The Battle of Brooklyn

As daybreak came to Brooklyn Thursday, a pall of smoke still hung in the air from Wednesday’s skirmishes and government forces went from house to house to round up the remaining bands of wealthy rebels.

The dissension that exploded into violence may have come as a surprise outside New York, but many natives saw it coming. “The protests over the Prospect Park West bike lane, the Wisconsin governor — it’s all part of a pattern,” said one young cyclist waiting at a red light and thereby drawing gawkers. “Then this Cassidy thing, well — that was like shooting into a crowd if you ask me.”

Demographics are part of the problem. A large young population with high unemployment outside the barista and atelier classes exists uncomfortably alongside a small number of extremely wealthy people in this tiny nation-state abutting Manhattan. Friction is, in some ways, unavoidable, but it was the advent of bike lanes that drove the haves to what one resident called “batshit craziness.”

At a hastily arranged press conference, a dapper spokesman for the nobility said, “Their lordships vow to fight to the last servant for their right to park wherever the fuck they want, and walk across any street without looking.” He described the desolation many had felt at seeing innocent Jaguars and Bentleys set alight by angry cyclists. “These expensive cars harmed no one,” he said. “They are the true victims here.”

Seeking comment from the bike lobby, reporters sought their clubhouse. “Next door,” they were told at one building. “This is the bike vestibule.”

Expecting a large contingent of heavily armed, humorless bearded men dressed as Jacobins on brakeless ancient 10-speed bikes converted to fixed-gear, the reporters were surprised when a harmless-looking man who identified himself as Bike Snob NYC appeared.

“How is a bunch of people agreeing your post was ridiculous a ‘lobby?’ he said. “Everybody thinks Charlie Sheen is crazy too, but that doesn’t mean there’s a sanity lobby.”

“I guess it just took someone like Cassidy to strike that perfect note of stupidity,” he went on, “a laterally stiff yet vertically moronic alloy of pretention and cluelessness.”

Efforts to reach Cassidy were considered but ultimately not made, since if he has any more comments they’ll be readily found online at The New Yorker’s website.

In one of many ironies, the battles have been taking place across the East River from United Nations headquarters, where dithering over Libya may now be replaced by dithering over Brooklyn. Is there hope for a negotiated solution, or is this ancient Dutch outpost doomed to sectarian violence fueled by wealthy insouciance, huddled masses yearning to breathe free and calls for reinstitution of the death penalty because some cyclists run red lights? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria?

Meanwhile, in Chicago, where dogs and cats have been living together for some time now, our bike infrastructure may soon be enhanced by the Navy Pier Flyover. As you can see, the plan has our dogs and cats at one another’s throats as if we were Brooklynites. God forbid we should spend money on anything that makes anybody’s life better, especially if it’s somebody on a bike who might run a red light somehow, someday, somewhere.

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