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Cops in bike lanes
9th Avenue, Manhattan
It’s right there in the NYC Department of Transportation’s rule book: “No parking, standing or stopping vehicles within or otherwise obstructing bike lanes.”
Yet as a new Tumblr, straightforwardly named Cops in Bike Lanes, proves, it’s a law that’s repeatedly broken — often by the very people who are supposed to be enforcing it.
“There are certain hotspots (usually near precincts) where there are NYPD vehicles parked in bike lanes regularly,” the Tumblr’s founder, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Salon. The intersection of Hoyt and Schermerhorn streets, for one, shows up repeatedly.
He’s yet to confront a violator, he said, because the parked cars are usually empty. “I like to think that I’d politely and rationally discuss it with an officer if the opportunity presented itself.” Others are perhaps wary of direct confrontations with the NYPD, which doesn’t always have the most bike-friendly reputation.
Illegally parked cop cars aren’t the only thing making it hard to be a bicyclist in the city. “The lack of awareness of lanes and cyclists is easily the biggest hazard I’ve experienced. All too often a pedestrian will walk into the bike lane in a cyclist’s path, or a driver will try to turn through a lane without signaling or checking for bikes,” the Tumblr’s creator said. ”I think that these are all symptoms of the same root problem: Bikes are an afterthought on our streets. If the NYPD, who are supposed to be there to protect all New Yorkers, show such disregard for bike lanes and the safety of cyclists then how can we expect any more from the general population?”
Below, some of the most egregious examples posted so far:
9th Avenue, Manhattan
Hoyt and Schermerhorn Streets, Brooklyn
East Village, Manhattan
DeKalb and Classon, Brooklyn (captured on Google Street View)
Classon and DeKalb, Brooklyn (the dumpster belongs to the precinct)
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email firstname.lastname@example.org. More Lindsay Abrams.
"Californication" (seven seasons)
This show is the current most-unlikely-to-still-be-on champ. It’s perhaps the least-discussed show on Showtime, and has been for years. (David Duchovny won a Golden Globe for the show … in 2008!) Since the show’s mildly buzzed-about early years, the protagonist evidently got in legal trouble for statutory rape and, after that, wrote a musical!
"Entourage" (eight seasons)
Much like “Californication,” this man-centric show started strong and buzzy -- a perpetual nominee at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and a perceived gender-swapped “Sex and the City.” Then it ground on and on, and what might once have been read as a sophisticated satire of Hollywood materialism became a grinding conveyor belt of self-congratulatory guest-star appearances.
"Will & Grace" (eight seasons)
Hey, did someone say “self-congratulatory guest-star appearances?” Look -- it’s Jennifer Lopez, and Cher, and Janet Jackson, and Madonna! The latter seasons of “Will & Grace” effectively ruined the fun of watching the show in syndication now -- will it be a fun and jaunty early episode, or a later episode in which title characters enact an Ibsen play about having a baby together (really) while Jack and Karen meet one pop star or another? The fact that the show hastened a widespread acceptance of gay people that, then, made the show something of a throwback by the time it ended is one thing; the fact that the show itself seemed uninterested in relying on its actors’ sharp comic timing is quite another.
"The King of Queens" (nine seasons)
This CBS stalwart just kind of kept going, exactly as long as was needed to launch Kevin James’ film career. In the show’s final minutes, a formulaic sitcom became a mile-a-minute soap, with the central characters considering divorce and then having two children.
"Frasier" (11 seasons)
Though it ended strong, "Frasier" had something of the opposite problem as “The King of Queens”: While the CBS comedy chucked a whole bunch of plot at viewers toward the end, NBC’s Emmy magnet stayed stuck in familiar ruts, with Frasier questing endlessly for love and Daphne and Niles in fairly unthrilling domestic bliss. The jokes stayed good, but this maybe could have gone one or two years shorter.
"Weeds" (eight seasons)
As “Homeland” viewers may be learning, Showtime isn’t particularly good at keeping its shows coherent over time. (Maybe this is “Californication”’s issue -- we wouldn’t know!) This show changed settings and, effectively, organizing conceits so many times that by the end, it had few earnest defenders.
"Nip/Tuck" (six seasons)
This FX series, too, changed settings midway through, moving from Miami to Los Angeles four seasons in for no compelling reason. The show’s most gripping subplots had a way of petering out (remember the anticlimactic solution to the mystery of the Carver?), and its bizarre tendencies overtook any sense of fun.
"Glee" (five seasons and counting)
The series has, like its sibling show “Nip/Tuck” (Ryan Murphy created them both), switched locations, moving in large part to New York once its core cast graduated high school. But what’s the point of a high school series when the stars graduate? Despite some lovely moments, the show’s heat seems gone, and attempts to get back into the conversation (the school shooting episode, for instance) have been more desperate and tone-deaf than effective.
"Grey's Anatomy" (10 seasons and counting)
Here’s the thing: By all accounts, “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a creative failure. And it’s still widely watched. But when you begin your life as a world-beating hit, anything else seems somewhat marginal. “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed more regular viewers than many shows will ever hope to get in the first place (same’s true of “Survivor” and latter-day “ER,” to name just a few). Those who stopped watching once the Golden Globe nominations petered out may wonder why the show is still on; loyal viewers know better.
"The Simpsons" (25 seasons and counting)
Like the “Grey’s” doctors, the Springfield clan and their neighbors still draw a crowd. But “The Simpsons” is so omnipresent in syndication and in pop culture that the first-run series seems besides the point (not least because, though there are good episodes here and there, the show’s best days are universally agreed to be behind it -- like way behind it, in the 1990s).
"The Office" (nine seasons)
There was a natural break for this show, where it ought to have ended -- with the departure of lead actor Steve Carell in Season 7. The latter years were a creative fugue state, and as NBC’s Thursday night lineup continued to flatline in the ratings, one-time fans could be forgiven at their surprise that the adventures of Jim and Pam kept on unfolding.
"The X-Files" (nine seasons)
Once one of the show’s leads departs and has to be replaced -- as Steve Carell did on “The Office,” or David Duchovny did here -- the show faces a reckoning; if the lead is so central to the show’s plot as to make people wonder how the show could possibly go on, maybe the show shouldn’t. And even “X-Files” superfans might have been happier with fewer seasons of drawing out the conspiracy string toward a famously unsatisfying ending.
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