Local Interest: Bridge Repair

Nov 10 2015

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Didn’t they just try to fix the Walnut Lane Bridge a couple years ago?

They’re finally getting rid of the shanty town structure under it and I’d assume buff any graffiti that’s up there.

way off topic but:

I got to find the pictures Dan posted of the Williamsburg Bridge pre-renovation. It was so rugged. Missing planks, holes all the other place, no lights, dangerous characters lurking, and you had to go down the ill, steep path with the stairs at the end always.

I know it’s fixie candyland now, but that wasn’t how it was before.

My friend Jason told me the Pope would pay him to go up there and steal the bulbs from the lights that were there to use in the various grow rooms they had set up in the squats.

I remember Pez got robbed up there in 2000. i think he told me that some dudes lined up across the path and clothes-lined him. I think they just stole his bag and not his bike. If you were on a bike at night with a bag you were targeted like you were working weed delivery. It was real common to get robbed around the East Village/LES for that reason.

Drunk Jay was at a bar in the East Village and got wrecked. He had taken his front wheel off using someone else’s wrench at lock up and didn’t have a way to reattach when it was time to go home. He was drunk enough to think hand tightening the nuts was the way to go. He got up the uphill part and started the downhill. His front wheel knocked into one of the holes and the wheel popped right out. He went down face first and knocked out his two front teeth. When I started work with my longest employer Jay was the first person I met. He had no teeth and I was like “damn.” He said something like “Welcome to the fold”, maybe not that exactly, but something so serious, and I knew I was getting into some shit. I was hype when he got the teeth fixed.

The messengers in New York were so real-a whole different class of wild beasts. In 1996 we went up there for a race. Basically, we got assigned a messenger to chill with us and show us what was up. The race went over the Williamsburg bridge and we were posted up there. They built a clandestine hang-out in the rafters above the path. You had to climb up some girders and there was a perch. Everyone would hang their bikes up and chill. The dude we were hanging out with just started doing pull-ups the whole time we were there. Like I said, they were a different class.

I know Dan told this story before on here, or at least went into so I won’t go crazy.

I know it ended with some wild death metal band playing on a roof in Red Hook during the 4th of July fireworks. The messenger that was the drummer for GG Allin was playing drums. You’d see him working around everywhere riding a beater MTB with fluorescent yellow hair, and fluorescent orange beard. (I think I heard he died in the last couple of years. If so R.I.P. If not sorry, I don’t want to spread false info.)

One more note:
A lot of New York races went over the Manhattan or the Williamsburg. Both of those bridges had an ill set of stairs at the end. No comfortably sloping bike path exit for you. So when messengering was cool and huge in the late 90’s a lot of people would travel to race, it reminded me of the East Coast hardcore scene a couple of years before.

Out of towners would not know about the stairs. This is an era when track bikes were real prevalent for messengers. Everyone flies down the descent of the bridge, someone in front starts screaming back about the stairs, legs lock up and there’s awkward skids and crashes all over. The New Yorkers of course would hop off of their bikes safely and jog down the stairs trying not to laugh at all the rubes.

Lots more Williamsburg bridge stories.

(Note: not to stay a certain segment of Philly messengers wasn’t wild as shit too. Wicked Frame Angel and his squad robbed the back of a delivery truck while being up there for a messenger race. I remember him selling the u-locks they had took there back in Philly.)