Uneasy rider! Famous cyclist Schumer ignores our questions about bike lane

The Brooklyn Paper
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Chuck Schumer rolled all over us.

The state’s famously cycling senior senator continued to dodge our questions about his opinion of the bike lane that runs in front of his Prospect Park West home.

The avid bicyclist is in the unenviable position of being married to former city Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, who is one of the biggest foes of the world’s most controversial bike lane.

As such, Schumer has flatly refused to comment on the most controversial patch of earth this side of the Gaza Strip.

And when this reporter cornered him at the Staten Island Democratic Party dinner on Thursday, the senator’s usual eloquence again hit a oratorical pothole.

“I haven’t been commenting on that,” Schumer said.

But this reporter pressed on, asking whether Schumer used the infamous bike lane. The senator, who is known to bike to events on weekend, ignored the question and turned away.

This reporter followed.

We asked general questions, such as where Schumer likes to bike in his neighborhood, but the senator pushed through the crowd and continued to press the flesh with union bosses and Staten Island pols who had gathered to mingle and enjoy a meal of pasta and prime rib.

An aide offered only that Schumer “bikes all over the city.”

“But does he use a bike lane?” this reporter asked.

The aide just laughed.

This fixed-gear reporter tried again as Schumer was exiting, but the senator again ignored him.

Schumer’s reluctance to go on the record about his bicycling habits has been a strange subplot to the story of the most notorious bicycle path in human history, given that the senator’s love for his green Bianchi is almost as well-documented as his wife’s disdain for the bike lane.

Weinshall spearheaded the group that sued the city after it installed the two-lane path along Prospect Park West.

E-mails from members of that group — which were uncovered in a freedom-of-information requests by the Streetsblog website — later raised questions about whether the group tried to use its access to the senator to convince the city to ditch the lane.

In an e-mail from last December, former Sanitation Commissioner Norman Steisel — who is also a leader of the opposition group, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes — wrote a shorthand letter to Weinshall about the bike lane, noting, “Heard abt a purported conversation betwn the mayor and our sr. senator you might find of interest.”

In a second e-mail, the group’s unofficial leader Louise Hainline wrote to a fellow lane opponent, saying, “Schumer can’t help much with this issue, but I have seen him and he doesn’t like the lane.”

Apparently, Schumer is talking to someone.

Check back for updates on this evolving — make that revolving — story.

Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Community from Park Slope says:
Coward. Stand up to your wife.
Nov. 5, 2011, 6:41 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Ask him at one of his famous SundaySlowNewsDay press conferences that he holds to get his mug on TV.

He loves making boogiemen that he can vanquish at those pressers. Super Chuck!
Nov. 5, 2011, 8:44 am
Janet from Park Slope says:
We haven't worked out the concept of married women's having independent careers until two public figures, married to each other, can think differently about a matter of public debate.
Nov. 5, 2011, 9:47 am
Observer from Brooklyn says:
Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna plaaaaaay?
Nov. 5, 2011, 10:46 am
Paco says:
Glad to know this reporter isn't just writing about bike lanes but also rides them himself
Nov. 5, 2011, 11:49 am
S from PPW says:
Janet, if Chuck thinks differently about the bike lane his wife opposes that's fine. He's free to be as independent as a modern man wants.
Nov. 5, 2011, 1:01 pm
Publius from Bklyn USA says:

Why harass the senator? Think you're Morley Safer? Just because you accept a paycheck from Rupert Murdoch doesn't entitle you to be a doosh (purposefully mispelled to get past censor).
Nov. 5, 2011, 3:08 pm
Charles from Bay Ridge says:
If he isn't commenting on this matter - where is the story? I'm not sure that this lane directly has anything to do with his office, and if it doesn't he has no need to speak about it. Certainly not publicly, or In an official capacity.
Why not write an article after you've uncovered some new information - instead of writting about how you were unable to get news from a source?
Nov. 5, 2011, 3:54 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Why does Schumer have to answer these question when it's his wife that is part of the group NBBL, and not him? Trying to interogate a person who doesn't represent the group at all isn't going to help. I can still remember on other message boards when there were those who though that going after me would help them get something on either DDDB or the TTA (Twin Towers Alliance) when I don't represent any of them at all. After reading this, Schummer has become the new Brittany Spears, so as Chris Crocker said, "Leave Brittany alone!" If you really want answers from NBBL, then go to their actual members, and not their spouses, because they may not know everything about this.
Nov. 5, 2011, 5:06 pm
S from PPW says:
If Chuck had no involvement in his wife's crusade to undermine the community process that lead to this vital traffic calming project, then asking him about the bike lane would kinda be off limits.

But Chuck Schumer is fair game because he himself has tried to get the bike lane removed.

Contrary to Tal, it's fair to say Chuck Schumer "represents NBBL," since he represented their position directly to Bloomberg himself.

He is commenting on this story: behind closed doors at private dinners and in direct phone calls to city politicians. Totally okay for the press to ask him about this when given the chance.
Nov. 5, 2011, 5:35 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Let's understand the difference here. Schummer is an actual politician, while his wife isn't. Whatever he decides is mainly based on his decisions, and I doubt his wife has any influence on him. In this country, it's illegal for any politician to be part of any organization as they are already not allowed to still keep any business ties once serving office. Even the quotes from the actual members shows that he has no actual relation with them. Anything you can say about him being with NBBL, I could say the same thing about other politicians who are with TA, but I am sure none of you bike zealouts would like that. Also, isn't his choice and his alone to agree with whoever he wants? You can try to vote him out, but I doubt that just being against a bike lane alone will do it. If he does get voted out, it will probably be because of his defense of CEOs that won't pay their fair share according to OWS. In other words, you guys lost this one.
Nov. 6, 2011, 11:24 am
Lalaland from Kensington says:
Something tells me Chuck has been in politics long enough to know not to criticize his wife's opinions in public.
Nov. 6, 2011, 2:36 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
who listens to anyone from "pleasantille" ? they don't live in Brooklyn and have no opinion.
Chuck comes from East 26th st and went to James Madison HS..he knows the difference from bull —— and bull ——ters.
Nov. 6, 2011, 7:57 pm
S from PPW says:
I'm not so sure Chuck knows the difference. His wife has been bull---ting on the subject of PPW for a long time now.
Nov. 6, 2011, 8:41 pm
johnnyboy from windsor terrace says:
this has to be a first.
chuckie boy has nothing to say, i guess his mouth only works when he's looking into a camera.
Nov. 6, 2011, 8:58 pm
al pankin says:
let the residents of PPW vote if they want a bike lane..
alot of residents don't want a "part time" bike lane installed year round, it's seasonal.
let the voters decide.
Nov. 7, 2011, 6:26 am
Mike says:
"Whatever he decides is mainly based on his decisions"
"In this country, it's illegal for any politician to be part of any organization"

Ladies and gentlemen, the wit and wisdom of famous troll Tal Barzilai.
Nov. 7, 2011, 9:05 am
Commuter from PPW says:
The residents of PPW have "voted" over and over again. At the March 2011 CB6 hearing, only 11 people spoke out against the bike lane. Over 85 people spoke in favor. Poll after polls shows massive approval for this bike lane and others across the city, and it grows with each passing month. If it weren't for Chuck and Iris, no one would pay attention to NBBL.

Unfortunately, speeding isn't seasonal, which is why the bike lane is a good idea all year round.
Nov. 7, 2011, 9:07 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
because he represents the 1%, and that includes his wife's crazy, lying ways. any questions?
Nov. 7, 2011, 10:14 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
look on the good side; he just follow rules and regulations not on the cell wile driving like the must of the bikers do!!!!
Nov. 7, 2011, 10:42 am
Hotbike from Long Island says:
The solution is to get more people to ride bicycles.
Bicycles are the solution, not the problem.
Nov. 7, 2011, 12:41 pm
Mike from PH says:
By "union bosses" do you mean the democratically elected leaders of labor unions or do you mean the union members' actual bosses -- management?
Nov. 7, 2011, 2:27 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off, Schummer is a senator for the entire state, not just your district. Secondly, why does it matter if he thinks that the bike lane is a bad idea? If there can be politicians that agree with you, why can't their be politicians that disagree with you? They are supposed to reperesent everyone, not just a few. As for the majority who spoke in favor of the plans, I wonder if they happened to be affiliated with bike zealout groups such as Streetsblog, Crtical Mass, and TA, who are known for creating flashmobs in numerous places, which raise a susipicion. Don't be surprised if one of the reasons why Schummer is against the bike lane is because it's barely used and he lives near it enough to be a witness to that.
Nov. 7, 2011, 3:46 pm
dom from carroll Gardens. says:
Take a look at this guy!!!
Nov. 7, 2011, 3:49 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Hotbike, nobody is trying to get bicycles off the road or consider them part of the problem, just to follow the rules like any other vehicle. Is that really too much to ask for? Keep in mind that in most cities and states, bicycles are considered vehicles and must follow the same rules, so anytime there is that so-called ticket blitz that you bike zealouts cry foul on, there were no new rules created, just the police enforcing the ones that already exist. However, acting as if following the rules makes you part of the system when on a bicycle does draw a lot of enemies such as NBBL, so stop acting as if you are part of a special class just riding a bicycle.
Nov. 7, 2011, 5:51 pm
henry ford from bay ridge says:
Hey hotbike, you want bikes, move to China. Oh wait, the Chinese all want to drive cars too.
Nov. 7, 2011, 9:47 pm
Mustachioed Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Schmucky Chucky has to make nicey-nicey with the wifey-wifey.
Nov. 8, 2011, 11:41 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Let's say Schumer took your side. Would you be praising him? The answer would be yes. However, since he disagrees with you, once again, you bike zealouts call for him to be burned to the stake. What is the problem if there are politicians that don't agree with you? Last time I checked, it was a free country and they have a right to their decisions just as much as you guys had to yours'. If you really want bike lanes so much and forcing everyone to ride bicycles, then I suggest go to Zimbabwe and stage a coup to become the next dictator in which you can force everyone to ride bicycles and have bike lanes everywhere because they will be forced to at gunpoint. While you are living in the US, understand that you are in an open society, so everyone has the right to disagree with you.
Nov. 8, 2011, 6:25 pm
Mustachioed Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
There's a great idea for you, Tal -- get out of your parent's basement, get paid well to see the world and become a soldier of fortune. You know so much about terrorists on bicycles, maybe you can put Mugs Mugabe out of business and put everyone in that poor oppressed country onto four wheels.

Think about it. If you survive, come home, and still find you need a life, you can always come back to the Brooklyn Paper site and rant. The difference may be that you'd actually know what you're talking about on some issues.
Nov. 9, 2011, 9:16 pm
Tall Barzicrazy from unPleasantville, NuYuk says:
Mustachioed Pete knew you would attack me peronelly and that just shows that you have no real valid point. I would leave my parent's basement but I can't get up the stairs on account of my 4-bucket-a-day Kentucky fried chicken addiction and the sheer amount of —— filling my body. Those streetsblogger zealouts are in cahoots with several posters here that seek to keep my voice silent. Like Israel I won't be silenced.
Nov. 15, 2011, 2:33 pm

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