The Indian Larry block party has succeeded in taking over Brooklyn for the love of motorcycles annually and is going on 18 years strong! It's a beautiful sight and a truly a fitting continuation of Larry's legacy and wild spirit. A tradition that people from not just the East Coast but all over the country have come to rely on as a fantastic season ending event. This year brought two very special twists adding the Grindhouse gallery indoor art, photo and custom bike exhibition and Rhett Rotten's Wall of death, something that has not been set up in the city of Brooklyn for many years. Every square inch of concrete surrounding the Indian Larry/Genuine motor works complex was loaded with a variety of entertainment this year and and Bobby, John, and the whole crew worked really hard to make sure this was one for the books. We joined in on the fun again this year and it was definitely a well rounded experience that kept us on our toes to keep up with covering all the action.
Friday night began with the VIP opening of the Grindhouse gallery motorcycles and art show in the facility located just behind the Indian Larry/ Genuine motorworks complex. The all brick historic building which had a nearly 100 year old boiler/furnace still intact creating the perfect backdrop for some good artistic ambiance and setting the evenings mood. The show comprised of around 2 dozen custom bikes showcased in front of the artworks of Darren Mckeag and Makoto Endo as well as photography from Bryan Helm who also helped curate the show. Many of the bikes were special to the event because they each reflected their own different style being built exclusively on the East Coast mainly with the exception of a couple Midwestern builders. Every bike had its own story to tell in regards to a time period in New York chopper culture. Especially with builders like Paul Cox, Indian Larry, "Shovelhead" Austin Johnson and many more.
The art certainly was not just hung for decoration either but more serving as the centerpiece for the entire show. Makoto Endo displayed his work while doing one of his incredible live motorcycle paintings on location during the entire night and stretching into the show the next day. Onlookers gathered throughout the night enamored by his unique chopstick and ink painting techniques where he even at times violently thrashes the canvas for just the perfect stroke. If you've ever have not seen Makoto live paint you must if the occasion arises. His level of focus and skill is certainly worth watching and as always was exciting to see throughout the night as his painting took shape.
Artist Darren Mckeag popular for his unique tattooing and incredibly well defined style of art ranging from many forms and mediums, brought a wide variety of his pieces to display. His main attraction though was his 17 bones exhibit which was an elaborate set of sketchs, he made one a day for the 17 days leading up to the show. Each day a different drawing and a different theme. In addition he also brought many of his New York inspired pieces that had a special connection to Larry or the city itself.
Rounding out the evening the death defying acts of wonder from Rhett Rotten and his Wall of death rumbled the lot just outside of the Indian Larry garages and grindhouse gallery space. Rhett put on multiple shows into the night entertaining hundreds of people and and capping off the evening on a very high note.
Saturday's festivities kicked off with a variety of vendors lining the streets and an impressive array of bikes beginning to flood in packing every street corner and every row of sidewalk space for blocks in every direction. The block party is definitely a "happening" that if you were a local just out for your morning coffee stroll and didn't realize what you were walking into, would be just the kind of shock and awe you'd imagine. From custom paint and engraving, old vintage iron or high performance steel meant for ultimate speed, only the best of V twin bikes and beyond packed in tight rows dozen's deep surrounding the Indian Larry complex. As the spaces continued to fill up throughout the morning the DJ was filling the loudspeakers with a continuous mix of great jams which eventually became muffled out by the sound of echoing exhaust pipes and shredding tires on the side streets nearby. The first of many stunt shows throughout the day had just began.
The various riders of the "East Coastin" crew, a group of daredevil hooligans on performance dynas, baggers and sportsters took to the side streets for their own brand of death defying entertainment by pushing their bikes to the limit of every imaginable threshold. With front tires high in the air and backtires shredding the pavement shooting bits of rubber and smoke in every direction as the crowds gathered. The danger gets more real when teh action is inches from teh crowd but the impressive throttle control of the stunt riders always kept things in check every time a close call got too close. As the last tires were popped and the close calls got closer they finale left the entire street in a cloud of white smoke that could be seen for miles.
As the day raged on Rhett Rotten continued to put on shows in the back lot for hundreds of onlookers while the Grindhouse gallery remained open to give folks a little more refined break from the madness and mayhem out on the streets. Adding an extra flair to the Saturday amenities was an onsite tattoo shop set up in the gallery to offer FREE Indian Larry theme tattoos (The only price a cash tip) a lifetime mark left to commemorate the day and Indian larry. The tattoo lines held out all day long and each piece held a special new meaning to every patron ready to step up and get a momento they would never forget.
As the night creeped in and the shadows began to overtake the streets some sipped one last drink for the road while others visited the Indian Larry store inside to check out the new builds and say hello to Bobby and the crew. Rhett fired up his Wall of Death for a few more late evening shows to keep everyone's blood pumping. The bikes slowly filtered back into the traffic filled streets of New York City. Everyone left with a sense of unity as Brooklyn once again came together to let motorcycles and mayhem take over the streets in celebration of Larry and everything on two wheels.
Photos and words by Mike Vandegriff