Volume 19 • Issue 9 | July 14- - 20, 2006

Garlic run’s motorcycle mayhem doesn’t go down well with Gerson

By David Spett

The 19th annual motorcycle charity event known as Gooch’s Garlic Run was held in Little Italy on Wed. June 21 and probably raised nearly $50,000 for charity, an event sponsor said. But the event — which involved thousands of motorcycles racing about — was not without complaints, notably from City Councilmember Alan Gerson.

“It’s a travesty on many levels,” Gerson said in a telephone interview. “It’s a flagrant violation of the law as well as being beyond the legal limits of the noise code.”

Jeff Hunker, goodwill ambassador of New Jersey’s ninth chapter of the Blue Knights, the police organization that sponsors the Garlic Run, disagreed. He said the event was a success that caused little disturbance. Robert Ianniello, president of the Little Italy Merchants Association, agreed.

“The complaints have been basically nonexistent,” Hunker said. Some of the approximately 2,000 motorcycles that participate are very noisy, but the race sponsors can do nothing about it, he added.

“We control the noise during the event,” he said. “After that, it’s just motorcycles going through the Holland Tunnel.”

But Gerson harshly criticized the run, saying it is wrong to violate the law in the name of charity.

“I present a challenge,” Gerson said. “If they’re really sincere about contributing to the community, I would like to ask them to sit down with me, with my office, and let’s work out a framework so they can have the Garlic Run without the noisy motorcycles.”

The Garlic Run raises money for the children of sick police officers. The entrance fee is $20 per motorcycle, and last year’s event raised $40,000 for the families of four police officers.


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