View Full Version : Former Marine creates street-ready works of art

09-30-03, 09:28 AM
Former Marine creates street-ready works of art
Submitted by: New York Public Affairs
Story Identification Number: 2003924114028
Story by Maj. David C. Andersen

NEW YORK(September 24, 2003) -- The scene could be a wise-guy movie, a London fog-covered street at dusk or a tale being told in a downtown bar. Although these all sound mysterious enough, we actually find former Marine corporal, Bill Cardone, in a Brooklyn back-alley rolling out another piece of art known as - the great American chopper.

Discovery Channel has recently departed the shop and the next craze of reality TV has captured a wide array of the international public. "Indian Larry" just beat out Billy Lane on "Biker Build Off IV" where men take raw steel and turn them into fine-tuned precision motorcycles. But where is the Marine Corps connection here on North 14th Street?

Cardone, 47, of Flushing, N.Y., a former Electronics Technician with MWCS-28, is burrowed into this famous East River shop known as "Gasoline Alley, NYC." Cardone, a right-hand man to world-renowned chopper artist "Indian Larry," has been in this business since the mid-80's.

"I started tearing down mini-bikes when I was a kid, and just kept with it," said Cardone.

Cardone credits the Marine Corps for directing his life. "I was running with the wrong crowd. The Marine Corps taught me discipline, how to act like a man and work with other people."

A meritorious PFC out of boot camp in 1973, Cardone got out as a corporal from Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C., in 1977. He then worked as a truck mechanic until his itch for building bikes landed him with his first professional job at Jar Choppers in the Bayside area of Brooklyn, N.Y., for 10-years.

"I actually consider myself an artist," said Cardone. "It is a true sense of accomplishment to picture something in your head and eventually watch it roll out of the shop and down the street."

Cardone also owned his own shop, East End Custom Cycles in Queens Village, N.Y., for about 2-years before coming to Gasoline Alley, NYC.

"A friend brought him by," said Indian Larry, co-owner of Gasoline Alley, NYC. "We have a small crew here and I was impressed and surprised with what the guy had done. He is a good mechanic, fabricator and on the road he doubles as my bodyguard."

The shop is not what one would expect. Throw away the stereotypes and fill it with artistic minds that are open and question everything. Cardone credits people in the shop as "at the top of their game."

"To work here, you have to be a hard working and conscientious guy," said Gerard Mortillaro, co-owner of Gasoline Alley, NYC. "Generally, anybody with a military background has those qualities."
Cardone is not the only military tie in the shop either. Gerard Mortillaro also had a major influence from his father, Sgt. Maj. Louis F. Mortillaro, USA. Mortillaro, who obviously is a proud son, went on about a lifetime career that spanned the Army Air Corps, North Africa and Europe with civilian governmental service to follow.

Discovery Channel, which in this case is accurately named, brought this already famous shop that is tucked into a side street warehouse area, into the limelight. Hits on the website, www.gasolinealleynyc,com, have now reached a record high.

"The show has brought people by and the phone has not stopped ringing," said Cardone.

And when asked about his future, he said, "I'm happy right here."


Bill Cardone stands in front of one of the works of art that he and the crew from Gasoline Alley NYC created.
Photo by: Maj. David C. Andersen


Bill Cardone sports a New York City Marine T-shirt while performing maintenance on one of the many choppers that Gasoline Alley NYC works on. The shop not only creates choppers to compete in build-offs, they also work on choppers for actors, musicians and other chopper builders around the country.
Photo by: Maj. David C. Andersen



09-30-03, 09:31 AM

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