A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 88: Meet the Super Star

September 24th · 5 Comments

I finally bought a bike! For a while now, I’ve wanted wheels so I could save a few bucks on subway fare and see more of the city. Finding the right steed has been a struggle.

Craiglist is a bottomless well of Fender guitars, erotic masseuses and software developers, but not bicycles. And the Manhattan bike shops don’t sell used ones.

Then, yesterday, I stopped by Recycle a Bicycle on Avenue C. This nonprofit takes donated bicycles, fixes them up and resells them. The profit goes toward training impoverished inner-city kids to be professional bike mechanics.

A red single-speed bike stood right inside the entrance, apart from the others. Tall and thin, with the words “Super Star” on the top tube. Don’t get too excited, Ferris, I told myself. I asked Patrick, the mechanic behind the counter, what they had in the way of single-speed bikes.

He pointed to Super Star. “That’s about it,” he said.

Super Star had me at the test ride. It is an incredibly simple rig, lean and fast. I bought and rode up 1st Street, dodging buses and taxis. I cruised until I got to the U.N. and happened across the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, giving an impromptu press conference at the corner of 50th Street.

I’ll capture a lot more of the city now that I’m seeing it at street level.

Tags: Sights & Scenes

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sam iam // Sep 25, 2008 at 1:49 am


  • 2 Neil Hope family // Sep 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    David, where is your bike helmet?!?!

    Please pass along greetings from Jackson to “Steve, the chess champion :)” Enjoy your family and new nephew. (Isn’t that right, Susan is having a boy?)

  • 3 Kimberly Winston // Oct 2, 2008 at 1:07 am

    I still have the bike I bought when I lived in NYC. It’s red and says “Iron Horse” on the frame. I bought it at a shop near my apt in Hell’s Kitchen. Think I paid about $135 – way back when. It was fun to have a bike in NYC. When I moved up to Washington Heights, I would sometimes, on a weekend, ride my bike all the way down to the World Trade Center (it is all downhill) and then put the bike in the subway and ride home!

  • 4 Super Star Rob // Nov 5, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I write with a matter of the utmost importance. We have something in common, you and I. Namely, the Super Star. I just found this red-white-and-blue beauty, cobweb covered, in the basement of my apartment building in Washington DC. Your article from September 24th is the only evidence on the whole internet that this rare, potentially magical, bicycle model even exists.

    I am writing on the off chance that you can tell me anything at all about this noble steel steed. Ideally I would appreciate technical data, such as manufacturer, age, or planet of origin. Failing that, however, I will float to you the suggestion that the Super Star has sought us out separately. You, spending a year in New York. Me, a relatively recent transplant from lovely New England to Washington DC. Perhaps we are the charter members of a secret organization of Super Stars charged with protecting our respective cities from the devastating effects of patriotically-themed-bicycle-shortages.

    Good luck with your continuing experiment. Your observations on that bizarre city are immensely entertaining.

    Your fellow Super Star aficionado,

  • 5 Ferris // Nov 5, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    This Super Star strain of bicycle really is something special. I haven’t been able to find any markings that identify it as belonging to a particular brand, or even to this Earth.

    Does anyone out there have information on the provenance of the Super Star bicycle? If so, chime in!

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