The other day I wrote a blog about my neighbors. Well it got me thinking about all the unusual neighbors I’ve had in the past, but none were quite so noteworthy as when I lived next door to the Hell’s Angels club house in New York City’s East Village.
Usually when I tell people this, their eyebrows raise in amazement thinking I would now regal them with tales of drunken debauchery and violence, but actually, the Hell’s Angels kept very much to themselves, and the block I lived on was probably the safest one in Manhattan, although we rarely saw a cop car drive down.
I never went in the clubhouse itself. It probably would not have been too hard for me to procure an invitation, but even for a rocker chick like myself, I think that was way beyond the kind of trouble I was looking for although I may have ended up sipping tea and commenting on their decor. I did know of one girl who dated a Hells’ Angel (friend of a friend) who got through the relationship uneventfully enough although, as you may well imagine, the break up was not so copacetic.
Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when, one winter night, as I was leaving my apartment I ran into my old friend Brendan who I used to hang with when I was a teenager in Brooklyn. I hadn’t seen him for years. Turns out he was prospecting for the Hells Angels and one of the tasks they designated to him was to keep a fire going outside of the clubhouse throughout the blisteringly cold New York night, even though I hardly think they were about to roast marshmallows.
I don’t really remember how I ended up on the back of Brendan’s motorcycle, but I do remember screaming and holding on for dear life as we headed down the streets of New York doing 35. Brendan finally ended up depositing me at my then favorite local dive and haunt “The Continental”. I gracefully (I hope) dismounted from the bike securing myself a reputation as a badass biker babe which lasted approximately one week and a burn on my calf that lasted approximately three.
Another time, I was hanging out in my apartment listening to music and minding my own business when I heard Aerosmith piping in quite loudly through my open windows. Normally I am tolerant of noise, as long as I am not trying to sleep and I love Aerosmith. However, this particular music was so loud, it completely drowned out the music I was trying to listen to, not to mention, it was post-Permanent Vacation Aerosmith.
I decided there would be no real harm in, very politely asking whoever was playing the music to please turn it down.
When I got out the door, who should I see but THE BIGGEST Hells Angel I have ever seen, on the THE BIGGEST bike I had ever seen with THE BIGGEST ghetto blaster I had ever seem. He was fixing me with his best “Go ahead, make my day” glare as Steven Tyler wailed on about how pink was his favorite color.
Well, as you can imagine, I returned his glare with my sweetest smile, looked both ways as if checking for a friend who, most assuredly was not coming, and returned to the sanctuary of my apartment where I decided that, yes, Aerosmith would be a good musical selection for the afternoon.
- On the Market: Artisanal Porridge Comes to Park Slope; Hell’s Angels Battle to Keep EV Clubhouse; Cameron Diaz Buys In Walker Tower (observer.com)
- Aerosmith Discography (mademan.com)
- Aerosmith Frontman Steven Tyler at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in NYC (autoevolution.com)
- Despite Outlaw Image, Hells Angels Sue Often (nytimes.com)
- Hells Angels ‘prospect’ denies shooting boy, 11 (adelaidenow.com.au)