Rain Or Shine, CarPark NYC Puts On An Excellent Car Show In The Heart Of Brooklyn
Photography by Kieran Buttrick
It was a promising sunny morning that began at eight with a drive down to Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, with each vehicle arriving and parking in its pre-determined spot, proudly put on display in the front of the park’s arch. The registry of cars posted on the CarParkNYC Instagram looked like an enticing mix, especially given the smaller size dictated by the venue, and the chance to be able to see this group on New York streets brought the “spotted in the wild” factor to 11. I greeted my early morning alarm with rare excitement.
CarPark NYC has just one goal: draw out all the New York City car enthusiasts that lurk in the shadows (or in other words, drive their cars elsewhere to enjoy them). Although the city isn’t a car-friendly one, this show demonstrated the adaptability in the face of impracticality that the place is famous for. The reality of owning a vehicle here and actually using it is usually reserved or those who don’t care much about a busted bumper guard and scratched paint. That said, New York City petrolheads still find a way. Though it’s a place rife with honked horns and flipped birds, the real car enthusiasts put up with the unique challenges of driving something that isn’t meant to be parked by feel or engage in games of right-of-way chicken with yellow cabs in a city that all but scolds you for trying to own something fun.
Grand Army Plaza was a unique venue for a show, and one that I think most of the attendees felt was worth it—between the darting messenger bikes, the constant throngs of pedestrians, and the soundscape of a very “alive” locale, the plaza at the tip of Prospect Park made for a dynamic setting for a dynamic set of cars. One that was quite controversial, but symbolized the show in its blend of styles, was a Brabus SL73 on air suspension. I can understand why some would balk at taking this rare Merc and laying it on the ground, but to each their own, and it’s not like this was ever a particularly agile machine to begin with.
As the lot filled up with more vehicles and the brunt of the spectating force arrived (though if we’re counting those who stopped for a few minutes on their way to wherever, the head count would be much greater), a downpour forced us under the nearest awnings. The owners of classic convertibles and roadsters did the typical frantic rush to cover up their interiors, but the sky cleared up soon enough, with plenty of time for the sun to help the towels dry everything off again—for all of you out there adamant that every car needs to be driven rather than preserved indoors, this would have been the perfect show for you.
The deluge didn’t dampen the momentum much, though, with cars coming and going, the conversations picking up where they’d left off, and concerned frowns quickly replaced by smiles and the eager faces of new friends sharing a day out of the ordinary.