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New York Postcard: A Two-Wheel Tour Through A Suddenly Bike-Friendly Big Apple

One writer discovers that a New York once suicidal for cyclists has given way to a city of bike lanes and cheap public access to this environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

Easy crossing?
Easy crossing?
Christa Eder

NEW YORK — The sun's burning hot, without the faintest trace of a breeze. As early as 9:30 a.m. the temperature hits 30° Celcius (86° Fahrenheit), and it feels like 40° (104° Fahrenheit) because the canyon-like streets between Manhattan’s skyscrapers intensify the heat. But for New York in the summertime these are actually crisp temperatures. Whatever. I’m going on a cycling tour. From Zen Bikes on 24th Street, which many say is the best bicycle shop in Chelsea, I head out on a lightweight model toward the East River.

The first test of courage is immediate. Because 24th Street has no cycling lane, I must navigate between the fenders of cars and cabs. It goes surprisingly well if I make sure not to break the flow of traffic, which means giving clear signals and no dithering. New York drivers seem to be a lot more relaxed and considerate — and they drive more slowly — than the aggressive Munich drivers to whom I’m accustomed.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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