Welcome to the Big Apple, my hometown. I was in the New York City for Sixth Street Specials’ New Years Eve party and a dog-sitting gig for my son and his wife while they went to Mexico, so I thought I would check out the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show at the Javitts Center to close out the 2007 events. Leaving Animal Planet on the tube to keep him happy while I was gone, I told Archie the French Bulldog I'd bring him the leftovers of my pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli or a knish from the 2nd Avenue Deli or a Sabrett hot dog and not to let anyone in. It was a quick jump to the Jacob Javitts Convention Center on Manhattan's Westside in Hell's Kitchen. If I got bored with the bikes, the New York National Boat Show was running concurrently with the bike show at the Javitt’s and I had credentials for both.
I scammed my way into the almost impenetrable Javitts (actually, I just walked in without being challenged) during setup on Thursday so I could wander among the union members setting up exhibits that, in other venues, lower-paid company employees would do. The usual vendors where on hand along with the major American, European, and Asian motorcycle manufacturers who had large exhibits of their accessory products along with their lines of bikes.
The press preview was 8:30 on Friday morning so I got up real early and meandered west on 34th Street for the free breakfast and the usual media hype. From my perspective, over half the show was devoted to Asian bikes. It’s not just Japanese manufacturers anymore; there are also Korean and Chinese-made bikes on display. Harley, Buell, Ducati, Aprilia, and BMW had displays featuring the latest of the latest models. Big Dog's roving-showcase big rig was there with its load of display bikes. The huge crowd at the show, shuffling around some 300 vendors in this huge hall, was nutso. Dirt-bike schools, road-bike schools, women-only venues, and event promoters,
BUB Enterprise’s Dennis Manning was in-the-house with his record-setting streamliner. Dennis is out on the show circuit almost fulltime accompanied by the guy who drove/rode it to the Land Speed Record of just under 351 MPH, AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr.
Just a couple of days before my arrival, I had read in the New York Times that the famous 2nd Avenue Deli reopened a block away from where I was staying after their 2nd Avenue location was no more. What luck, and it was open 24/7 too. Alas, their food was a disappointment, so between Katz’s on the Lower East Side, Gray’s Papaya in Greenwich Village, and the neighborhood Chinese takeout, my gastronomic needs were well taken care of. One thing that the Big Apple has that a bike rally in inconsequential hick towns doesn’t have or will never have, is great food in all price-ranges. For example, Grey's Papaya sells two Sabrett hot dogs with your choice of mustard, ketchup, onions, or sauerkraut plus a drink for only $2.50 (including tax). Sabrett hot dogs are the best.
At most rallies you’re lucky to get a bottle of water for that. Coffee needs weren't at a cookie-cutter Seattle store, but at the many great independent cafes that are proliferating all over the island. A couple of good coffee houses are the Esspraza or the Café Reggio on McDougal Street between W3rd and Bleeker Street in the West Village. Coffee and a bagel from a street vendor is about half the price of a latte at a Seattle-based store.
The show was probably the last gig to see the Indian Larry Legacy gang from 14th Street in Brooklyn in one piece before they disband and all go their separate ways. Keino and Paul are going to build new businesses and bikes as individual entities. Bobby and Elisa Seeger are going to open a new form of Indian Larry plus other merchandise in Manhattan, probably around Allen and Mercer (just down the street from Katz's Deli) on the Lower East Side or somewhere in that area.
Those of us who attended the Grease Monkey Block Party on 14th street in September didn't realize we were a witness to history, the end of a short-lived tradition started by Indian Larry just months before his untimely passing. I covered the inaugural, the annual, and the final one. They may still put on a block party in Brooklyn or Manhattan. Stay tuned.
News flash! Grease Monkey Mayhem lives. Bobby and his production company, Shiesta Brothers (pronounced shyster), are taking Grease Monkey Mayhem on a month-long European tour this spring along with Jeff Decker, Bill Dodge, Cole Foster, and others. First the Super Rally in Fredericia, Denmark, and then on to the Chianti Hills Hog Rally in Arezzo, Italy, and finally, the Harley-Davidson Euro Festival on the Rivera at St. Tropez, France, After that, it’s home to New York to get ready for Sturgis and they'll be back in Sturgis on Lazelle in August. Bobby plans to make the 3rd Grease Monkey Mayhem bigger and better than ever and plans to make it a memorable Sturgis experience. He’s invited the best-of-the- best to his lot and we will have to wait to see what shakes out. Visit www.greasemonkeymayhem.com for more info.
Jeff Decker was commissioned to sculpt the main statue for the front of the Harley Museum in Milwaukee and that dedication is in June sometime, so he’s got a lot on his plate.Read more...