Commuter Profile: Limor Tomer

Limor has been a T.A. member since 2006.
Image Courtesy Ariana Baurley

What do you do? I’m the General Manager of Concerts and Lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before that, I was an Adjunct Curator for Performing Arts at the Whitney and the Executive Producer for Music at WQXR. I’m also a mother and a huge fan of T.A. and bikes.

When did you start biking? I grew up in Israel, in a small town near Tel Aviv, and my brother taught me how to ride there. When I moved to New York to go to college at Julliard, I started biking in New York, and that’s when I really fell in love with it.

Why? I was in a new and exciting place, and it was a new and exciting way of getting around. It was way before any bike lanes, before helmets. I’d just go down Broadway to school. To think of it now!

What has kept you cycling? Everyone who rides a bike knows this, but when you experience a city by bike, it changes your awareness of everything: neighborhoods, connections, architecture. In the subway, you just select your stop, and you’re airlifted. If you take the train from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, you have no idea about that institution’s relationship to Manhattan or Fort Greene or Prospect Park. No sense of its community and conversation. On a bike, a lot of that is absorbed along the way. It’s this perfect side effect.

There’s also this sense of comfort. I feel like I own the city in a way that I don’t otherwise. When I bike to Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center and lock up outside, I feel like I’m supporting these cultural institutions and the city that holds them together. It makes me feel comfortable; it gives me a sense of intimacy with the architecture.

  What’s your favorite ride? I have so many, but I always think of my first job after college at BAM. I’d ride most of the year, but not the harsh months. When spring came, I’d always feel like they’d tuned up the whole Brooklyn Bridge — as though the cables were shorter and so the bridge was steeper — and as the year went on, they’d slowly tune it down. I love riding over the Brooklyn Bridge thinking of its tuning.

Do you often see other people on bikes arriving at, say, the Metropolitan Opera? No, not often. Biking and opera both need to be normalized even more before that can happen regularly in New York. So often, cultural events and bikes become a big deal—these things that need a careful approach and certain clothes—and I understand why, but they’re also just great things that you can do everyday.

Do you think Citi Bike will help with that? Will it make cycling easier? My first experience with bike share was in Paris, and it was amazing. I was there for a week of meetings—five meetings a day, all over the city—and I rode to all of them. New York’s system needs to expand before that’s really possible, but when I’m downtown, and I see an empty Citi Bike rack, my heart sings with joy.

How would you improve your everyday bike commute? My daughter is 11, and I ride with her to school in the morning. She goes to school near Central Park, and if the park were completely car-free, I would let her ride by herself. I think we need a car-free park, and we should have a kind of middle school Occupy Central Park to get it. I want the thousands of kids who go through the park each day to band together and together and say, “Enough is enough!” What better way to get cars out of the park?