The city has installed nine new bike racks designed by David Byrne. Each has an evocative name. Top row, left to right: MoMA, Olde Times Square and Villager. Middle row, left to right: Coffee Cup, Wall Street and Ladies’ Mile. Bottom row, left to right: Hipster, Chelsea and Jersey. (Photos: New York City Department of Transportation)
New York City’s bicycle racks have suddenly become much more hip and colorful.
The city’s Department of Transportation, in partnership with the art gallery PaceWildenstein, announced today that it had installed nine temporary bike racks designed by the musician and biking enthusiast David Byrne.
The nine racks — in shiny red, black and silver — are intended to promote bicycling, which has been a main emphasis of the current transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan. That emphasis includes Summer Streets, the program to close off a 6.9-mile north-south route for six hours on three consecutive Saturdays (this Saturday is the last day); the Cityracks program, which provides free sidewalk racks for short-term bike parking; and a design competition for newer, sleeker racks.
Not only was Mr. Byrne, of Talking Heads, a judge in that competition, but he also decided to submit his own designs (outside of that competition).
“It was important to me that these new racks be the same thickness and material as the existing racks—to help identify them as practical bike racks and not just modern art,” Mr. Byrne said. “The locations about as perfect as one could imagine — Wall Street for the dollar sign and Bergdorf’s for the giant high heel!”
Eight of the new racks were installed in Manhattan, with the other in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“By bringing attractive yet functional sculptures to our streets, we are elevating the profile of cycling, and we believe that more and more people will begin to think about cycling as a mode of transportation, and not just a mode of recreation,” Ms. Sadik-Khan said in a statement. “Regular bike riders have an eagle eye for our current bike racks but these nine installations will capture the attention of all New Yorkers.”
The nine racks will be removed about 11 months from now; they were made of durable materials but are intended as temporary public art, not a permanent installation. (A temporary art project cannot remain on public land indefinitely without approval by the city’s Public Design Commission.) Mr. Byrne arranged to have the racks fabricated and hopes to have the chance to sell them, eventually, as works of art.
The department explained:
These new racks will be easy to distinguish from the city’s other 5,000 bike racks, but were constructed with steel with a powder coat to resemble the square tubing from which the current racks are made. Additionally, they will bear identifying plaques. DOT is also developing marketing concepts for the racks, including a bike route map to guide cyclists to tour all nine.
The names and locations of the nine racks follow:
- The Jersey: Northwest corner of Ninth Avenue and 39th Street, near the Lincoln Tunnel
- The MoMA: South side of West 54th Street, east of the Avenue of the Americas
- The Ladies’ Mile: West side of Fifth Avenue, north of 57th Street (in front of Bergdorf’s)
- The Chelsea: In front of 530 West 25th Street, east of 11th Avenue (in front of PaceWildenstein Gallery)
The Hipster: West side of Bedford Avenue, near North Sixth Street, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The Olde Times Square: South side of West 44th Street, west of Seventh Avenue
- The Villager: In front of 536 La Guardia Place, between West Third and Bleecker Streets
- The Wall Street: North side of 82 Wall Street, west of Water Street
- The Coffee Cup: West side of Amsterdam Avenue, between West 110th and 111th Streets