Change is the only constant in life.
This is probably the hardest story I have had to write in years. In the slightly edited words of immortal newspaper editor Horace Greeley: “We’re going West, young man!”
When I arrived in NYC the summer of 2015 from Los Angeles, the city immediately spoke to me. It felt like home … ironic, considering the barrage of pre-move comments I received from West Coast compatriots, decrying the Big Apple as a crime-ridden, unfriendly locale which ate newcomers for breakfast. Watch your back, always, I was told.
I found quite the opposite … a place overflowing with artistic talent, motivation, inspiration and surprising kindness, a city where if you take the time to look beneath the hard crust of society, you’ll find a warmth rarely seen today, and a camaraderie built from the common experience of living in close quarters with millions of people who have seen both good and hard times.
Motorgrrl Garage moment ... when the gloves come off. — Rahoul Ghose
The commute on NYC's subway yields stories to tell every day. Walks though Bushwick or Williamsburg hit you in the face with incredible street art. A solo ride out of town to Bear Mountain on a brisk day refreshes the soul. It’s more than enough to consistently inspire this photographer/writer and moto enthusiast.
Politics and economy aside, the city is still very much in touch with its artisans and makers who persist in spite of the odds, giving New Yorkers a host of locally run businesses throughout the five boroughs. Community here is strong.
The city has a spirit, a diversity of peoples and ideas, and a will which rises above misfortune to always move forward. 9/11, COVID-19 … nothing shuts down ‘the city that never sleeps’ for long. I feel at home in a place where people do not suffer fools lightly. For the most part, people here speak their minds and live up to their words and promises, both personally and in business. If you don’t, you get called out.
Before I moved, I was told by one New York native, “most places people tell you what you WANT to hear … in NYC they tell you what you NEED to hear.” Obviously, nothing is absolute … but in my experience over the past seven years, that was the case, more often than not.
The moto community in NYC is strong, diverse and enthusiastic. — Rahoul Ghose
The NYC moto community also persists, grows and prospers despite a limited riding season, constant unwanted police attention in the form of Motorcycle Only Check Points, and local roads which seem almost third world when the snow melts away and spring reveals an obstacle course of potholes, rubble and refuse.
But seasons create a greater happiness, I feel … and a mindset to not take things for granted. Circumstances not only toughen you up, they also breed a special type of humor it sometimes takes a ‘local’ to appreciate. People choose to cope.
As to ‘locals’, I’ve met and become friends with a host of New Yorkers – both homegrown and willing transplants. All step up when they need to, to help friends, to help their community, to support local causes. They don’t always agree with one another. But life would be monotonous and boring if that were the norm.
There are places I'll remember ... All my life though some have changed ... Some forever, not for better ... Some have gone and some remain.
NYCMotorcyclist.com grew out of support from all elements of the local moto community, a belief that all should be treated with respect, and a common love of all things moto.
Our goal was to highlight some of the talented people within … photographers, artists, builders, writers, filmmakers … with features, galleries, and events.
Our Moto and Photos NYC nights with Motoveli magazine were a personal highlight, unfortunately sidelined when COVID hit. Our feature series NYC: Hometown Heroes, with Engines for Change, picked up where that left off to acknowledge and highlight some outstanding, creative and industrious individuals in the community; we talked with several local moto icons about what they did for the city, how they were personally affected by the pandemic, and, literally, what kept them going day to day during the first year of COVID.
Out with a friend and colleague on Thruxton 999 in Industry City — Mark Squitieri
We have enjoyed working with past sponsors and collaborators A & J Cycles, Filipacchi, Kickstarter, Gotham Depot Moto, Godspeed Co., Dapper Tours NYC and east coast koverz … to name but a few. Volunteering with the local Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride team has been an honor as well.
And we feel privileged to have been able to cover and feature numerous NYC events over the past years: the prestigious Brooklyn Invitational, The Race of Gentlemen, Split'n Lanes Dodgin’ Gutters, Indian Larry’s Grease Monkey Block Party, the International Motorcycle Shows, and the 9/11 Ride for Richie.
Then there’s the host of past and current contributors who have donated time, experience, advice, and talents to the NYC Motorcyclist project, including our very own resident moto poet, Sorez the Scribe. We are forever grateful and hope to continue those relationships.
A friend who also in recent years made the move to the West Coast from NYC told me he misses NYC every day. But, as he bluntly put it, New York will always be there. He’ll be back … and so will I. New York IS home.
Going back to Cali, styling, profiling. Growling, and smiling, while in the sun.
In the meantime, I will continue to serve the local moto community I admire so much through NYCMotorcyclist.com from afar … hopefully with the help of some of the city’s standout riders and event organizers, providing new stories, a comprehensive calendar of events and links to make the moto life here a little easier.
For me personally, it’s farewell as of July 1 … not goodbye.
I will take some well-earned NYC attitude out West with me … and a little piece of New York stoicism forever in my heart … to keep things real.
And NYC Motorcyclist will persist, as all things do in this incredible city.
Note: We have reached out to several locals to be our eyes and ears in the city. But if you would like to be involved with NYC Motorcyclist, and have a love for this community, please reach out to us at email@example.com or IM us on Instagram @nyc_motorcyclist. And as always, we are looking for contributors … writers, photographers, artists, and filmmakers who love to ride and document their experiences in the Tri-State area.