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Little Italy Motorcycle Ride May Go Ahead Without Approval

February 2, 2010

Little Italy Motorcycle Ride May Go Ahead Without Approval

motorcycles parked downtown after Garlic RunMotorcycles park downtown after completing the Garlic Run. (bklynhog.com)

By Nicole Breskin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

LITTLE ITALY — The Blue Knights Motorcycle Club was barred from hosting its annual “Gooch’s Garlic Run” children’s benefit on Mulberry Street in June by Community Board 2, but the bikers plan to ride anyway.

The philanthropic event benefits children with severe illnesses — such as brain tumors, leukemia, multiple sclerosis — and sees hundreds of bikers, who are active and retired law enforcement agents, ride into Manhattan from New Jersey.

“We’re going to appeal the decision,” said Jeff Hunker, Blue Knights Goodwill Ambassador. “This is our 23rd year, and we’re not going away.”

Community Board 2 denied the Blue Knights a permit last week to close the street for their festival.

“The main reason the application was rejected was because the organization does not have an indigenous relationship with the street being closed or the community affected,” said Evan Lederman, Community Board 2’s Street Activities and Film Permits chair.

“Also, there was an outpouring of complaints about the noise and pollution caused by the thousands of motorcycles.”

The community board’s vote is just a recommendation, and the group plans to meet with representatives from City Councilwoman Margaret Chin’s office as well as Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office to get the necessary permits so the event can move forward.

Last year, the Blue Knights narrowly received approval from the community board after they pledged to give money raised through the event to two local children. But due to a mix-up, only children from New Jersey benefited.

The mayor’s office will render a decision in the upcoming weeks.

Either way, Hunker pledged the Blue Knights will ride in June.

“We’re going to pay the toll to go into city, and we’re going to go to Little Italy for dinner,” he said. “You can’t stop us from that.”

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