Alberto Bruchi

Photo: Brad Paris

You restore vintage Vespas. How did you start?
I brought a beautiful white 1969 Vespa from Pontedera, where the Vespa factory is, and every morning on my ride to work, someone would say, “I love your Vespa; can you get me one?” One day a guy said, “I’ll give you $7,000 cash for your bike.” Every winter, I spend two months in Tuscany hunting for old ones.

Are they high-maintenance?
No, they are very sturdy. There are people who drive their Vespas around the world.

Can you park on the sidewalk?
You’re not supposed to. But if you attach your plate with Velcro tape, you can remove it when you park. Without a plate number, the ticket is invalid.

How bad are Vespas for the environment?
Pretty bad, because they burn oil and gasoline at the same time, like a grass-cutter. But they’re so little, not like an SUV.

What’s your favorite drive?
The Brooklyn Bridge, because the pavement is very nice and I feel like I’m flying.

Do you have regular customers?
The vintage-Vespa community is very strong. There are more people driving old scooters in New York than in Italy.

I heard you also work on movies.
I was the mechanic on set for Spider-Man 2 and 3. When Spider-Man isn’t Spider-Man, he delivers pizza on a 1970 moped. He’s a very sweet guy, but he’s quite slow. He still doesn’t know how to start it.

Alberto Bruchi