Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
UPDATED Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn has become an iconic Fifth Avenue institution: the kind of place where you might go with your Mac to get caffeinated and write your app.
To these accoutrements of hipsterdom, add another: the bike rack.
NYC DOT workers were out Thursday morning installing four round bike racks where a car parking spot once was, in front of self-described Park Slope "micro-roastery" Gorilla Coffee. (The auto parking spot will be replaced by one across the street, currently a 'No Standing' zone.)
In an email, Craig Hammerman, manager of Community Board 6, said the spots were approved by the board.
Of the Fifth Avenue spot, he wrote: "The bike racks, planter pots and flexible delineators will be installed first, and the white markings on the road surface will be installed shortly thereafter." Hammerman said the DOT would be restoring the car spot across the street, " by May 31st the latest. When completed, there will be no net loss of vehicular parking to the area, and additional bicycle parking capacity."
Darleen Scherer, one of Gorilla Coffee's owners, tells us that the bike parking was suggested by a customer, who'd heard of a similar move in Cobble Hill. "People mostly walk here, or arrive by bike," Scherer said. "They'd lock up their bikes to a gate, which was really frustrating."
A DOT staffer said there's another such rack at Smith & Sackett, and one on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. The spots have to be requested, and sponsors have to pledge to keep the spots clean, since the bike racks will block street cleaning machines. Here's what the one at Smith & Sackett looked like Friday.
Scherer said the spot had formerly been mostly taken by cars, not delivery vehicles. Her own delivery vehicles park on the corner, in front of a hydrant. Gorilla parking, you might say.