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Indian Larry Motorcycles Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary Of The Block Party!

Text and Photos by Richie Pan

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Indian Larry Motorcycles is probably one of the most recognizable names in the motorcycle business today. Their shop, located in Brooklyn, has to be on any true chopper jockey’s “must visit” list. There is constantly a flow of traffic through their doors from kids down the street to entire clubs of people who make a pilgrimage to see the shop that still carries the late Larry Desmidt’s name.


Today, the shop sits just a few blocks over from its original location that many will remember from the fame it garnished through the Biker Build-Off craze. While some of the names and faces have changed, a few things have stayed exactly as they were. 


Bobby and Elisa Seeger -- owners of Indian Larry Motorcycles -- go above and beyond to make sure that the bikes themselves carry the classic look and function that Larry built his name upon. The vibe in the shop is exactly like it was back in the day, but the one aspect that is the point of this article is the Block Party -- their annual celebration of friends and customers.

I attended my first block party so many years ago now it’s hard to say when that was. It was still at the old shop, and almost every year since then I have made it part of my annual schedule. Now this is not because the best bikes in the world are going to show up there, even though they do; it’s not because celebrities will be in attendance, even though they are. For me, this event is the celebration of people who are proud of where they come from. It’s like a classic scene from The Godfather, where everyone just fills the streets for a party. The only difference is that this isn’t a celebration of San Gennaro, and instead of Italians, the street is filled with dirty bikers and chopper jockeys. Man, it’s a scene, and no other event I’ve been to can even compare to the natural vibe and personality of it.

So this year, like usual, the party started days before the event with people arriving early to help get ready for the actual day. Everyone was hustling beer, stealing wooden pallets and cleaning the shop; anything that needed done to make ready. This alone is a great thing to be a part of; a real sense of community is established days before the event even begins. The work goes on late into the night as visitors continue to show up in the big city.


Friday might have come way too fast this year, but with luck and hard work most everything was ready. Elisa had a pre-party all set up in the most famous heavy metal bar in New York: Duff’s. Duff’s has become an institution displaying art and photos all over the walls of the bands who have visited this place through the years. Jimmy Duff -- the owner and namesake -- stands about 6’ 5”, wears a black leather vest and has a long goatee that would suggest he’s been around the world a few times. All the cool kids were there, although my sleeping arrangements didn’t allow for me to hang at the pre-party too long. Zach and some of the boys from West Virginia were more than enough to fill the room with that particular kind of ambience that only we can bring to a joint.

Saturday morning came quick for all of us, but we still put on our game face and went to work. There was still so much to do. This year was the first time that there would be a Smoke & Mirrors Gallery that  featured the work of Darren McKeag, Richie Pan, Seth Leibowitz, Chris Galley, and yours truly (Chris Callen). Each of the five artists had finished works on display, while we also sat and did live art the whole day of the event. The gallery itself was made from NYC wood pallets -- pretty fitting. 


One of the coolest features was a helmet auction that raised funds for the Aidan Foundation. Aidan Seeger, Bobby and Elisa’s son, lost his battle with ALD, and since then, Elisa has made it her goal in life to change the laws that would require screening for this horrible disease. The foundation that’s set up in his name raises money to help other families whose children suffer from ALD as well. So, 13 artists volunteered to paint custom helmets to raise money for that cause. Among them were: Robert Pradke, Seth Leibowitz, Darren McKeag, Risky, Richie Seen, Paul St. Savage, John the Painter, Greg Bemis, Chris Machin, Troy Denning, Ewok, Kostas Seremetis, and myself. This amazing artists came together to donate their time and wonderful art to such a great cause. The finished helmets, that were donated by Biltwell, were on display all day, but the auction will be carried out for the next week. Please go to Indian Larry’s eBay site and make a bid. 


Other entertainment came from a great lineup of bands, a DJ, circus side show acts, plenty of vendors, live tattoo artists, a bike contest and lots of food and beer. 

Hellbound Glory, Wardogs, (all the way from Italy), Judas Priestess, Wrench, Scrapers and Big House Pete played music well into the night. There were killer bikes everywhere you looked -- ten blocks worth actually -- making this the largest block party of them all with an estimated 8,000 people. Our emcee for the day was Little Jimmy, who few people know was actually one of the original oompah loompahs. He’s a funny little shit too. 

Inside the shop there were bikes from the pages of magazines, some of Larry’s originals and of course, the latest from the boys at today’s Indian Larry Motorcycles: a little red Knucklehead called “Bloody Knuckles.” You can check that one out in an upcoming issue of The Horse.

Amazingly enough, the rain held off for the entire day. Even when it came that night, no one cared. The party moved inside, the DJ broke out the gangsta rap, and we kicked it live like the Beastie Boys would! That’s right, repeat after me: No…Sleep…Til Brooklyn! 
--Richie Pan-- 

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