West Side Rag » A Rare Dinner Out, With the Roar of ATVs and Motorbikes On The

Posted on April 28, 2021 at 11:12 am by Carol Tannenhauser

Photo by Carlos Delgado via wikimedia.

By Carol Tannenhauser

It was only our second time out to dinner in the city in more than a year. We stepped from our apartment building like two time travelers, squinting into the sun, missing only a coating of dust and a long, shaggy beard on my husband’s face to look truly authentic. We said good evening to our doorman and headed to meet two of our closest friends at Fred’s, a restaurant on Amsterdam and West 83rd Street.

It was wonderful to see them in person! We were all vaccinated, though still tentative; the women shared an awkward hug. There was pleasure in each other’s company, pleasure in the lovely, not-too-cold evening, pleasure in being out in the world — in New York City, on the Upper West Side, on Amsterdam Avenue, at a table with good friends, on the sidewalk.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, came a calvalcade of ATVs, motorcycles, and motorized dirt bikes speeding up Amsterdam. The noise was deafening. The table shook. I clutched my husband’s arm with primal fear, as I do when we’re on an airplane encountering turbulence. It felt like chaos, anarchy. They’re not stopping for the lights, was my first thought. There’s going to be a crash.

But there wasn’t — and the procession lasted long enough for me to realize that no object, person or vehicle was going to come flying at us from the street. I was able to see individuals: a woman on a motorcycle, a guy on a three-wheeler leaning back so far he faced the sky; another guy whose eyes met mine. He was watching me back and grinning! They were having a great time! Call me a snowflake, but I was in shock. Oh, New York, every time I get comfortable, you come up with something new!

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman is working on a bill to keep speed cameras on, at least in school zones, 24-7, to identify and apprehend those who race on city streets. But, his office told us, “ATVs and dirt bikes don’t have license plates, so speed cameras can’t capture them.”

The NYPD has started to push back. At first they were saying that to intervene would only raise the danger level, but last week they tweeted a warning.

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