Astoria Park Alliance Car Show
When people think about iconic, scenic, New York City backdrops, the list usually starts with either the city skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, or The Statue of Liberty. But Astoria Park, in Queens, New York, is one that isn’t always readily thought about, but definitely should not be ruled out. Located across from Randall’s Island and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, the one lane roadway running adjacent to the East River makes for the perfect backdrop to display some of the most well-kept classic cars in New York.
This year's Father’s Day, the Astoria Park Alliance hosted their first-annual car show to raise money to help restore the park. When I spoke to the creators of the show, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the fact that they openly admitted to not knowing much about cars (after hearing my credentials, they asked if I wanted to help judge the show), but noticed that there were beautiful cars driving around the neighborhood whenever the weather was nice. “Meeting all of the wonderful people in the classic car community was really the highlight of the experience for me. These men and women put so much love and care into their cars, and were willing to share their prized possessions with our community in Astoria,” said Vice Chair of the Astoria Park Alliance, Anthony Liberatoscioli. “When my colleague Miriam Fodera and I were first brainstorming about the event, that notion of bringing different communities together is exactly what we were hoping to achieve, and the Father's Day Classic Car Show exceeded our hopes.”
APPRECIATION BY OWNERS AND SPECTATORS ALIKE
As someone who’s lived in New York all his life, the appreciation for and ownership of a wide variety of vehicles never ceases to amaze me. The number of roads within the five boroughs that are less than ideal for even “normal” cars to drive on is pretty depressing, and the indescribable amount of cracks, potholes, and bulges in our roads makes even a stanced car owner like me wonder how anyone could keep a car together here.
But to my surprise, when I arrived at the show, the strip was filled from end to end, and late show competitors were getting turned away left and right. The owners that did make it in showed off a wide variety of American, European, and Japanese classics. As I walked towards the bridge, I was quickly reminded about how each one of these cars had a different story to tell. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to hear them all but I did learn, for example that, although this ‘67 Mustang Coupe was resprayed, the brownish cream color was actually offered by Ford for that model year (apologies to all the classic Mustang enthusiasts that knew this already). And that gorgeous Copper Nissan 280Z... that was purchased by the original owner and currently only has about 50,000 miles on it.
What made the show just as enjoyable was the amount of appreciation the owners had for their cars. When I walked up to this immaculate Saleen Foxbody Mustang (which, by the way, I had never seen in my 32 years of life), the owner made sure to point out that it was signed by Steve Saleen himself on three different parts of the car (It’s also worth noting that an ASC McLaren Foxbody was parked directly in front of it). Although I didn’t get to meet the owner of this ridiculously clean 240Z, I did notice the signature from Yoshihiko Matsuo on the passenger sun visor–something I’m sure most Z owners can’t brag about.
“While the Father's Day Classic Car Show was created with only a commitment to be a one-off event, it was such a massive success that I think we will almost certainly be bringing it back in 2019,” Mr. Liberatoscioli explained. He went on to say that it was the last car to make it in, an absolutely stunning Impala, that took home Best Of Show. All together, the show raised $1,320 and, after covering the show’s expenses, the remainder will be put towards improvements for the park.