Alexian Lien and Rosalyn Ng live in an apartment just down from the New York Stock Exchange on a street where cops and private security and barricades and a bomb dog guard against the continuing threat of terrorism.
But terror of another kind awaited as the couple set off with their young child for a Sunday drive. They headed uptown in their black Range Rover past the 9/11 Memorial that three weeks before had observed the 12th anniversary of the attack.
Lien and Ng were celebrating a much happier marker, their first wedding anniversary. They continued past the new Freedom Tower, which was ultimately only steel and glass, no matter how high it soared into the sunshine. The family in the Range Rover was a living testament to the city’s resilience, a seeming triumph of basic good over craven evil.
As they drove uptown, the sky blue, the temperature just right. The day itself seemed a victory until the air filled with a buzzing like that of huge bees.
From out of the peace and quiet came 30 or more motorcycles, part of an annual convergence on New York by bikers marking the end of summer. They had caused considerable chaos the year before, hundreds of them running red lights, going up on sidewalks, speeding into oncoming traffic, revving engines so as to send up huge billows of exhaust, popping prolonged wheelies much too close to pedestrians, and posting it all online thanks to a helmet camera.
This year, the police had set up “choke points,” checking license and registrations, issuing 68 summonses, seizing 55 bikes and making 15 arrests, one for a gun. Those who got through included the crew that now chanced upon Lien and Ng’s Range Rover. They cut in and out were generally so reckless that Lien became one of 200 citizens who called 911 about bikers that day.
In a video that appears to be from the same helmet camera of last year, the bikers can be seen swarming around the Range Rover as it proceeds up the parkway. A viewer can almost feel the thrill of biking on a glorious day become supercharged with the rush of riding in numbers.
Even during mass bicycle rides in the city, the participants are often overcome with a sudden sense of power that incites them to take over the whole street. The motorcyclists in the video appear bent on appropriating all of Henry Hudson Parkway as Lien and Ng and their child cruised up it on their Sunday anniversary drive.
One biker identified by police as Christopher Cruz of Massachusetts, can be seen cutting in front of the Range Rover. He is looking back as he slows towards what seems to be a near stop. seemingly seeking to force the Range Rover to do the same.
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