Hells Angels Celebrate St. Patty’s in… Queens? (And The Local Is Invited!)


“The Hells Angels don’t like publicity,” said Ron Kuby, the attorney for the bike club’s New York City chapter. So why have they advertised their annual St. Patrick’s Day bash by posting flyers on the windows of The Edge, a bar near their clubhouse on East Third Street? Before you go thinking this is an invite into the group’s notoriously private digs: The party won’t be held in the East Village. Or even in Manhattan. It’s due to be held in Queens.

(Oh, and the invitation isn’t entirely welcoming: a disclaimer at the bottom reads: “Unauthorized Use Of This Flyer Is Prohibited.”)

The five-hour gathering is set to take place this Sunday afternoon at a Portuguese recreational center on Liberty Avenue in Jamaica. The venue, which accommodates 350, was leased for $4,500.

Asked whether a reporter for The Local could attend the bash, a biker named Rick said, “Sure!” He smiled as he stood outside the clubhouse, wearing a sock hat against the chill and a prospect badge on his jacket, meaning he’s still seeking to qualify for full membership and voting privileges in the club. He said the Angels would be selling merchandise such as t-shirts during the event.

AngelicTim Schreier

An Angel with a mane of silver hair who identified himself as Blues – “like the sky” – said that the group often held its annual St. Patrick’s Day parties at Don Hill’s, a nightclub in West SoHo, but when Mr. Hill died last year, members settled on the spot in Jamaica.

And why Queens? “It’s in New York, isn’t it?” said Blues a bit truculently. Otherwise, he was friendly, the opposite of the stereotype of Angels as fearsome fellas hot on their Harleys.

Early in 2007, the police had snipers on rooftops and a police helicopter flying over the clubhouse after a 52-year-old woman who tried to enter it was found severely beaten outside, later unable to remember what happened to her. One Angel was taken into custody and later released. Last year, the club again made headlines (“Hells Angels can’t even scare away tourists,” read The Post’s) when it briefly put a bar across the bench outside its clubhouse.

“It wasn’t a metal bar,” clarified Blues, referring to The Post’s report. “It was plastic and just there temporarily.” Blues said the bar was installed because “drunk out-of-town tourists were sitting on it and throwing up on the sidewalk.”

Mario Cornejo Negron, who manages apartments covering two buildings next to the Angels’ Clubhouse, acknowledged there had “been a few incidents” involving his guests using the bench, but said things have quieted down. He said the apartments that his non-profit interfaith group offers to “vacationers” all have signs telling them to (in his words) “respect their neighbors and not sit on the bench. The Angels are protecting their property rights.” He claimed that people continue to sit on the bench “all the time,” but in the last nine months, he hasn’t seen Hells Angels telling them to leave like they used to.

Another neighbor of the Angels, a man in his 20s who asked to remain anonymous, said he has lived on East Third Street for a couple of years and believes the Angels may have fewer members these days. He said they may be looking for new recruits at the clubhouse, their headquarters since 1969.

“They ride their bikes, they keep to themselves and and they don’t bother anyone,” the neighbor said, a far cry from residents of the block who in 1971 told The Times they felt constantly threatened by “roaring motorcycle engines and random acts of violence.”

“People come by all the time and take pictures of their clubhouse,” said the neighbor. “I’ve even seen cops take pictures of the clubhouse from a police van.”