Weiner whips it out: Anthony Weiner displayed his Citi Bike annual-membership key during an interview with The Villager on Friday morning. Photo by Lincoln Anderson
PUBLISHED AUG. 9, 2013 | UPDATED AUGUST 15, 2013| BY LINCOLN ANDERSON| During a wide-ranging interview with the editorial staff of The Villager and NYC Community Media last Friday morning, The Villager at one point asked mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner about his position on bike lanes and bike-share.
Weiner said he’s all for bike-share, a.k.a. Citi Bike, and supports expanding the program to all five boroughs. In fact, he has an annual membership to the program, and whipped out his blue Citi Bike key to prove it — then posed for a photo with it.
However, he’s more cautious on bike lanes, saying that “there are good bike lanes and there are bad bike lanes.”
Asked about his well-reported crack about bike lanes that he made at an event with Mayor Bloomberg three years ago, he said it was a joke, and that people don’t seem to have a sense of humor.
Weiner was reported saying to Bloomberg, and has admitted saying, that the first thing he would do when elected mayor was to “have a ribbon-cutting when I rip out all of your f——- bike lanes.” But this was a joke, Weiner said, adding that some people just didn’t seem to get that.
As for bike-share, he said he really enjoys riding the blue bikes back and forth from his home in the Gramercy area to Chelsea Piers when he plays his ice-hockey games there. And he likes the fact that he can just park the cycle on the street, since he doesn’t have space in his apartment for a bike.
Bicycle attorney Steve Vaccaro, a board member of the new group StreetsPAC, said that Weiner has previously publicly specifically criticized the bike lane on Broadway in the Gramercy area, saying that he doesn’t like the bike lane near where he lives. Asked about his feelings on that bike lane by The Villager on Friday, Weiner reiterated his disdain for it.
“Broadway is ridiculous,” he said. “It went from two lanes to one lane. Trucks can’t make deliveries. If they have to deliver wine to a restaurant, they either have to park in one lane of traffic or park on the sidewalk.”
Weiner’s brother, Jason, is the executive chef at Almond restaurant, at 12 E. 22nd St., just east of Broadway.
“There is also this jihadist attitude that’s not going to work with me,” the mayoral candidate further declared. “If I have an administration that makes a mistake, we’ll address it.”
Weiner then repeated his comments about the Broadway bike lane and “jihadist” attitudes — and again flashed his bike-share key — a few days later, on Monday, during an online interview with Ben Smith on Buzz Feed.
On other issues, for example, asked about his position on development, Weiner acknowledged, “I am a pro-development Democrat — I want to grow the city, I want to create jobs. … New York City zoning can’t be white rice,” he said. “It has to be Pad Thai.”
Weiner complained he’s getting treated unfairly by the big media and powerful institutions, noting that, “The Times has already told me five times to drop out.”
“It’s fairly clear I make the big institutions of the city baffled,” he declared. “That I’m in the running makes them apoplectic. Because I basically said, ‘Whatever you think of my circumstances or my candidacy, I don’t give a s—.’ These are the same forces that gave us a third term. The fact that I make them so crazy is proof positive of why I should be mayor.”
The Villager will be providing fuller coverage of the Weiner interview, as well as interviews with the other mayoral candidates, and other local races in the upcoming weeks’ issues.
Anthony Weiner was spotted riding off on a Citi Bike on LaGuardia Place back on July 11 after he participated in a mayoral forum on senior issues at New York University. He told The Villager he has since replaced this old-school Bell helmet with a new free one handed out by the city. Photo by Jefferson Siegel