Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Turns Heads in NYC
At 11:45 a.m. on an otherwise still Sunday morning, an abnormally large entourage of motorcycles appeared out of nowhere on Central Park West. Thousands of bikes, smelling of gasoline, roared down the avenue, bearing dapper riders in suits—both men and women. Police barricaded the surrounding roads; cars were diverted, passers-by stopped.
The motorbike ceremony slowed down the road and began parking in rows stretching as far as the eye could see below the American Museum of Natural History, turning heads on the street. Riders and their dates hopped off and stood around fixing windswept hair, waiting for something.
One in a lime-green tweed suit and colorful helmet, having parked right in front of me, mocked my dumbfounded expression playfully.
“What is it?” he said in a thick foreign accent.
“What is it?” I repeated.
He told me that it was the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride—a fundraiser to support prostate cancer and men’s mental health; nearly 700 cities were participating.
Maira from Queens, one of the participants, said, “The whole thing takes about 40 minutes; we’re going through most of the boroughs. We started off by the South Street Seaport; we went through Queens, we’re going to do a little bit of Brooklyn.”
DGR’s website states the event’s fashionable theme was inspired by classic TV star Don Draper from the show “Mad Men,” played by Jon Hamm. The objective is to “bring together the classic and vintage styled motorcycle community” around the world.
Riders have to register each year to participate. If they don’t have a suitable vehicle, they can still sponsor a rider or donate.
The crowd gathered on the steps of the museum for a massive group photo, and then they were slowly off as ceremoniously as they had arrived.
In partnership with the Movember Foundation—the world’s largest men’s health organization—this event raised $6 million last week.
According to previous investment reports, nearly $2 million in 2016 and 2017 funds had been allocated to various biomedical research, survivorship and suicide prevention projects in the United States alone.
The DGR website offers links to various resources for suicide prevention. Projects they have funded include the Making Connections Program—a 5-year, $9.5 million national initiative that aims to build prevention and health equity into federal and state policies.