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New York: A “Drivers’ Paradise”

Posted By Brad Aaron On September 19, 2007 @ 2:30 pm In Ad Nauseam,Cars,Climate Change | 35 Comments


Move over, biker babes [1]. A presumably tongue-in-cheek article in the Observer heralds the "Californication of New York [2]," thanks to the proliferation of automobiles in "young, lifestyle neighborhoods" like Williamsburg, Astoria and Inwood.

According to the piece, a growing number of suburban transplants see auto reliance as a comforting reminder of home.

"I didn't realize how much I missed the car until I had it here," said Lauren Robinson, a 25-year-old dietician with pixie-cut brown hair, a fetching dimple, and a bearded beau who was dutifully loading groceries into her Honda CR-V. The Honda was a relic of her youth in upstate New York, but she had recently brought it to the city after moving from car-hostile Manhattan to auto-friendly Brooklyn. She didn't really need the vehicle, and, theoretically, she could have grabbed a bus to Fairway. But, as she explained, "It's just so easy to jump in and drive somewhere."

"I don't think you need a car," she said, "but I think it's definitely a plus. And it definitely makes me feel more" -- she paused to search for the word -- "well, not like such a city person."

The article says the relative ease of keeping a car almost anywhere outside Lower Manhattan, due in part to auto-centric development and plentiful parking, makes the city a "drivers' paradise." It even gives a wink to that most heartwarming ritual of suburban youth: drunk driving.

Perhaps the real sign of the car culture apocalypse -- the hint that, when it comes to wheels at least, Williamsburg and Winnetka might not be so different after all -- is the sobriety check that cops have set up on Meeker Avenue, near one of the on-ramps to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway ... A floating barricade of police, batons and breath-a-lizers, just like back home!

And what of the costs, environmental or otherwise [3], of bringing a "four-wheeled friend" to the city?

"It just seems to me, if I stop driving my car, I don't think that's doing anything about the real issue," said Hans, a 31-year-old Williamsburg media guy (and musician, of course) with a receding, Jack Nicholson hairline and Chattanooga drawl, as he eyed his silver Elantra. "I know I'm contributing to it, but the end of the day, I obviously don't feel bad enough about it to not drive my car."

Photo: Love_is/Flickr [4]

Article printed from Streetsblog USA: http://usa.streetsblog.org

URL to article: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2007/09/19/new-york-a-drivers-paradise/

URLs in this post:

[1] biker babes: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/09/06/schwinng-nycs-beautiful-bike-girls/

[2] Californication of New York: http://www.nyobserver.com/2007/honk-vrooom-new-york-drivers-paradise?page=0%2C0

[3] otherwise: http://www.streetsblog.org/2007/09/19/americans-growing-too-large-for-their-cars/

[4] Love_is/Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/love_is/525647532/

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