First Citi Bike, next…Citi World?

Photos by William Skillman

Photos by William Skillman

For many, what irks them most about Citi Bike is its branding aspect. Indeed, some are calling it as much a brilliant advertising campaign as a novel transportation system. In tiny Petrosino Square, where artists and residents are battling a bike-share station placed in their park, Soho artist William Skillman is taking the idea to its logical extreme. He’s been putting up four or five signs per day branding everything in the square, “Citi Tree,” “Citi Weeds,” “Citi Fence.” However, the signs are stolen every day, so every day he puts up new ones. Asked what exactly he means by the “Citi Eye” sign on the bike-share kiosk, he responded, “ ‘Citi Eye’ refers to the giant Darth Vader-looking tower… Is it not for surveillance?” It seems even artist Minerva Durham, below right, who vehemently opposes the bike-share station, can’t escape being “Citi-fied.”

citi,-radical citi-tree,-weeds

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18 Responses to First Citi Bike, next…Citi World?

  1. CorpRaiderOrRider?

    The bike share program is nothing more than a public relations scheme by former deputy mayor under Bloomberg, Ed Skyler, who is now an executive V.P. for CitiBank's public affairs.

    Skyler doesn't give a hoot about biking. He merely concocted this advertising campaign to salvage the terrible reputation of his employee, CitiBank, one of America's top corporate criminals.

    Read this Crain's NY Business exposé:
    How The Financial Crisis Spawned Citi Bike by Annie Karni, an avid cyclist by the way.

    • First of all, thank you CorpRaiderOrRider, for posting this article which I finally had a chance to read now that the school year is finally done. Unfortunately it's NOT surprising that Citi Bank or ["Shiti Bank" as R. Green so eloquently re-named the much well deserved maligned institution]. Although, the program serves a purpose — an alternative to public transportation and taxi/livery cab service, Citi Bank only compounds their greed with their terms and conditions as well as thier price points which compound the wealth they have already amassed from the 2 previous bailouts. The banks have the Charter School complex, private Institutions that steal Public funds [tax $$] match them with private $$ and declare themselves as models to aspire to.
      When Capitalism finally dies off and paper and coin currency has negative [-] value, we will look fondly upon these last days of the American Empire and thank Citi Bank for precipitating the early demise of a dysfunctional system they have helped to destroy. We'll celebrate in the streets with fireworks and the Tour de New York bicycle race on Citi-bikes. In the meantime, when will the DOT finally enforce some laws & write tickets for cyclists who refuse to walk their bikes on the sidewalk or continue to ride their bikes in the pedestrine sections of the parks including Petrosino Park??

  2. About Petrosino Square, there was NO ART happening there UNTIL the racks showed up. 2 installations in 2012, I believe, and I believe nothing else ever. So the racks BROUGHT art back to the square. And now, why don't those artists just cover over all the citi logos on all the Petrosino Square bikes and racks? That would be artistic, and wouldn't hurt anybody.

    • You're simply incorrect: Petrosino Square, formerly Kenmare Square, has a 30 year tradition of public art installations, chronicled by The VIllager in this very issue and seen here:

      Petrosino Square has seen its share of public art displays

      The display of public art at Petrosino Square was interrupted by the renovation and expansion of the park, which lasted from 2008 through 2011. That expansion specifically provided that the open space at the north end be dedicated to public art installations.

      When the original park on this site was created in 1913 the NYC Parks Annual Report from that year noted, on Page 7, that the northern end of what was then called Kenmare Street Park was perfect for the display of public art:

      "At the northern end a small space will be prepared for a garden which, like the many others throughout this borough, will be planted and cared for by the children of a neighboring public school, under the guidance of Park Department gardeners. At the very apex of the plot, where two streets meet (one of the few satisfactory sites in our borough for a monument) some statue may be placed."

      Based on this NYC Parks Report, it can be seen that the inclusion of ART has been an essential part of what is now Petrosino Square since the very beginning, 100 years ago.

      • Pete's got this right. Also, there were years and years of community involvement with the park's redesign, and every proposal included art prominently. NOT ONE proposed a transit depot here. Then, after years of renovation delays (the park was closed 2008-11), in a snap DOT ignores everything that has gone before, goes deaf to any comments that differ from its dictates. it's like North Korea! 208 days and Sadik-Khan will be gone.

    • CorpRaiderOrRider?

      DDartey is one of those zealots who, since the recent controversy over Petrosino, has come to infest The Villager comments section, attempting to promote his fanatical obsession on the rest of us. He lives in Stuy Town. So how would he know anything about SoHo's history – or its art heritage.

      Thank you, Pete Davies & nycosmo, for correcting him and educating those who may fall for his pitiful disinformation campaign, but it will be to no avail. You cannot educate the zealots.
      He is more concerned about himself and CitiBank's corporate image, and his arrogance is exceeded only by his ignorance.

  3. It's hilarious that someone is giving my factual statements on the history of art installations at Petrosino Square a "thumbs down" — but I guess some folks just don't like the FACTS.

    • CorpRaiderOrRider?

      As I said a moment ago, the cycling extremists don't care about Facts, they don't care about art, they don't care about culture, they don't care about neighborhoods, they don't care about parks.
      They care only about their own narrow agenda and are as myopic in their obsession as Mr. Magoo.

      Perhaps we should call them Magooists.

  4. I don't understand why those bikers are parking in art area. Why they need to do such extreme sport in city full of public transportation. Couple times I was hit by bikers who speed toward somewhere. It happened nearly Spring Art Studio. Imagine: during the break you go out for cup of coffee and start to cross street at green light, suddenly – some biker, hits you and runs away without worrying for your condition. (Outsiders helped me, but in studio I returned injured, unable to continue drawing.) _Sure, those bikes do not please the eyes and do not decorate the area.

  5. I love the bikes. I don't support all the complaining I am hearing from some New Yorkers about them. It seems selfish to me.

    (in reply to Nina)
    I have lived in bike friendly cities and being hit by a bike has never really been an issue anyone has talked about. Maybe it has happened to someone but you make it sound like this is going to be a major issue.

    Extreme sport? Seriously? It's not an extreme sport. It's not even a sport in this application-it's a healthy mode of transport. Do you think cyclists are more irresponsible than automobile drivers? Are you saying that hit and runs happen more with bikers? Are you saying you would rather be hit by a car? What makes you think more bikers run red lights than automobile drivers? Maybe New Yorkers would do well to get hit by a few cars and bikes – then the horn honking noise pollution caused by jaywalkers might come down to a liveable level. This is pure ignorance at it's best.

    Change is hard for some people I guess. I remember the 'outrage' of people when seat belt laws and non smoking in bars came to pass. Now it's ridiculous to think that anyone would support a drive against seat belts and no smoking laws. To be against bicycles in your city? That's really strange to me. I can't get behind this. Bikes like this are a must in a city of New Yorks calibre.

    I saw a LOT of art in NYC during my visit. The city needs modern transport solutions. This needs to happen in every city world wide and yes, we will have to give up a few statues. COMPROMISE for the betterment of the whole people.

    EVOLVE –

  6. “ ‘Citi Eye’ refers to the giant Darth Vader-looking tower… Is it not for surveillance?”

    Dude? Really? You're not helping your cause at all. Surveillance?You really feel that the tower is being posted there as a surveillance device? Isn't there an NYPD camera on the the intersection clearly marked already like most intersections in Manhattan? Maybe you should be venting towards the policing policy of your city if your problem is with surveillance. That I could get behind. This just isn't making any sense. OK you're pissed about your art space-I get that. Bicycles are not trying to take over the world-you're going to be OK. I think.

  7. Upon more investigation I am saddened that an American bank (shiti-bank) got their name on this and not a more people friendly company. It's actually hard to support now for me. Sigh. Well…there's a sign for you to post – Shiti-bike. I wonder how much protest there would be if it was an I-bike? Mac-bike pro? I still think people have lost their focus and have no real valuable complaint against the program in general, however my deep seated hatred of the American banking system has now made me a die hard anti citi-bike crusader. All citi-bikes must be destroyed!

  8. Mr Green, I wish you hit by car (seems it's your dream)._Then NYC air would be cleaner.

  9. Nina. During my time in NYC I noticed that pedestrians have no respect for traffic laws. This causes alot of stress on your traffic situation-the most easily recognizable being horn honking-noise pollution and near misses for drivers. Seems really self centered. My comment about people being hit by cars and bikes was made of frustration and I don't wish that fate upon anyone. Your comment about it being my dream makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Now that I have a deeper understanding of the level of consciousness that this thread is wallowing in, I won't return to read any more of it's posts. It's simply a waste of time. I was expecting a backlash from someone as the only posts on here are from anti-bike pro art people but that comment was sillier than I could have imagined. Are we in grade 3? I'm pro art and pro bike and think that the space can hold both. I leave you with a tip. Wait for your turn to cross the street and when you do…look both ways.

  10. Yes, I was mistaken, but I think corpriderraider guy may have overreacted a bit.

    • CorpRaiderOrRider?

      I "overreacted" by simply linking to a Crain's NY Business article, which exposed the real plan behind CitiBank's new foray into bike rentals and the duplicitous cooperation between CitiBank and the Bloomberg crew?

      Get real.

  11. Since Mr. Green decided do not write comments, the whole page looks clean… And it's easier to read people's opinions.

  12. Karen Xiaoquing

    My only complaint about Citi Bike is that if you are riding behind such a bike, you would not be able to tell it is a Citi Bike. If you are to the left of the bike, you can see two emblazoned Citi Bike identifiers, and the same if you look from the right. And, if you look from the front, you see the Citi Bike label on what looks like a computer screen in front of the handlebars. It is definitely an oversight that that they didn't stick a Citi Bike label on the back – after all, they could have easily affixed a label under the seat, much like a license tag. Why not six Citi Bike labels on the bike, not just five?

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