I recently went to the Brooklyn Invitational Bike Show. It is a two block mish-mash of tattoos, thunderous pipes and vintage bikes. One bike in the showroom at Root Studios brought me back to my childhood.
This grand old Harley was done up with lots of bling. I remembered a guy I used to see when I was a young kid growing up in NYC who rode a similar bike.
He rode around on a huge Electra Glide that was as ornate as a Fabergé egg. All I knew as a boy was that this cat was cool and now I couldn’t remember his name. He was hard to miss back in the seventies. He had his name all chromed out behind his throne of a seat. It was Redd something. I remembered the Redd with two d’s but that was it.
Then today I was looking through an old box of assorted papers and magazines. There he was. Johnny Redd, “King of all Kings”. I used to look in awe as he rode around town. He would sometimes stop at a busy corner just to sit and bathe in the envious stares that showered him.
I am surprised to find so little about this man who was once a common icon of the NYC streets. Especially puzzling is that there are no pictures of this gleaming machine he used to ride. It was phenomenal. The only information I have found is an article in New Yorker Magazine from the eighties. I don’t have a subscription so I can only read the beginning. But yup, that’s him. Too cool, Johnny Redd. Thanks for the inspiration!
If anyone out there has any more information about Johhny Redd or has any photos of that wild, lit up bike, I’d love to hear about it.