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A jarring reminder of a dead biker

The Brooklyn Paper

The scene of a biker’s death has become macabre memorial — a lasting reminder of the mean streets that claimed his life.

Someone stenciled an outline of a splayed body at the corner of President Street and Eighth Avenue in Park Slope to pay homage to Jonathan Millstein, a 50-year-old Boerum Hill resident who died on Sept. 10 after colliding with a bus at the intersection.

The yellow and orange graffiti lists Millstein’s name, the date of his death, and a stark diagnosis: “Killed by bus.”

It is unclear who created the life-sized outline — which is accompanied by flowers and photographs — but biking advocacy groups that paint similar memorials say the jarring monument was likely created by cycling activists.

Activists say that they paint the jarring memorials to draw attention to the fight for ownership of the road.

“The purpose of painting them is to raise awareness to the issues of a city that is used by people, but has been taken over by automobiles,” said Harris Silver, who claims to have come up with the idea to stencil the outline around the city in 1998.

“The base design unit of a city should be a human being and not a motor vehicle,” he added.

Millstein’s family declined to comment.

It is unclear whether relatives were contacted before the outlined was painted.

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Reader Feedback

neighbor from Park Slope says:
I don't feel the outline is at all respectful. It puts politics above decency and discredits an important issue.
Jan. 5, 2009, 8:23 pm
boof from brooklyn says:
It's because of politics that the streets are not as safe as they could or should be.

It's obscene to decry fighting back against unjust deaths.
Oct. 9, 2013, 11:41 am

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