At the Harley Rally in the South Park Blocks on Sunday, five dollars would buy you 10 minutes in the bouncy fun castle, a temporary tattoo that said "girlpower," or about a quarter of a Harley-Davidson T-shirt.
It's too early to tell whether participants spent the $1.5 million the event's proponents predicted they would, but it appears that the mayhem expected by critics failed to materialize (see "Going to the Hogs," WW, Aug. 13, 2003).
That's not to say there weren't some gruff characters more interested in riding their hogs than admiring their neighbors'.
"Most of the people here are yuppies and rich dudes more interested in having parking-lot jewelry than riding the things," said one attendee, who wore a Gypsy Joker motorcycle club jacket with a diamond "1%er" patch.
"If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand," said Steve, another Gypsy Joker, when questioned about the patch. According to biker legend, the 1%ers are the 1 percent of the population crazy enough to ride Harleys and live like outlaws.
For everyone else, there's a T-shirt emblazoned with Steve's sentiments: "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand." By 5 pm Sunday, however, they were sold out.
According to Ruth Crowley, vice-president of merchandising for the motorcycle maker, it isn't Harley's bad-boy image that drives sales these days, but something she calls "the Harley mystique" or "a freedom of expression and the ability to be both an individual and part of a crowd."
Steve puts it a little more bluntly: "Every male, at one point in his life, wants to be like us."