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Will Van Dyke Street become Altamont?

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For bikers at a Red Hook motorcycle club, the secluded waterfront neighborhood may seem like hog heaven — but some living nearby are bracing for Harley hell.

The fear is that the club, the Filthy Mad Dogs, will be a rowdy addition to an otherwise quiet block, Van Dyke Street off of Van Brunt Street.

But the reality on the block has been more like the tame aging boomer film “Wild Hogs” than Marlon Brando’s classic “The Wild One.”

We visited the block twice, plus talked to police, merchants and the bikers themselves — it’s all is quiet on the waterfront — save for the periodic roar of a motorcycle engine.

Capt. Thomas Kamper, an executive officer with the 76th Precinct, said he hasn’t tracked any felonies being committed in and around the Dogs’ club. “I don’t see an increase in robberies, no homicides, no shootings — nothing like that associated with them,” he said.

Area businesses said that so far it’s been a smooth ride.

“They don’t cause any problems,” said Richard Corn, co-owner of Uncle Louie G ice cream shop on Van Brunt between Van Dyke and Coffey streets. “I don’t understand — if there was a problem we would call the police, so whoever is saying stuff like that is crazy.”

Corn said one past Sunday, a few bikers came into his shop. “They were harmless. They were just buying ices,” he recalled.

Over at Rocky Sullivan’s bar on Van Dyke, bartender Tony Ferrara said he’s seen no problems in the bar. “Once in a while you’ll hear them go by and they are a little loud,” he added.

On Friday night, this newspaper visited the Dogs’ headquarters, a leased spaced carved alongside a commercial building and protected by a steel gate adorned with the club’s imposing emblem — crossbones and a bulldog, blood dripping from its toothy mouth. During the initial visit, nothing unusual was encountered.

The next day, the paper returned and met members, who were guarded but eventually agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.

They said they are considerate of residents, will enhance the neighborhood, and are simply getting a bad rap.

“I think people just stereotype because we’re a motorcycle club. There’s no noise, and there’s no problems,” said one member.

“They see us with the bikes and they feel there’s danger, because that’s the way we’re portrayed on television — but we’re not like that.”

Another member said the Dogs’ are “family oriented” and are planning a cancer benefit in June, and block parties in the summer. “Right now, this is probably the safest block in Red Hook,” a member declared.

But some people don’t feel safe at all.

“They have huge parties, throw trash on the streets and fight,” said one area resident who requested anonymity out of fear of being targeted by the bikers. “We are basically afraid about what is going on.”

Residents claimed the problem has emerged over the past two months, and is usually at its rowdiest on Friday and Saturday nights.

“They are intimidati­ng,” claimed another area resident, who also wished to remain anonymous.

John McGettrick, the co-chair of the Red Hook Civic Association, warned that as the weather gets warmer, the problem could heat up.

“Quality-of-life violations should be addressed forcefully, especially when issues of traffic safety are potentially involved,” he said.

Capt. Kenneth Corey, the commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, said he’d keep a close watch on the club — even as none of the claims could be substantiated at press time.

“They find a place to hang out that’s comfortable — we’ll make them uncomforta­ble,” he said at a recent meeting of the 76th Precinct Community Council, an civic group that meets with cops.

Bikers are not a new phenomenon in Red Hook, whose geographic isolation and comparatively sparse population make it an ideal stomping ground. In the 1970s the neighborhood clashed with the Ching-A-Ling Nomads, which started off as a street gang and evolved into a motorcycle club.

“We spoke to them and once we got to know them, we saw they were just misunderst­ood,” recalled Ray Hall, the co-founder of Red Hook Rise, a youth organization.

Today, things seem to have gone full circle. According to the Web site classicnystreetgangs.com, the Filthy Mad Dogs were founded in 1980 by the son of a respected member of the Ching-A-Lings.

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Reader Feedback

Jon from South Brooklyn says:
McGettrick has jumped the gentrification shark tank on this one! Van Dyke Street is overwhelmingly an industrial street.
April 28, 2010, 11:43 am
Ching-A-Ling from Bronx says:
No one wants to look for fights and trouble. I'd rather have a beer and a good laugh to tell you the truth. Life is too short for drama, enjoy it with the friends you have and your neighbors because we all know they are your biggest supporters. We all want to live together in peace.
May 3, 2010, 6:26 pm
Joe Dirt from Red Hook says:
Why are they trying to make something out of nothing? most problems come from the yuppy bars late at night. Not to mention the trash they through in the streets.
May 3, 2010, 6:35 pm
Mark from Bushwick says:
you mean Hollister? not Altamont, Altamont was a concert duh. Do your reasearch before you start your fictional psycho bable
May 5, 2010, 7:19 pm
FRANK STYLEZ from SUNSETPARK says:
Why is it when white yuppies move to a neighborhood they want to change everything. Mc CLUBS have been around for years before their time and now they want to get rid of a culture that we were raised with ...THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS !! IF U DONT LIKE IT MOVE OUT!!!!
June 22, 2010, 1:06 pm
BIG NATE from BROOKLYN says:
DONT JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER.THE SAME WAY YOU READ THIS PAGE,NOW READ THE WHOLE BOOK BEFORE YOU START THINKING WHAT THE ENDING IS.
I AM A MOTORCYCLE RIDER. NO CLUB
I SUPPORT EVERYONE.
DIDN"T YOU READ WHERE IT SAYS THEY ARE PLANNING A CANCER RUN IN JUNE.THAT IS $$$ RAISED AND DONATED TO THE CANCER REASERCH.AS WELL AS OTHER BIKERS RAISING $$ FOR OTHER SICKNESSES.
MY NIECE HAS AUTISM AND ITS BECAUSE OF THE BIKERS SHE RECIEVES THE SPECIAL ATTENTION SHE NEEDS..
SO INSTEAD OF JUDGING US GET INVOLED WITH US AND HELP US BY DONATING SOMETHING,, TIME / SPACE/ YOUR VOICE..
WHEN YOU SEE OR HEAR US SAY TO YOURSELF.

"RIDING FOR A CAUSE"

WE LOVE TO RIDE
CANCER
BIKE BLESSING
AUTISM
SIDS
MIA/POW
MARCH OF DIMES BIKERS FOR BABIES
SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS
ST. JUDE
TOYS FOR TOTS
OR JUST OLD FRIENDS GETTING TOGETHER FOR A BBQ AND MEET NEW FRIENDS.
WAVE TO US HELLO WE WILL NOD OUR HEAD TO YOU AND SAY HELLO BACK.
THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLEES YOU ALL.
April 3, 2011, 7:05 pm
coyote from brooklyn says:
COYOTE has only one thing to say and that is.........
(GET OVER IT), IF ITS NOT BROKEN THEN DONT TRY TO FIX IT...............AND THATS THE BOTTOM LINE CAUSE COYOTE SAID SO...............................HAVE A NICE DAY.
April 3, 2011, 9:22 pm
BigDave T.F.C from Parkslope says:
The filthy mad dogs was originally floor master dancers. A dance group and was founded by a brother named Spice not a son of the Ching-a-ling.
Jan. 17, 2012, 10:24 pm

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