January/February 1998, p.6

Stop Thief! Dakota Realty Steals CityRack

Why have a rack when you can have bike art like this in front of your building? This building, 445 Park Ave, used to have a CityRack. Read the latest news about this issue.

How do you steal city property and get away with it? If the item in question is a CityRack, just say it's "unaesthetic." At least that's what Dakota Realty did when the NYC DOT installed a CityRack in front of 445 Park Avenue. Shortly after the rack was installed, a T.A. member watched as building management removed the rack and carted it away. So much for law and order in Mayor Giuliani's Gotham.

When questioned by the DOT about the vanished rack, Dakota representative Tony Russo admitted removing it. Russo told T.A. building officials threw the rack in the garbage, and said, "There's no way we're putting a rack there. Period." Every two weeks or so, DOT fields a complaint from a property owner or retail manager who objects to a rack for "aesthetic reasons."

DOT's legal team is pursuing the matter with Dakota Realty, but inside sources say litigation is unlikely. 445 Park Avenue ranks in the top 4% of addresses frequently served by bicycle couriers, according to a 1995 bicycle parking study by Breakaway Couriers. And the availability of bike parking there is abysmal. A CityRack at this location is a natural, and it would be feeble of the DOT to retreat in the face of white-collar criminal mischief. Put the rack back!