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Body of bike messenger found

New York Post, February 21, 2005

By Jen Kelly and Briget Harrison
The body of a bike messenger who had attended a shindig for cyclists on a salvaged boat Saturday at Chelsea Piers was found in shallow water near the site yesterday - with his bike chain still around his waist, cops said.

The 36-year-old man, whose name was being withheld by authorities pending notification of his family, was spotted by pedestrians yesterday morning near the Frying Pan, a popular party boat that is permanently moored at Pier 63 by West 23rd Street, police said.

Authorities believe the messenger, who was last seen by a pal at the boat party at 9 p.m., may have died after he left the bash drunk and fell into the river. There were no signs of trauma to the body.

His roommate told cops that the man was from Vancouver, Canada, suffered from seizures, and had a plate in his head from being shot in Canada more than 10 years ago.

Cops were investigating whether a seizure may have contributed to his death. Results of an autopsy were pending.

The friend told investigators he had left the man at the party to go meet his girlfriend shortly after 9 p.m. He found out that his friend had died yesterday morning when he returned to the pier to pick up his own bike and saw cops by the river.

More than 100 cyclists had gathered at the pier Saturday for an annual event at which they trade bike parts, said Frying Pan skipper John Krevey.

After the "swap meet," which began at 8 a.m., cyclists joined a race to Brooklyn and then The Bronx before finishing back at the pier for more bike competitions.

The day of biking festivities was followed by a party on the Frying Pan, where alcohol was served. The gig finished at 10 p.m., Krevey said.

A passer-by, one of several who spotted the messenger's body in the shallow water between the boat and the pier, said that at first, he and others thought the corpse was a mannequin.

"Nobody believed it to be true, they didn't think it was a body," said Wade Rosen, 39, of New Jersey. "They thought it was a mannequin thrown overboard."

Built in 1929, the Frying Pan guarded the Frying Pan Shoals, which are 30 miles off of Cape Fear, N.C., from 1930 to 1965.

Abandoned for 10 years in Chesapeake Bay, the vessel sank and was under water for three years before it was salvaged and sailed to Pier 63, where it is now a popular location for parties.

Additional reporting by Jamie Schram and Larry Celona


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