INSIDE NEW YORK CITY’S UNDERGROUND MOTORCYCLE SCENE

WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: Anthony Sansotta

Cops, choppers and burnouts: the underground moto scene in Manhattan is alive and well. 

Green Point, Brooklyn. Mid-September. Just days after the conclusion of New York Fashion Week, the streets are filled with motorcycles. A live band shreds heavy metal at the end of a closed down N 15th Street and the air is filled with the smell of barbeque – the 13th annual Indian Larry Grease Monkey Block Party is in full swing. It’s the first of back-to-back motorcycle filled weekends in Green Point that are capped off by the Brooklyn Invitational. Experience the epic two-wheel-filled week in the city and discover a raging motorcycle scene in the Big Apple.

Brooklyn Invitational, Brooklyn Motorcycle, Root studios, New York Motorcycle scene,

THE VIBE

Droves of riders hang out on the sidewalks during the events, some casually sipping beers cloaked in brown bags while enjoying a seemingly endless parade of motorcycles flowing down the street, each unique in their own right. “As soon as these events happen, out of the wood work come all these ridiculously awesome bikes you’ve never seen,” said motorcycle enthusiast and photographer Jay Cagney. “I don’t know where people are hiding them all the time, but they all come out for those events and it’s really cool to have everyone in one spot.”

THE BIKES

The assortment of bikes on hand is eclectic to say the least. Ranging in age and aesthetic, from old, rusted out hand-built choppers to modern full-dressed, custom painted baggers. Each bike customized in some way; something motorcycle enthusiast and photographer Jay Cagney says comes with the seasons on the east coast. “We always wonder how guys on the west coast ever find time to build their bikes since it’s always nice enough to ride,” said Cagney. “On the east coast you’re forced to not ride for a few months, so every year you stare at your bike during the winter and get bored with it and want to change this or that. It becomes easy to have a somewhat new bike every year just to occupy your time.”

THE TROUBLE

Brooklyn Invitational, Brooklyn Motorcycle, Root studios, New York Motorcycle scene, Indian Larry Motorcycle Block Party

“[The events] get kind of lawless at times,” said Cagney. “The police are always around, but they never really get too involved. They let us do our thing, which is a rare occasion in New York.” The East Coastin’ crew were on hand at the Indian Larry Grease Monkey Block Party to demonstrate the controlled chaos, doing burnouts and wheelies up and down 15th St., as seen in the photos below.

 

AFTER DARK

Brooklyn Invitational, Brooklyn Motorcycle, Root studios, New York Motorcycle scene, Indian Larry Motorcycle Block Party

As the sun sets on the city and the events come to a close, groups of riders begin to disperse into the darkness. Some head to bars, some return home, while others head into the heart of the city for a late night ride. “After the events there’s usually a group of us that head out and get a night ride in. There’s not much car traffic in the middle of the night in Brooklyn, so it kind of feels like you own the street.” said Cagney. “We all typically have pretty shitty headlights, so it makes it interesting to dodge pot holes, but that’s part of the fun in it.”

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01 2017 The Red Bulletin

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