New York City may have recently introduced Citi Bike, but for some people -- myself included -- there's nothing like having your own ride. In my case, it was this beautiful Electra bicycle, with a vintage-inspired silver frame and white leather accents, which I first spotted in December 2011, and immediately fell in love with. I called it my unicorn. It was light, it was fast, it was just a touch girly; it was mine. Until, that is, it was someone else's.
Two days ago, I decided to take advantage of the glorious weather in New York and bike to work. I arrived at the north-west corner of 9th Street and 4th Avenue in Manhattan at noon, secured the bike with a U-lock and cable to a large metal pole, then went inside to work. When I emerged from the office building an hour and a half later, the bike was gone.
Security camera footage (above) shows a Caucasian male in shorts and a baseball cap approaching the bike from 4th Avenue with a hoodie in his hands. He also appears to be wearing a backpack or messenger bag of sorts. The man walks up to the bike, leans over and, presumably with the hoodie disguising his hands, works the bike for exactly 44 seconds before hopping onto it and cycling away.
My questions are these: How did the guy know to approach my bike? Did someone tip him off? Did the broad daylight only make his crime less conspicuous? In the video, the man doesn't hesitate or circle back; he walks directly to the bike. Is the man in the white shirt standing against the back wall -- who appears to be watching him -- somehow complicit in the crime? The large hoodie the thief is carrying in his hands tells me the scene was premeditated. At the least, the guy was out looking to steal.
But I also have other questions. Did he know that I would cry? Did he know that I biked to work that morning, grinning ear-to-ear on the Manhattan Bridge, enjoying the stupid beauty of the city from the East River? Could he imagine how free I felt at that moment, untied and unburdened by the grime and stink of the subway? Could he imagine how much I loved that bike, and the person who gifted it to me?
The answers are obvious: no he didn't, and no he couldn't. Which is all the more reason to conclude: Fuck you, asshole. (And yes, the next time I bike to work, I'm paying for a garage.)
Video produced by Hannah Levy.