October 13, 2015 / Brooklyn news / Transit Issues / Greenpoint / The Greatest Story Ever

DOT, where’s my car? Greenpointer parks vehicle, returns to find new Citi Bike dock

Racked away: Greenpointer Guilherme Goncalves said he left his car parked at Huron and Franklin streets on the morning of Oct. 8, but when he came back from work that afternoon it had been replaced by a new Citi Bike rack.
The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s a dock-out!

A Greenpoint man parked his car on a neighborhood street last Thursday morning, and returned seven hours later only to find a new Citi Bike station in its place.

At first the guy thought it was a prank — but his sense of humor disappeared when he had to spend almost an hour scrambling to track down his vanished vehicle.

“My first impression was I thought it was really funny, like a hidden camera kind of thing,” said Guilherme Gonclaves, who works as a gardener in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Gonclaves said he left his cherished Mazda 3 parked at Huron and Franklin streets the night before, and that it was still there at 6 am as he left for his job across the river.

But when he came back around 1:30 pm to grab the car so he could pick up his wife and daughter from a school function, there was a shiny new bike-rental rack where he had left it, and his wheels were nowhere to be found.

When Ashton Kutcher didn’t pop out to tell him he had been “punk’d,” Gonclaves frantically called 911, 311, and a local towing company — assuming someone had hauled his auto away to parts unknown — then spent around 45 minutes trying in vain to convince police and operators to help him locate his missing motorcar.

Eventually, a nearby homeowner suggested Gonclaves walk around to see if the rack installers had just towed it elsewhere, and he finally breathed a sigh of relief when he found it parked further down Huron Street at West Street.

Gonclaves ultimately lost only a tiny part of his day to the vanishing act, but says he is still a little miffed at Citi Bike and the Department of Transportation, who he claims failed to warn residents not to park at that particular corner and did not leave any indication of where it had relocated his ride once he did.

“It’s not like they took it far away,” he said. “It’s that they didn’t tell me anything.”

A Citi Bike spokeswoman said the company did put up “no parking” signs three days prior to installing the new rack — and provided this paper with photographic evidence — and that if Goncalves had dialed the right number, he would have swiftly relocated his missing Mazda.

“If the resident had called either their local police precinct or our customer service center both would have been able to provide information on where his car was relocated to,” said Dani Simons of Citi Bike operator NYC Bike Share.

Gonclaves said he still loves cycling as much as the next guy and recognizes the importance of accommodating cyclists, but he is now beginning to understand the age-old animosity between two-wheeled and four-wheeled commuters. The large and prolific blue bike-racks — 20 have arrived in Greenpoint since August — are swallowing up precious street space previously reserved for cars, he said.

“I love bikes, but because I have a car, I hate the bikes now,” he said.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated with comments from Citi Bike and to clarify Gonclaves' comments.
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Reasonable discourse

Rob Foran from NYC says:
I love the cars, but now that I have a bike, I hate the cars.

Makes sense.
Oct. 13, 2015, 8:09 am
Justin from Carroll Gardens says:
Brooklyn Paper, the "precious street space previously reserved for cars" is Public Space.

How many privately-owned cars fit in the space now occupied by citibike?

How much of the Public benefits from free parking on public property?

How many people use these citibikes daily?
Oct. 13, 2015, 8:17 am
Whatever from Greenpoint says:
Sorry - I saw at least 3 of those bright yellow signs posted in that area about no parking at least 24hrs beforehand. This guy sounds like the sort that knows they hardly ever actually tow you in that situation played roulette and lost. But not really because, he didn't get impounded, or ticketed, just moved. His animosity against bikers afterwards makes no sense as well since bikers had nothing to do this. People installing the Citibike system did. So I call BS all around on this story.
Oct. 13, 2015, 8:35 am
Brooklynite from Brooklyn says:
Selfish! Why is storing your private property on a public street for free something you feel entitled to? Parking for 20 bikes is a far more efficient use of space.
Oct. 13, 2015, 8:39 am
Steve from Brooklyn says:
Note that the picture shows that this rack is right next to... a parking lot. Perhaps too much of the neighborhood's public space is devoted to storing cars?
Oct. 13, 2015, 8:49 am
Jo from Brooklyn says:
How is this even news?
Oct. 13, 2015, 9:15 am
Brian Van from Gramercy says:
Local Man Doesn't Read Street-Posted Signs, Blames Vast Bureaucratic Conspiracy To Provide Him With Better Transit
Oct. 13, 2015, 9:19 am
erica from flatbush says:
I hate, hate, hate the bikes and all those who ride the wrong way on one-way streets and on sidewalks. You are as much a menace to pedestrians as any out-of-control car driver. The bike lanes put everyone in danger.
Oct. 13, 2015, 9:47 am
Peter Engel from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Cutesy clickbait headline, faux outrage, tired bikers vs motorist clash, one-man account, no DOT/Citi Bike comment. Typical nothing story from digital fish wrapper, aka Brooklyn Paper.
Oct. 13, 2015, 9:56 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
Erica says: "You are as much a menace to pedestrians as any out-of-control car driver."

Noooooooooope. This is just dumb and wrong if you take two seconds to think about it.
Oct. 13, 2015, 9:56 am
Mustach Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Typical Brooklyn Paper non-story: Cutesy clickbait headline, tired bikers vs motorist clash, one person account, no attempt to get comment from DOT or Citi Bike.
Oct. 13, 2015, 10:01 am
Sprinkles from Manhattan says:
This is not what 911 is for. Please do not call 911 unless you have a true emergency.
Oct. 13, 2015, 10:58 am
Ian from 11206 says:
This is not a news story. This isn't even enough drama for half hour episode of GIRLS. Was this just an attempt by the Brooklyn Paper to create a platform to rail against CitiBike, a service that has been overwhelmingly successful and popular?
Oct. 13, 2015, 11:12 am
Southerner from says:
What a whiny little crybaby. As usual, people can't pay attention to their cars, their electronics, their children, their pets, etc etc etc. It's always easier to blame someone else than it is to admit that you are an idiot.
Oct. 13, 2015, 11:50 am
Paul from Greenpoint says:
I was there just as they pulled the flatbed truck up to install the city bikes. There were blue do-not-park signs posted the previous day and most people had already moved their cars the previous day with the exception of one or two. Guess he was one of the inattentive ones...
Oct. 13, 2015, 12:21 pm
Revenger from NYC says:

Don't get mad, get even. A little black shoe polish applied discreetly to the black citibike seats will have you laughing yourself to tears at the thought of all those Entitled Ones arriving for work with poopy stained pants!
Oct. 13, 2015, 1:04 pm
Tyler from Pps says:
Revenger was that you?
Oct. 13, 2015, 1:32 pm
Tom Rorb from Red Hook says:
Oh look it is the posed hands on my head in anger typical photo the Brooklyn Paper always stoops too which gets people to pick up the paper, stirs controversy and makes the person written about look like an idiot.

Seriously, do you guys realize how many times you have done this for a photo?
Oct. 13, 2015, 2:57 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Revenger -- So, the tax payers pay for the free storage facility for Mr. Goncalves's (and, full disclosure, my) private property.... but it's the people using a shared bicycle to commute to work who are the "Entitled Ones"?!

Jesus give me strength.

(Are bus riders also "Entitled Ones" because bus stops take up parking spaces? What about pedestrians and their pesky crosswalks?)
Oct. 13, 2015, 3:17 pm
Paul from Sheepshead Bay says:
Awww! Poor little fatheaded BABY!! Arrogant is more like it. I'm sure he's the same type of driver who drives right into the Box and beyond, forcing pedestrians and bikers to risks themselves trying to go around his environmental health hazard. If this story serves any purpose it all, it shoves these kind of spoiled ignorant idiots into the spotlight.
Oct. 13, 2015, 5:09 pm
Angry Old Man from Greenpoint says:
So now you're arresting my wife? Good!
Oct. 13, 2015, 7:48 pm
Scott from Greenwood says:
Why can't they find a spot on a wide sidewalk or a dirt/grassy area somewhere to install the racks? Why use street space?
Oct. 13, 2015, 10:11 pm
Ferken Derya from Upper says:
Scott, did you ever notice that Citbikes racks are NEVER in front of a Citi Bank?

They are in front of Chase, HSBC, and Santander.

And there they are taking up public space for private enterprise!
Oct. 14, 2015, 7:47 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Ferken - Really? Uggh.

This isn't a private enterprise. This is a government program, operated by a private enterprise with corporate sponsorship (so taxpayers don't foot the bill). Citi Bank owns the bike sharing program as much as Barclays owns the arena by the Atlantic Terminal.

Do you also react this strangely/aggressively to "public space for private enterprise" when it comes to a snack bar or newspaper stand in the park or on the sidewalk?
Oct. 14, 2015, 10:34 am
da editah says:
Wow! Readers saw write through this one and took the time to say so, often cleverly.
Oct. 14, 2015, 11:28 am
ctp from prospect car park says:
who cherishes a mazda3?!
Oct. 14, 2015, 1:39 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Southside, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
Sometimes, the need for better transportation equity takes a lot of communication, patience and time to work this out.
Oct. 19, 2015, 11:42 am

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