Bike Rack on 39th street

David Byrne Bike Rack on 25th street

David Byrne Bike Rack on 44th street

David Byrne Bike Rack on 58th street

David Byrne Bike Rack on Wall Street

David Byrne Bike Rack on 54th street

David Byrne Bike Rack on LaGuardia Pl

David Byrne Bike Rack on Bedford Street

David Byrne Bike Rack on 110th street


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On my last Link Drop post I posted a link to the Gothamist about David Bryne’s bike racks. I thought it was an interesting idea but didn’t give it too much attention about seeing them in person. However being asked about it on twitter I thought that maybe I should. So over the long weekend I mapped out my best route of attack for seeing all of the bike rack designs. I thought it would be a great way to see different parts of the city that I probably wouldn’t have made a destination of seeing. Plus I was hoping that I’d come across some interesting stuff along the way to photograph.

I think a really motivated person could see all of the bike racks in one day – either on foot, bike or subway. For me though I didn’t want to dedicate one whole day, but put in a couple hours for three days. While I knew how to get to all of the locations it still felt like a scavenger hunt. There was a destination yet it still had the fun of discovering something new. One the first day I took Maddie w/ me for the walk. We went to the Olde Times Square (44th Street & 7th Avenue), the Jersey (9th Avenue and 39th Street) and the Chelsea (25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues). Having never walked Maddie through Times Square nor something I like doing myself on a weekend it was an interesting experience. Maddie barked at a skateboarder and I got mad at the slow tourists. In any case we both did enjoy the walk.

The next day I took the train up to 110th street where I found the the first bike rack of the day. It was the Coffee Cup at Amsterdam Avenue between 110th and 111th Street. It was also the first bike rack that I saw being used as such which was good. So far all the racks where cool to look at, but I wasn’t sure how they actually worked. I also liked the location b/c it allowed me to walk the entire west side of Central Park to my next destination. I’d never taken the time to walk an entire side so I was curious to know how long that would take (40 minutes btw). After walking past Central Park I was headed to see the Ladies’ Mile (5th Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets). Once I took the image of the shoe I was headed towards MoMA (54th Street between 5th and 6th). What I thought would be the easiest bike rack to find ironically became the most difficult. On David Bryne’s map and website the location says it’s on 53rd street when it’s actually 54th street. After doing an entire lap around MoMA I felt pretty dumb – how could I have possibly not seen the Ear? It wasn’t until I started a loop the other way that I actually saw the rack. A street vendor was beside it and was blocking the view when I walked by it the first time. Having covered a lot of ground I decided to keep walking south past Washington Square park to find the fourth bike rack called the Villager (LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and West 3rd).

The goal nn the final day was to walk to Wall Street (Wall Street (North Side) between Pearl and Water Streets) and then take the train Williamsburg. Those two areas aren’t places that I visit often though I do find them fascinating whenever I end up there. The only catch w/ Wall St. is that I feel like I’m being watched b/c I’m carrying a camera. Almost every time I start going down the side streets I get mixed up and inevitabely get lost. That happened once again after I found the bike rack. I thought I was headed west back to Broadway but ended up get looped around a couple times. Of course I did end up back on track but it was kind of funny how some old habits are hard to shake off. If there was one place that needs more bike racks, it’s definitely where the Hipster(s) reside (Bedford & North 6th Street). There were so many bikes over there that any new poles or guitars acting as racks I think would be a welcome edition. After finding the bike rack and the last photo taken I had managed to cover a lot of miles on foot and my legs were happy to take the train back to Manhattan.

I thought the whole idea for the bike racks was a great idea. It seems a bit weird to read that they’re only going to be up for a year though. I’m sure the idea of customized bike racks isn’t new and I hope that more cities do stuff to encourage people to bike and give them space to park. I also noticed that each of the bike racks was close to the curb – maybe a foot or two from the road. What’s good about this is that the poles aren’t in front of anyone’s store or blocking any windows. You can read more info on the bike racks above at www.davidbyrne.com/art/bike_racks/index.php and more about the NYC competition at http://nycityracks.wordpress.com/

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