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Motorcycles

Residents peruse the selection of classic cars and trucks at a previous year’s event. Photo from John Forlenza

The St. Patrick School Car Show, now in its 11th year, is scheduled for Sunday, April 17, with a rain date on April 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of St. Patrick Church and School in Smithtown.

It will include a huge variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles as well as a large section of movie replica cars and monster trucks. Admission is $5 for adults, children free. Show car admission is $15 and motorcycles $5.

The impressive list of attendees for this year’s show includes a wide range of replica cars such as the Long Island Ghostbuster’s Supernatural TV Show Replica Car, Herbie the Love Bug, Smokey and the Bandit, Kitty Knight Rider and the Sheriff Buford T. Justice Car.

The car show will also feature the 9/11 American Patriot Tribute Car, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department with drunk buggies and the BAT DWI Mobile Unit, a 1958 Plymouth Tribute to Christine, the 1956 Chevy Crankenstein, the 1957 Dragon Wagon, Sal’s Monster Truck and Primetime Trucking’s show truck: Blueprint.

In keeping with its tradition of being a day of “fun for the whole family,” the show will offer activities for children and young people from Jump Around Entertainment. A variety of vendors will offer shopping opportunities for the shoppers in the family. DJ Night Train will provide music, “blowing the dust off your most fondest memories.”

Raffles, giveaways and food will be available and, as the show takes place on the grounds of a church, a special blessing will be offered for all vehicles present.

St. Patrick Church is located at 280 E. Main St. in Smithtown. For more information or if anyone would like to display a car or reserve vendor space, call John Forlenza at 631-588-2696.

Bruce Blanco smiles with other members of the riders. Photo from Blanco

For one man, riding isn’t just a way of life — it’s a way to honor his son.

Bruce Blanco, president of the American Legion Riders Chapter 1244, first got involved with the American Legion in 2010, after his son Michael Edward Blanco, a lance corporal in the United States Marines, passed away on Feb. 15, 2010.

“I am living in the eyes of my son,” Blanco said in a phone interview. “He is my hero.”

Blanco, a Commack resident, said that whenever his son was on leave he would lend a hand to local organizations like the American Legion, so Blanco “took over the things he would do,” once his son passed.

Michael Blanco served in the U.S. Marines. Photo from Bruce Blanco
Michael Blanco served in the U.S. Marines. Photo from Bruce Blanco

The American Legion Riders started in 1993, when American Legion members decided they wanted to create an environment where members could come together to share their love of motorcycles. Blanco described the American Legion Riders as “riding billboards for veterans,” that help bring attention to and raise money for veteran events.

Blanco, who has been president for the past year, said that through the organization he has been able to spend time with veterans, play bingo or share a meal, stood in as family for burial services when a veteran had no other family left, and raised money to provide veterans and their families with meals for the holidays. According to Blanco, in the last year alone, the riders were present at more than 100 military funerals. They also participate in local celebrations like the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parades in Huntington and King’s Park, and organize welcome homes from the airport.

According to Blanco, his chapter only has 24 members, but provide at least 150 different missions each year for veterans. They are one of only three rider posts in Suffolk County, and he said they are the most active chapter in New York State.

One of his fondest memories with the riders thus far, was fulfilling a wish of a veteran in his early 90s, who had always wanted to ride a motorcycle.

“We had all of his family and friends out to see him,” he said. “It was just a really nice day.”

Blanco said he thinks the organization is so important because it reminds veterans that they are not alone.

Blanco poses with Post American Legion Post 1244 Commander Dennis Madden. Photo from Bob Santo.
Blanco poses with Post American Legion Post 1244 Commander Dennis Madden. Photo from Bob Santo.

“We show vets love and give them the support they deserve,” he said. “When you have veterans who think they’re alone and then we can be there for them, that makes my day.”

He said he has seen some American Legion posts lose support and membership in the past few years. Some were even forced to close their doors.

“I never want to see this disappear,” he said. “The riders are trying to bring attention to what the American Legion does, and help to try and make it grow.”

The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund recently honored Blanco for the $1,000 donation he and the riders fundraised for in 2015. The scholarship fund gives money to children of fallen post-9/11 service members.

A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Peter Nettesheim embodies the idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Step inside his Huntington Town home and it’s nothing like it seems from the outside.

Picture this: You walk through an ordinary front door, expecting a small foyer or hallway to meet you. But as your eyes adjust from the natural light, all you see are warm wood and soft lights reflecting off of dozens of different pieces of metal. No side table or closet for jackets. You become more confused before you begin to understand what you’re looking at. A second ago you were on a residential road, listening to someone’s leaf blower start up. The next second all you hear is a model train driving by overhead and The Jackson 5 playing softly in the background.

Nettesheim is the proud owner of more than 100 BMW vehicles. Although many are in storage, his home boasts an impressive portion of the collection. Motorcycles cover most of the floor space, along with trophies, antique gas dispensers and even a few vintage cars.

A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Jay Leno and Billy Joel have visited Nettesheim’s home, as well as more than 100 other private visitors each year. He calls it “his little sanctuary.”

Hints of Germany linger everywhere. A German greeting hangs from the ceiling and a mannequin named Elka stands in traditional German clothing sporting a dirndl, which is like an apron. Nettesheim explained that according to German tradition, the cloth signifies whether a girl is single or spoken for, depending on whether it is tied with a knot to the left or right. Elka is currently single.

In one corner sits the oldest BMW motorcycle to date, with a confirmation from BMW hanging above it. Across from it is a fully stocked bar, with several glass bottles of Coca-Cola personalized with Nettesheim’s name.

“My wife found those for me,” Nettesheim said.

This space is intimate, so it fights the feeling one gets at famous places like the American Museum of Natural History. One can literally sit at the bar and have a drink while gazing at relics. In one corner stands the oldest BMW bike in history, in another, a couch sporting pillows adorned with phrases like “man cave.”

Still, there are touches that make it feel like an established museum. Several motorcycles have backdrops behind them that display information about the particular model standing in front of it. Historic black-and-white photos of people riding old BMW bikes are also featured on the walls.

Nettesheim said the American Motorcyclist Association asked him to curate a BMW exhibit for its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio in 2010. His backdrops are straight out of that exhibit. Nettesheim chose all of the information and photos on the backdrops when he designed the show.

A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
A view of the inside of Peter Nettesheim’s Huntington home. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

He said he didn’t take any money for the curation.

“I do this for fun,” he said. “This is strictly my hobby.”

Nettesheim is driven about his pastime and expressed surprise that many who visited his museum didn’t share the same kind of enthusiasm for a hobby — especially the younger generation.

“I never really understood that,” Nettesheim said.

The bike collector said that in conversations with his visitors he was caught off guard to learn that many had no hobbies of their own.

“There’s nothing that engages them, there’s nothing that they see and want to know how this works and how it’s made.”

He said he worried that his own hobby, shared by mostly the older generation, would eventually die out. “Most people you meet at biker clubs are not young guys.”

Despite the future of motorcycle collecting, Nettesheim remains driven by his passion. His father, a Mercedes-Benz car collector, has greatly influenced him. Nettesheim purchased his first BMW motorcycle when he was about 20 years old and fell in love with bikes ever since.

“I wake up in the morning and I think about the collection,” Nettesheim said. “There’s something I want to do. Every day I want to get home and get next to the bike and take something off it or fix a tire. It’s in me. I have a passion for it.”

Suffolk County police car. File photo

A motorcyclist was seriously injured on Friday when his head struck a curb in Elwood.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 44-year-old Greenlawn resident Joseph Alyward was wearing a helmet when he lost control of his bike, a 2012 Harley Davidson Legend, while traveling east on Little Plains Road. At about 6:30 p.m., near Hillock Court, his helmeted head struck a curb.

Alyward was in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said. It did not appear that any other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the incident. Anyone who may have witnessed it is asked to call them at 631-854-8252.

A 1955 Panhead Billy Bike replica from the 1969 motion picture ‘Easy Rider.’ Photo by Heidi Sutton

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization will present a free lecture by Jeffrey James on Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. in conjunction with it’s summer exhibit, “America’s Love Affair with the Motorcycle … Continues,” which features more than 50 motorcycles on display as well as vintage collections, memorabilia, artwork and sculptures.

Titled “Movies & Motorcycles,” the presentation will focus on the beloved movies associated with this national pastime. James will discuss a variety of information as it relates to the motorcycles on exhibit, including the music of Bon Jovi and Judas Priest; the top 10 Harley Davidson films; the 1924 Buster Keaton film, “Sherlock Jr.” and other significant movies, such as “The Great Escape” from 1963 and “Easy Rider” from 1969.

James has served on the board of directors of the Nassau Symphony Orchestra, the American Chamber Ensemble, the Gemini Youth Symphony and the LI Arts Council at Freeport to name a few, and he currently sits on the board of directors for the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

The forum will take place at the WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main Street, Stony Brook. General admission to the exhibit is $5 adults, $3 children under 12. For more information, call 631-689-5888 or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

File photo

A motorcyclist was seriously injured early on Saturday morning when an SUV hit him as he was lying in the road.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 31-year-old Flushing resident James Dang lost control of his bike, a 2004 Suzuki, while riding north at about 1:35 a.m. on Moriches Road in Lake Grove, just south of Jericho Turnpike. He was lying in the road when a dark-colored SUV struck him and then fled the scene.

Dang was treated at Stony Brook University Hospital for serious injuries, police said.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 4th Squad are investigating the crash. Anyone who may have witnessed it is asked to call them at 631-854-8452 or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

Ward Melville Heritage Organization presents new motorcycle exhibit

Mike Wolf, creator / star of ‘American Pickers,’ with a 1912 Indian TT Racer, which was later restored. Photo from Jim Giorgio

By Ed Blair

America has always had a love affair with motorcycles. “In a car you’re always in a compartment, and, because you’re used to it, you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer, and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle, the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.” So said Robert Pirsig in his book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.” Dan Aykroyd stated the case more simply: “You do not need a therapist if you own a motorcycle.”

Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, James Dean. Clint Eastwood, Buddy Holly, Peter Fonda. Hijinks from Evel Knieval and Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzerelli. There is no doubt that the motorcycle occupies a unique and intriguing niche in both the national culture and the counterculture, and it is the subject of an absorbing local offering.

Following on the success of last year’s summer exhibit, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization will present The Love Affair with Motorcycles Continues! opening July 11. On view are more than 30 motorcycles, as well as motorcycle memorabilia, artwork and sculptures.

Speakers will be on hand to talk about a number of motorcycle-related topics, and visitors can view an outdoor car showcase in the WMHO Center’s parking lot and also participate in a scavenger hunt. Stony Brook Village restaurants will feature exhibit-related dishes on their menus, such as the Hog Hero, the Harley Hoagie, the BMW Burger, Knucklehead Chili, and the Screamin’ Eagle.

The evolution of the motorcycle can be traced from Mike Wolf’s restored 1912 Indian TT Racer through to a 1975 Ducati 750 Sport from 20th Century Cycles of Oyster Bay. Also on display are bikes from the private collection of Joe Buzzetta, such as his 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 850, and, courtesy of Peter Nettesheim, an unrestored 1928 BMW R52.

Also on view: a 1903 Indian (the only one known to exist), courtesy of Jim Giorgio; a 1955 Pan Head Billy Bike, (Gerry Duff); a 1970 Rupp Mini Bike (Joe Amendolia); a 1975 Norton Commando (Michael Racz); a 1975 FLH Harley (Douglas Johnston); a 1975 Honda Goldwing 1000 (Bill Mabanta); a 1973 Harley “Steampunk” (Copper Mike); and a replica of a motorcycle that appeared in the iconic biker movie “Easy Rider.” Besides getting up-close looks at the Harley Davidsons, Kawasakis, Suzukis, Triumphs, Hondas and other motorcycles, enthusiasts can give vent to their fascination with motorized two-wheelers by checking out the artwork of David Uhl.

Scheduled speakers and their topics are Pete Nettesheim — Restored vs. Unrestored Bikes (Sunday, July 12); John Petsche — Biodiesel Bikes (Saturday, July 18); Steve Linden — History of Motorcycle Brands and Emblems (Saturday, July 25); and Jeffrey James — Music and Motorcycles (Saturday, Aug. 8); and  Movies and Motorcycles (Saturday, Aug. 22). All talks begin at 2 p.m.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization will present America’s Love Affair with the Motorcycle Continues! July 11 through September 7 at its Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook Village. The exhibit, partially sponsored by Astoria Bank, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12. For a full schedule of exhibit events, 631-689-5888, or visit www.stonybrookvillage.com.

File photo

A motorcyclist was seriously injured in Huntington after colliding with a car driven by a Huntington Station teen on Thursday night, according to police.

Suffolk County Police said they are investigating the motor vehicle crash, which took place at New York Avenue and Prime Avenue in Huntington. Quincy Nelson, 17, was driving a 2005 Chrysler 300 southbound on New York Avenue when he made a left turn onto Prime, colliding with Lee Ownes, 33, of Brooklyn, who was driving a 1974 Honda motorcycle at about 9 p.m.

Owens was transported to a local hospital where he is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries for a dislocated shoulder and a sever laceration to his left leg. Nelson and his two male passengers were uninjured.

No tickets were issued. The vehicle and the motorcycle were impounded for safety checks and the investigation is continuing.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about this crash to contact Second Squad detectives at 631-854-8252.

Jeffrey Krieger mugshot from SCPD

Police arrested a relative of a man involved in a serious car crash on Sunday morning, after the man allegedly interfered with an investigation.

The Suffolk County Police Department said motorcyclist Ricardo Rivas, 53, was seriously injured in the crash, after a pickup truck turned into him at 9:25 a.m. Rivas had been riding a 2002 BMW south on Oakwood Road in Huntington Station when the pickup, a 2013 Chevrolet that had been traveling north on the same road, attempted to turn left onto West 22nd Street and struck him. Police identified the Chevrolet’s driver as 49-year-old Huntington resident Michael Fiordalisi.

About an hour later, police arrested a bystander at the scene, who is Fiordalisi’s family member, and charged him with second-degree obstruction of governmental administration. The SCPD said the suspect, 48-year-old Melville resident Jeffrey Krieger, repeatedly crossed police tape while trying to take photographs of the crash scene.

Rivas, a Huntington Station resident, was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries at Stony Brook University Hospital while Fiordalisi was treated at Huntington Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Krieger, police said, was released on bail and was scheduled to be arraigned in July.

Attorney information for the defendant was not immediately available.

Police impounded both the BMW and the Chevrolet for safety checks.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the incident. Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call them at 631-854-8252.

Brett Rainey poses with his girlfriend Danielle and a puppy. Photo from Lisa Karrer

A 27-year-old Huntington Station motorcyclist was killed after colliding with a minivan on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington.

Brett Rainey was riding his 2000 Yamaha north on Walt Whitman Road at about 5:30 p.m. on May 15 when he struck the passenger side of a 2002 Chrysler Town & Country as the driver attempted to make a left turn into a parking lot. Lucas McAfee, an 18-year-old man from Fort Salonga, was driving the minivan.

Rainey was transported to Huntington Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the minivan and three male passengers were not injured and remained at the scene, according to police.

The death of Rainey has hit his family hard. His older sister Lisa Karrer said her brother was a great man who died too soon.

“He was beautiful,” she said. “From the day he was born he was amazing.”

Karrer described her brother as someone who was always by her side and had a great love of motorcycles. She said he got his first motorcycle at age 4 and spent much of his life riding dirt bikes, motorcycles and Jet Skis.

“He loved the thrill, its freedom and passion,” Karrer.

Rainey’s sister said her brother suffered from a drug addiction for eight years before going to rehab and getting clean. She said he spent his last two years sober, living with her and making his life better.

“He changed his life and he was finally happy,” she said. “He was finally living his life for the first time.”

The 27-year-old was also a father to a 5-year-old girl who was adopted by a family member a few months after being born. The tough decision came from Rainey, who knew she was better off being adopted by a family member, Karrer said.

“He was loving, he loved everybody,” his sister said. “He was always there for anybody.”

Rainey channeled his love for all things mechanical into working as a mechanic for the last couple of years. He also worked at a PetSmart in Huntington Station. When reached for comment, a PetSmart manager who would not give his name said the loss “hit the team really hard.”

Karrer said the family doesn’t want the driver and passengers involved in the minivan to blame themselves. She called it a “terrible accident.”

Services for Rainey are being held in New Jersey, where he is from, his sister said. It will take place this Saturday at Ora L. Wooster Funeral Home in Clementon, N.J.

He is survived by his girlfriend Danielle, sisters Lisa and Laura, his sister-in-law Deborah, his mom Drena Kanz, father Doug Rainey and two younger siblings Lilly and Ries.

Karrer and her wife Deborah Porretto will be hosting a memorial gathering at their home at 39 Dawson Street in Huntington Station on May 30 beginning at 1 p.m. for anyone and everyone who would like to come.