November 28, 2013

NYC DriveBy

As I ride my scooter between Manhattan and Brooklyn, I see homies on motorcycles, most times singly, sometimes in groups. They can act outlaw sometimes, but from what I've seen, it's not much more than what passes for normative NYC car drivers and a lot less outlaw than how bicyclists ride. At the stop light, I nod at eye contact, from coast to coast, there's a brotherhood of two wheeled vehicle riders regardless of the number of cubic centimeters between your legs. I get a nod in return from the homies. Their style is hard, hard like they don't care, harder and more raw in contrast to the stylization of leather clad rock and roll aspirant vapor of most Harley riders. Nazi storm trooper helmets abound, and there is little else that bears a unique fashion signature apart from stand issue Hip Hop apparel.

There is a recent incident in the streets of NYC that has inflamed the news and the reputation of local biker culture. I won't go into depth with a description here, let this link suffice. What I think is central to this story is the rival interpretations of the violent gang versus the spontaneous expression of homie camaraderie. There have been calls for the creation of local dirt bike parks in the city and the critical response ranges between outright repression to Robert Moses style provisions to expressions of futility that they wouldn't be used after all.

Local radio host and news analyst John Bachelor interviewed Sara Maslin Nir about her NYTimes article For New York City's Dirt Bikers, There Is No Place to Ride. In the interview, she referred to youtube videos that you can find by searching with terms like Bike Life, Go Hard Boys and Harlem Legends. I've sampled a few below...

Posted by Dennis at November 28, 2013 12:57 PM

Leave a comment