I took this picture on my bicycle on 5th Avenue on Friday.
First, the good news.
I went to get lunch at the deli down the street on Friday. Since I had been out riding my bike through Central Park, I decided rather than go all the way home I would just park my bike in front of the deli, get lunch and then go home. Why go all the way upstairs to put my bike away and then have to turn around and go outside again. I can just do it all at once. Since it was lunch time (around 12:30pm or so) there were lots of business people out and about getting lunch in midtown. I figured it will only take a couple minutes to get my sandwich and a root beer so I just left my bike parked up against a light pole. I didn't bother to lock it up. Who's going to steal it? There were three other delivery bikes from a Japanese restaurant next door and I've been more trusting lately. I mean who's going to walk up and run off with my bike? Slim chance. I go inside, order my sandwich, wait around while they make it, get my bottle of root beer, pay and then head outside. I must have been thinking about something else and was completely lost in thought since I had my lunch and I was hungry. Either that or Alzheimer's. I just walked 1/2 block home. I didn't even give my bike a second though. What was I thinking? I was totally distracted. I must have been thinking about Michael Jackson or something. I left my bike totally unattended on the sidewalk.
Hours and hours later...
It's 10:30pm and I decide on the spur of the moment that I want to go out and see a movie. I'm spontaneous like that. A quick check of Moviefone.com and "The Hurt Locker" is playing at 68th and Broadway at 10:45. I've walked there plenty of times, but there is absolutely no way I'm going to get there by 10:45 if I walk. I hate missing the previews. Oh, I know, I'll just ride my bike. It will take about 5-10 minutes and I'll get there in plenty of time. Ok. And then...hmmm, where's my bike? Oh no! It's on 56th Street, down the block, unlocked! Oops. What are the chances it's still there? 15%? 10%? 2%? I rush down the street and ... there it is. But it's locked up to the other three delivery bikes. There is a note taped to the handlebars. "Call Me. Your Bike Not Lock. Reg." I call the number and five seconds later there is the coolest Japanese delivery guy in New York City who has just come out of the Japanese restaurant next door standing there right in front of me on his cell phone. After a few moments, he unlocks my bike as though it were the most natural thing to do. Of course I tip him and I speed off towards the UWS to the movie theater. Wow. This is not something that happens every day, especially not in a city like this one.
This was the good news.
It was a near perfect, beautiful summer night, ideal weather for a quick bike ride up Central Park South. I get to the movie theater right on time. Everything is smooth as can be. On my way to the the movies, I think about what a valuable lesson I have learned. You can be sure that this time I take the extra time to properly lock my bike up to a No Parking sign in front of the theater.
I go into the movie, quickly buy my ticket at the kiosk and get a coupon for $1 Milk Duds. Things are going well. The movie is crowded, but not too crowded. I get a good seat. The movie is really great. An enjoyable, fast moving action/war movie about a small group of bomb experts during the Iraq war. Super direction, interesting story, compelling characters. $12.50 to see a movie in New York is retardly overpriced, but it was a good movie. It's certainly a hell of a lot better than "Public Enemies" which I saw at a screening last week. One complaint: Loews Lincoln Square is completely disgusting. Please clean up the refreshment counters. The management and staff there are terrible at making it a good experience. I'll take pictures the next time I go there. You'll see what I mean and be horrified at how dirty the area is around where you get your straws and napkins. Anyway, I digress.
Now to the bad news.
So I get out of the theater and on the way down the escalator I'm thinking about how cool it was that Reg, the random Japanese delivery food guy, saved my bike by thoughtfully locking it up. Very nice move and definitely not what you might expect. I get to the revolving doors and head out of the Loews Lincoln Square theater towards my bike locked up on 68th Street and...where's my bike? It was just there two hours ago. It can't be missing, can it? As I look up and down the block, confused for a second as to where I might have locked up my bike, I realize there is an even much better question to ask. Where's the hell is the No Parking sign where my bike was locked? It's missing. And then much to my chagrin, I spot the 10 foot tall No Parking sign lying flat on the sidewalk. There is a hole in the ground where the sign used to be. Someone (or several someones) has taken the street sign right out of the ground, placed it on the sidewalk and walked off with my beloved bicycle. My bike is long gone. Beyond long gone. Stolen. Ripped Off. Vanished. I walked home. You would think that Loews would have some sort of security cams posted outside the theater. It was right there in front of the movie theater. I think the least that they could do is get the street sign fixed. Where's my bike?
Bike Parking Tip #1: Make sure the sign is not loose and can be ripped right out of the ground before you lock your bike to such a sign.