"Frank Lloyd Riders"
By John Glassie
(New York Times Magazine, June 14, 1998)
Fifth Avenue on New York's Upper East Side. Bastion of old money. Boulevard of luxury living. Biker hangout.
No one knows exactly how many motorcycle riders will roar up to the Guggenheim Museum's doors this summer for ''The Art of the Motorcycle'' exhibition (opening June 26), but officials are expecting a lot. ''On weekends it will be crazy,'' says Ultan Guilfoyle, a museum staff member. ''We're talking with the city and trying to get special parking accommodations. There are lots of neighborhood issues we have to solve.''
Word has it that motorcycle clubs from all over the East and beyond will be aiming handlebars toward the tony confines. ''I think we'll have at least a hundred,'' says Glenn Martin, president of the New Jersey Shore BMW Riders.
The draw is an exhibition of about 100 historically important cycles (ranging from a 1911 Flying Merkel to1995 Aprilia Moto 6.5) parked on Frank Lloyd Wright's circular ramp. The show will also explore themes like ''speed, functionality, sexual representation and outlaw biker culture.''
All of which begs the question: Would Upper East Side residents be wise to refrain from walking their corgis in the neighborhood for a while? Danny (Ox) Higdon, a Harley rider from Jacksonsville, Fla., scoffs at the idea. ''I think all you'll see there will be the rubes,'' he says, referring to ''rich urban bikers.'' Ox may have a point: Lyle Lovett, Harry Connick Jr. and Lauren Hutton are among the celebs who are thinking about rumbling in to see the exhibition.
''I'm trying to talk them into letting us ride up the ramp,'' Hutton says. ''But that's sort of a fantasy.''