Pay To Come: Why Buy the Cow?

There was a time not too long ago when people thought of New Yorkers as hardy, resourceful urbanites.  While this image persists in certain dark corners of the popular imagination, it is largely obsolete, and the savvy New Yorker appears to have gone the way of the Brooklyn Dodgers and people who say "toity-toid and toid."  Now, people who live in New York have joined the rest of America and become witless consumers, as evidenced by a festival called "The Great GoogaMooga" that took place in Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend:

Here's how the organizers described it:

On May 19th & 20th, 2012, Brooklyn’s historic Prospect Park will transform into an amusement park of food and drink, The Great GoogaMooga. Approximately 75 food vendors, 35 brewers, 30 winemakers and 20 live music performances will be on hand to help us relish some of life’s greatest pleasures—gathering with friends and neighbors to eat, drink, talk, laugh, dance, linger and just . . . be together.

We envision a place where the best chefs and purveyors can serve their food and bring about instant elation. Where everyday food lovers can discover and share amazing new tastes, and where the right slice of pizza can be as treasured/praiseworthy as four-star fois-gras.

And with such an inclusive feel that it will appeal to everyone who eats.

Hilariously, in order to enjoy this "inclusive feel" and the fruits of the 35 brewers' labors, festivalgoers had to first convert their cash into special "Googa Moula," and in order to do so they waited on lines this big:

I'm not sure why you'd subject yourself to this sort of mob scene in a public park in a city that already boasts perhaps the most diverse array of food and drink in the entire world, and in which the cuisine of pretty much any culture you can think of is generally a short bicycle or subway ride away, but I can only conclude that The Great GoogaMooga represents sort of a watershed moment in our popular culture--a Woodstock for the Artisanal Generation which prefers to "douche out" on food in a controlled environment where all the signage is uniformly attractive and quasi-folksy, and in which they can wait on the sort of "epic" lines that make them feel as though they are somehow part of something.

As for me, I stayed as far away from The Great GoogaMooga as possible, though I did pass through Prospect Park at one point and noted that they had valet bike parking:

I suppose that makes it all worth it.

Meanwhile, as people who should know better were turning their real money into Disney Dollars so they could wait hours for a beer and a lobster roll, thousands of Freds were paying something like $200 to ride their bicycles on public roadways in the Gran Fondo New York:

All in all, it was a great weekend in New York City to pay a premium to do a bunch of stuff you can do anytime for little or no money.

Speaking of Freds, a reader in Florida recently spotted the following van:

Which features a cameo from none other than the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret, who plays his role as the token cyclist to perfection:

Of course, the makers of Coco Fit make no representation or warranty that drinking their product will give you the power to travel through time like the time-traveling t-shirt-wearing retro-Fred from the planet Tridork Bret does, but your chances might improve considerably if you get yourself a DeLorean bicycle, which was forwarded to me by another reader:

It's good to know yet another entrepreneur is answering the increasing demand for unpainted and expensive hybrid bicycles:

And that there's now yet another alternative to the Budnitz:

Budnitz, incidentally, now offers four models, and the latest one is called the "Number Four:"

Apparently, it looks great in small apartments:

We created our compact Model No.4 specifically for travel and big city living. This nimble little bicycle is perfect for navigating traffic, jumping curbs and potholes, rolling into elevators, and carrying up stairs. It turns on a dime and looks great in the corner of small apartments.

This is a good thing, since the corner is where the typical Budnitz owner will consign his bicycle for the duration of its service life.  At most, it should see action once a year for that visit to The Great GoogaMooga, at which point the valet parker will surely appreciate how nimble it is.

By the way, as far as I can tell, Budnitz bikes are only available via their website, which basically makes them for douchebags.

Still, the DeLorean is the clear choice for the discerning time traveler, since you can use it to visit the halcyon days of the fixiebike craze--or, failing that, you can just read the San Francisco Chronicle, which yet another reader informs me is only now just getting around to reporting on it:

If you somehow missed the last ten years because you were living in a small Himalayan village, this article is a perfect time capsule of what you missed, complete with the effusive claims of increased awareness that typified the fixed-gear testimonials of the era:

"Because the constant rotation of the pedals encourages you to have a better rhythm and flow while you ride, I feel that the bike is more of an extension of my body than I do with a geared bike," Guity says. Without the ability to coast or stop quickly, riders must anticipate their moves well in advance, relying on a complex technique of leaning forward onto the handlebars and skidding the back wheel.

If a fixed-gear feels like more of an extension of his body than a geared bike does then he must move very awkwardly.  I wonder if he also relies on a similarly complex skidding technique to come to a stop while walking.  Perhaps he runs into restaurants at full speed and just skids into the table in a crash of chairs and flatware, like a baseball player sliding into home plate.

Those were the days...

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