Some of my favorite childhood memories are on my bike. I vividly remember the day I learned to ride. My Mom was out in the street with me and told me she was holding the bike. Of course, when I looked back, I was riding off without her. I went around the block about 30 times in a row that day, each time screaming to Mom that I was doing fine and just wanted to do one more time around. How exhilarating that first ride was! As kids, we didn’t have a car at our disposal, so we learned quickly that if we wanted to get anywhere, biking was the fastest way. I remember showing up at town baseball games on my 10-speed and not thinking much of it. Nowadays, kids get driven everywhere (unless they are urban kids like mine and have learned to either walk or navigate public transportation by the age of 2). Likewise, I remember being on the back of my Dad’s tandem bike. We would ride that bike up and down hills, with Dad telling stories up front and us soaking up the moment and loving that, at the slow pace of a bike, we could get more time to spend with him (Dad’s rule on the tandem was that we could quit pedaling ONLY if we were giving him a back rub). Like so many things in life, I didn’t realize how lucky we were to have these special moments on our bikes. Now that I am a parent, I want my kids to have these experiences. I want them to feel the independence, the confidence, the serenity. Don’t we all deserve that much?
Yesterday, September 19, was Park(ing) Day. I had the opportunity to visit a few spots downtown. Each spot had its own theme and vibe, but all of the spots had enthusiastic participants and loads of curious people stopping by to learn more about the allocation of public space. I especially enjoyed the Yahoo site at 13th Street and 6th Avenue. The guys were decked out in purple and had a bike hooked up to a trainer that converted the energy created from bicycling into usable energy on their laptops. The spot outside Whole Foods on 7th and 24th was also fun…they had chessboards, cards, magazines, and even an individual photo booth. My sister was in Los Angeles and sent me a photo of a Park(ing) spot. At first she thought it was a movie set, but then she realized that it was just a bunch of people hanging out and reclaiming a precious piece of space. I hope you got out there and enjoyed the day. Remember, those parking spaces are actually public spaces. How cool it would be if we could use them as such. Check out the day’s events by watching this great film by Streetfilms.
Friday, Sept 19th is INTERNATIONAL PARK(ING) DAY! If you have no clue what Park(ing) Day is all about, join the group. On this special day, people take-over parking spots from cars and use this valuable and scarce public space as a community-building spot. In NYC, we will have approximately 50 spots, each with its own theme and feel. Park(ing) Day is an amazing way to showcase the fact that parked cars take up enormous amounts of space. This is especially atrocious when we live in such close quarters and have relatively small public spaces. Hmmmm, maybe we should get rid of some of those parking spots and use them for people instead. What a concept. Check out the Park(ing) Day site and video. And, look for a spot or two to visit HERE.
Welcome to the Mobilized Mom’s blog! We hope to keep you up-to-date on various events that will give Moms across New York City a platform to voice their desire for a more livable New York City. They say “it takes a village,” and we firmly believe that we can make a village out of this great big city of ours!
Taking back our backyard (a.k.a. Central Park) by getting cars out is a first step to creating a safer environment for our children to live, breathe, and play. To that end, in conjunction with Transportation Alternatives and The Campaign for Car-Free Central Park, we’re hosting a rally on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 4:30 PM. We’ll meet at the Northeast corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West and then make our way through Strawberry Fields to the Bandshell. Please join us, bring your kids, partners, friends, families and enthusiasm!