On Sunday, the Greenpoint branch of the Unknown Bikers MC held its fourth annual bike blessing ceremony at their Russell Street home to commemorate the start of the new season.
Following tradition, a priest blesses the bikes of each of the members of the group, and their guests from other clubs, as a symbolic gesture of protection – to ensure the riders’ safety on the streets for the entirety of the year.
At Sunday’s blessing ceremony, more than a hundred motorcycles were parked along the sidewalk. Bikers in black shades, leather pants, and jackets, some emblazoned with the club’s name and the three-horned skull logo, interacted, checked out live music and noshed on the barbeque as they waited for their bikes to be blessed.
“Every year more people have started attending the event and in general there was been more interest because people have spread the word,” said Daniel Sadowski, the president of the club. “Bikers have this tough guy image but they all have good hearts and this is a way for the community to come together.”
It was family affair for the most part – a Sunday picnic if you will albeit with heavy duty motorbikes – kids of all ages ran around curiously looking on and inspecting their parents’ bikes, and others bikers still had brought their spouses to the event.
“Bikers seem to scare people, but we have wives and girlfriends just like everybody else,” said Adam Lomotowski, the secretary of the club. “We are all about making this a family affair.”
Marek Sobczak, the priest at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, was in charge of the ceremony at Sunday’s event. He dipped a small broom in the holy water he had brought along, and made his way from one bike to the next sprinkling each one with it.
“It’s not like this is magic or anything,” he said. “It’s really about trying to make people remember to be safe on the streets. We ask god for protection and wisdom as we continue to travel on the road.”
The blessing complete, the group continued to partake in the merriment, and energized itself for a new season of biking, as well as community involvement, announcing plans for a kid-friendly event on Sunday, June 1st at McGolrick Park.