Backpackers take the city

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 6/7/2013, 4:43 p.m.

On a recent visit to New York City, an out-of-towner noticed that the city was full of backpackers. Everywhere she looked, people were wearing backpacks. I was guilty of this until just recently, when I switched to using a shoulder bag made of rawhide suede. It's constructed to carry my Mac, composition notebook, smartphone and wallet and has a small compartment where I can easily access both my MetroCard and credit cards (the latter I wish I could do without). Getting back to our foreign visitor, who was amazed by such a sight--which, in many cases, was rather unsightly--she went in search of finding the perfect bag and spotted a stylish lady walking down the street, carrying what appeared to be the perfect one.

Totally intrigued and not at all shy, the visitor approached the lady and inquired as to where she had purchased the bag. Openly and honestly, the lady replied that she purchased her bag at a little-known boutique called Artbag, located at 1130 Madison Ave. The lady then went on and on about the details of the bag and all of its various compartments that keep the bag's contents from falling into the "black hole," also known as the bottom of the bag.

Thanking the lady ever so much for sharing, the tourist scurried over to Madison Avenue, where she found owner/manager Chris Moore busy as a bee. The shop not only sells the classiest "in" bags, but also does repairs. Most popular is the Stella bag, named after his wife. While the bags sell for anywhere from $500-$800, let me tell you: They're snapping them up like hot cakes as elsewhere, the same bags are selling for $1,000 or more. Whoa.

Many of you will recall that you read it here first that the city's bike share program was about to kick off. Well, it has, and personally, my views are mixed. First of all, you have to expect that a city like New York is going to try all sorts of things to please some of the people all of the time. Many love the idea of not having to take the train or get stuck in traffic on the bus, all while getting exercise and fresh air. Consequently, the streets are lined with Citibike stands. The bikes themselves are nothing like a Peugeot or racer bike but lean more toward a mountain bike in design. If nothing else, the stands are a good deterrent from jaywalking, because it is almost impossible to step around and through the bike stands, especially if you're wearing heels. While in theory I think it's a good idea, I find it laughable imagining someone all dressed up in business attire, jumping on a bike to ride from one end of Midtown to the other.

Secondly, I guess the idea is a little strange to me, because when I go bike riding, it's an event. I wear my bike-riding clothes, bike-riding shoes, a helmet, sometimes bike gloves, have an attachment for a water bottle and, oh yeah, wear a backpack. Even though it's been years since I've ridden a bike, if I were to ride one now, that would be my getup. Additionally, I would never try to maneuver riding a bike through Midtown traffic. Quelle dommage.