I’m heartbroken and angry that eight people were brutally murdered in New York City today on the Hudson River bike path. Many New Yorkers know this stretch of public space to be one of the city’s most splendid and well utilized. These people were out enjoying or exercising on a beautiful day. It’s a hideous violation. There are parents, siblings, spouses and countless friends who are devastated right now. They are crying and I hate it.
I suppose this tragedy does hit closer to home for those of us who use a bike as transportation in the city. Cyclists truly are fragile human eggshells on wheels. But it’s probably just as disturbing for the people who jog or just walk on pathways such as this one. Then again all parts of this city are in some ways vulnerable to terrorist incidents — and as we learned in incidents such as Las Vegas, all places in America are sitting soft targets, even at a big concert. That’s the world we live in.
New Yorkers aren’t going to give in to terror. The city’s cyclists will keep riding. Biking on a path or on the street truly is the best way to get around, and the benefits, physically as well as psychologically, are immeasurable. It is a glorious and exhilarating daily experience.
This city is tough. As New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said today, our spirit won’t be broken. The terrorists would win if we broke down. They would win too, if this beautiful mosaic of a place were to succumb to reactionary elements we see among many of our nation’s leaders — who would use this moment to label or denigrate entire religions or groups of people as dangerous and unworthy of the American dream.
To me, New York City is the epitome of what is good about the promise of America. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Generation after generation, the millions who have come here and made it, will continue to produce the energy and offer up proof that is the promise of New York City — and ultimately, America.
WIth that said, this style of terrorist attack has happened in Europe and now here in New York City. If anything, the city’s pedestrian and especially bike paths — need physical protection, with either boulders or bollards that could stop a car or truck.
New York City will adjust to terrorism. But we won’t give in.