Article By: Chris Callen Photos By: Diva Di
Originally Published In The September 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
This past year would mark the ninth Indian Larry Motorcycles’ Block Party and man this has got to be one of my favorite events of the year. Now this is not because of the location, I mean running around New York City on a chopper is badass, but that’s not what makes it. It’s not because of the fact that you see celebrities and freaks, not even the incredible bikes that show up. This event is my favorite for the fact that it lives up to its name. There are no superstar headliners, no hype, and no pretentious cliques. No, the block party is exactly what it sounds like — just kids from the neighborhood who come together for a celebration in the street. With this in mind, I had changed my approach to being on the street that day. My brother Bobby and his wife Elisa had invited me to be there as the magazine, but instead of trying to be Joe paper-pusher for the day, I invited my boy Seth to come along, suggesting that we use the day to paint in the street. Now many consider the part of Brooklyn where the Indian Larry shop is located to be the new Village. Since I am a closet hippy and artist, this would in some minute way be like going back in time and doing the bohemian thing. Of course we would put out some free magazines, I brought “The Ticket” in case we got to ride, but mostly we just sat there, him with his painting and me with mine, digging the day like two idiots, and we weren’t alone. All around us were freaks and creative types, hard-core bikers and members of the family, all just doing their own thing on the block.
But wait, I should state that this was the first time we rolled into Brooklyn with a full crew. Along with Seth, I managed to hook up with Panhead Frank, Matt Reel, Zach and a whole bunch of the boys from West Virginia. When we pulled in the night before the party, it was absolute chaos. I mean, c’mon, there we were, a bunch of hicks loose in the big city, and brother we took it all in! There was of course the obligatory hand shaking and introductions, but we were soon left to run the streets. At some point, a bunch of us decided that we needed to ride the train to Times Square. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea at first, knowing it would be quite like herding wet cats , but soon I was caught up in the thing and started to dig it. The night was a blast and before you knew it, the city was starting to go to bed. Unfortunately, this was when I realized that I hadn’t booked a room. No big deal; I pulled the white devil in front of the Indian Larry shop and crashed. The next day, the street was alive early with the business of shutting down the block. As you can imagine, not everyone in the city is thrilled with redirected traffic, but before too long it was under control. The vendors started to get ready, the stage was getting built and the Twisted Tea was on ice. Seth and I set up a couple of easels and started to paint right next to the world famous Diva Dawn. On site were cool hot rods and chops from the Rumblers, Steel City Choppers rolled in with some great bikes and before you blocks all around Union Avenue, bikes lined the streets and were tucked in every crevasse. Inside, Brian from the Bouncing Souls was doing tattoos and anyone who wanted the famous Indian Larry question mark, got it on the spot.
I have to give a very special thanks to the Master of Ceremonies, 4’4’’ tall Little Jimmy, the self-proclaimed “World’s Smallest Emcee.” Despite his lack of vertical prominence, he commanded the attention of all attendees with his larger than life persona. As expected, the party was complete with Coney Island style sideshow acts as well as first time attendees, Judas Priestess, who continued to rock the lingering crowd well past their scheduled set time. Thanks to all the entertainers of the day: Urban Street Gypsies, Rockets Red Glare, BBQ Bob & The Spareribs, Sea Monster, Wrench, and side show act NY Variety All Stars. There was a killer bike contest with three categories. George from Chaos took “Best Custom,” an old Indian service bike took “Best Vintage” and “Best Paint” was a far-out wizard airbrush job. During the day they raised money for Aidan’s foundation. The proceeds went to a woman in Connecticut whose son has ALD. This year for the tenth anniversary, there will be a booth set up for “Be the Match” where you can get your mouth swabbed and possibly save a child with ALD by becoming a bone marrow donor.
Rest assured folks, the crew at Indian Larry and Genuine Motorworks are already busy dreaming up new ways to make this year’s 10th Annual Grease Monkey Block Party an even bigger success. The lineup right now looks like this: Big House Pete, NY Variety All Stars, Wardogs (all the way from Italy!), Scrapers, Sea Monster, Wrench, Judas Priestess & Hellbound Glory. There will be tattoo artists, an artist section featuring live painting, a custom bike show, vendors, food & beer sponsored by Sam Adams, Cycle Source and Genuine Motorworks. Ten years baby! It should be the party of all time and one not to miss so make plans to head into the city for a day, a weekend — hell stay the week! Mark your calendars for Sept. 21st and I’ll c-ya there!