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Car show

The North Fork Cruisers hosted a car show in Port Jeff to support the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 July 11. Photo by Kyle Barr

The sweet sounds of ’50s ’60s and ’70s pop and blues drifted out over the cars settled in front of the Port Jefferson Frigate ice cream and candy shop Saturday, July 11. Despite the humidity from tropical storm Fay passing by the day before, crowds gathered in the small parking lot to look at a host of cars in all varieties to support the local VFW post that has struggled financially from the pandemic.

The nonprofit North Fork Cruisers hosted its first Car Show for Veteran Suicide Awareness, with proceeds going to the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249. The post has taken a significant financial hit due to the pandemic to the tune of approximately $10,000 to $12,000, according to post Commander Joe Cognitore. The post takes in a lot of its revenue from renting out the VFW hall during the year, but all of that was halted since March. 

Present at the show were classic Mercedes from the ’50s and other novelty cars like a pink Thunderbird and the much renowned Batmobile often seen around the North Shore. The music was provided by Long Island’s DJ Night Train and Larry Hall, of Brazier Insurance Agency, donated the trophies handed out at the end of the show. Also present was Louis Falco, the founder of Operation-Initiative Foundation, a nonprofit that supports veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Peter Oleschuk, of the North Fork Cruisers, said with the event they were “just looking to do something nice for our VFW which has been closed these past few months and hasn’t been able to fundraise.”

The event raised around $440 for the VFW post, which Cognitore said was generous of the numerous people and veterans who donated at the show. He also thanked Roger Rutherford, the general manager of The Frigate, for facilitating the car show in front of his business.

Post 6249 is planning further ways to fundraise to plug its funding hole, including a GoFundMe page which should be available to donate to within the next week. The VFW is also planning for its 13th annual golf outing to support veterans organizations come Sept. 21. 

For more information on how to support the VFW, call 631-744-9106. 

For more on Operation-Initiative, visit www.opinitfdn.org.

Photo by Kyle Barr

America is a country that lives in the shallow ditch between fiction and reality. We live in a society that demands civility of all people, from those protesting injustice — even when that protest boils over into violence — to those screaming “white power” from the top of their lungs.

It was something well noted by Martin Luther King Jr., who famously said in one of his letters from Birmingham jail that he found the white moderate was “the great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom,” and that “the white moderate is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

In that small gutter we dug ourselves and have lain in, we constantly refuse to acknowledge extremism even when it’s present in our own backyards, even amongst the people we greatly respect and admire for the work they have done to benefit local residents.

This past weekend, folks held a car show in Port Jefferson benefiting one of the local VFW posts, one whose funds, like many, were hit hard due to the pandemic. It was also held to promote services supporting veterans post traumatic stress disorder.

This is as bipartisan as one can get. Most were maintaining some measure of social distancing. Most were wearing face coverings.

Though on one car, bedecked with banners supporting President Donald Trump (R) as well as some emblazoned with the Marines’ emblem, was a sign that read “Antifa Hunting Permit: Open Season All 58 Gender Identities.”

It’s not a new sign, indeed it’s available freely on the internet. It’s such a small example, but it represents an underbelly of violent intent that permeates our suburban community.

“Antifa,” as it’s known, is short for “anti-fascists.” They are an ill-defined, loosely organized set of groups that usually confront right-wing or conservative groups in public, often with violence. The president has called for them to be labeled a terrorist group. Though their actions have sometimes warranted condemnation, organizations like the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism say the number of anti-fascists can hardly compare to the number of similarly or even more extremely violent racist or white nationalist groups.

Beyond that is this mention of “All 58 Gender Identities.” For one, there are not 58 gender identities, there is no set number of defined identities among groups that use an identity beyond male or female.

Worse, it is an active call for violence against a group, namely people who are transgender, who suffer an extreme amount of violence for their population size. It’s an attempt to conflate a fractured collective spread across the United States with a vulnerable group of people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, advocates tracked at least 27 deaths of transgender or otherwise non-gender conforming people in the U.S. just in 2019. They were targeted and murdered for no other reason than that they were transgendered. Among those deaths, the majority were of black transgender women.

It’s such a small thing, just a single sign on a car in the center of more than a dozen. Though one only has to step foot on social media to witness the animosity shown toward people protesting on Long Island, despite how in over 100 protests, with more occurring every day of the week, only a handful were arrested, mostly for nonviolent offenses.

One can denounce the violence on the side of Antifa and denounce the violence of white nationalist groups and the wanton harm caused to vulnerable people. One can be both for police and for police reform. One can love one’s country and still think change is needed.

There’s no reason to have voices and mentalities strangled by the “either/or” divide that seems mandated in these times.

 

Huntington and Northport residents could cruise into a different era at the Hecksher Park ballfields in their choice of classic cars Aug. 27.

The Northport Centerport Lions Club hosted the 54th annual Robert J. Bohaty Memorial Lions Classic auto show featuring dozens of classic cruisers dating back to the 1930s. This year’s show was dedicated to the Lions’ past district governor Howard Wilson and past president Clinton Strait.

Attendees had the opportunity to look, but not touch, Ford Roadsters, Chevy Coupes, a Chevelle SS Convertible, Ford Thunderbirds and even a Crown Victoria that previously served as a police squad car.

Proceeds from the show provide monetary support to the Cleary School for the Deaf in Nesconset, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, and the Lions Eye Bank for Long Island, a part of Northwell Health.

Donated funds are also used to support local Cub and Boy Scouts, food pantries, little leagues and aid victims of natural disasters.

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The Long Island Cars Fall Harvest Car Show brought hundreds to St. James Sunday, Oct. 16, where dozens of vintage rides spanning from 1910 to the newest models were on display.

The lawns of Heritage Park in Mount Sinai played host to nearly 100 hot rods old and new on a sun-splashed, windy Sunday morning. A Ford Starliner from the 1950s and brand new Chevrolet Camaros, along with just about everything in-between, shared the green grass underneath blue skies on display at the Heritage Park Car Show.

North Shore residents young and old circulated the park to admire the vintage cars inside and out, with most even showing a peak at what’s under the hood. Live music, food, vendors and raffles accompanied the cool rides.

Residents peruse the selection of classic cars and trucks at a previous year’s event. Photo from John Forlenza

The St. Patrick School Car Show, now in its 11th year, is scheduled for Sunday, April 17, with a rain date on April 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of St. Patrick Church and School in Smithtown.

It will include a huge variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles as well as a large section of movie replica cars and monster trucks. Admission is $5 for adults, children free. Show car admission is $15 and motorcycles $5.

The impressive list of attendees for this year’s show includes a wide range of replica cars such as the Long Island Ghostbuster’s Supernatural TV Show Replica Car, Herbie the Love Bug, Smokey and the Bandit, Kitty Knight Rider and the Sheriff Buford T. Justice Car.

The car show will also feature the 9/11 American Patriot Tribute Car, the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department with drunk buggies and the BAT DWI Mobile Unit, a 1958 Plymouth Tribute to Christine, the 1956 Chevy Crankenstein, the 1957 Dragon Wagon, Sal’s Monster Truck and Primetime Trucking’s show truck: Blueprint.

In keeping with its tradition of being a day of “fun for the whole family,” the show will offer activities for children and young people from Jump Around Entertainment. A variety of vendors will offer shopping opportunities for the shoppers in the family. DJ Night Train will provide music, “blowing the dust off your most fondest memories.”

Raffles, giveaways and food will be available and, as the show takes place on the grounds of a church, a special blessing will be offered for all vehicles present.

St. Patrick Church is located at 280 E. Main St. in Smithtown. For more information or if anyone would like to display a car or reserve vendor space, call John Forlenza at 631-588-2696.

The dashboard of a 1937 Chrysler. Photo by Howard Kroplick

Walter P. Chrysler’s, custom-built, one-of-a-kind, 1937 Chrysler Imperial C-15 LeBaron Town Car – after an exquisite restoration that led to a major international award – will return to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport where it will be exhibited at a classic car show.

The Chrysler was a 1959 gift to the museum from collector Harry Gilbert of Huntington, New York. The car, since it was not part of the Vanderbilt family’s original collections and holdings, was de-accessioned from the museum collection decades ago.

The museum held an auction in January 2012 and the car was purchased by Howard Kroplick of East Hills, an author, historian and collector of vintage cars. With the proceeds, the museum established an endowment for the care and maintenance of the Vanderbilt archives, collections and exhibitions.

Kroplick first showed the unrestored Chrysler in June 2012, at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut, where it won the People’s Choice award for the “ultimate barn find.” He began restoring the car in November 2013. Most of the work was performed by Steve Babinsky, who runs Automotive Restorations in Lebanon, New Jersey.

After a comprehensive, 17-month restoration, Kroplick entered the Chrysler in the world’s pre-eminent classic car show, the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held in Monterey, California. “Only 281 of the 750 cars that applied were accepted,” he said. The Chrysler won the First in Class award in the American Classic Closed category. One month later, Gwynne McDevitt, granddaughter of Walter P. Chrysler, and her son, Frank Rhodes Jr., sat in the car at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

The masterpiece of Art Deco automotive design with coachwork by LeBaron is made of hand-worked aluminum. No factory-produced body panels were used. Details includes leather interior, upholstered seats, and custom console cabinetry. The 6,300-pound, seven-passenger limousine is 19 feet long and has a 130-horsepower, eight-cylinder in-line engine, and a three-speed manual transmission. When Kroplick bought the car, the odometer read 25,501 miles.

Originally, Kroplick said, he hoped to preserve the car as is. “After I bought the Chrysler, it started right away,” he said. “But when we opened it up, we found that the wooden frame, made of ash, was in bad condition. That’s when I decided to do a complete restoration. That ash frame was one of the project’s biggest challenges.”

The dashboard gauge faces were in good condition and required no work, he said. The snap-on black-canvas cover for the chauffeur’s compartment was replaced. The light-gray, camel-hair wool upholstery also was replaced in the chauffeur’s and passenger compartments.

The passenger-area console cabinetry, made of solid tiger maple, also needed restoration. The console includes a storage space and two glass-fronted cosmetic compartments. Below the console are two pull-down jump seats, and the passenger seats have upholstered foot rests. Kroplick said the clock, mounted in the center of the console, worked from the day he bought the car.

Kroplick said the car is believed to be the first to be equipped with spring-loaded, power-assisted rear windows and door locks, which are operated with cables. “The cables needed reworking so both windows and locks would work with a flip of the front passenger door handle,” he said.

The bumpers, door handles, dashboard knobs, horn ring and hood ornament were re-chromed in Ohio. The finishing touch was five coats of gleaming, hand-rubbed black lacquer. “The experts won’t share trade secrets on how they achieve that stunning mirror finish,” Kroplick said.

The Pebble Beach Concours is more than just an exhibition of classic cars. “One of part of the judging is that the cars should be roadworthy,” Kroplick said. “As part of the Tour d’Elegance, many of the entrants were driven 85 miles, along the famous 17-mile drive and on the Pacific Coast Highway.” Although the restoration had been completed just days before the event, he said the Chrysler finished the tour without a problem.

The rare automobile – built for Chrysler’s wife Della – will be the centerpiece of the annual Jaguar Concours d’Elegance and All Marque Concours Sanitaire, a show of classic automobiles presented at the Vanderbilt by the Jaguar Drivers Club of Long Island and the MG Car Club-Long Island Centre on Sept. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date will be Sept. 20.

In the Concours portion, Jaguars in the Championship, Driven and Special Division classes are be judged under Jaguar Club of North America Concours rules, which emphasize excellence of appearance. The Concours Sanitaire portion is open to vehicles of all years, makes, models and countries of origin. Cars are judged solely on appearance, cleanliness and general condition, not originality.

More than 100 cars will be on display on the Vanderbilt Estate grounds overlooking scenic Northport Bay. Included will be vintage and new Jaguar and MG models and a wide range of international and domestic spots cars and sedans.

Proceeds from a raffle will benefit the CAPS (Child Abuse Prevention Services), one of Long Island’s leading organizations dedicated to preventing bullying and child abuse.

Visitors pay only the museum’s general admission fee (adults $7, students with ID and seniors 62 and older $6, children 12 and under $3) – there is no additional charge for car show. Museum members enter the show free. For more information, call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Port Jefferson jumped into a time machine over the weekend, hosting a new event that celebrated the local culture, traditions, history and achievements.

Heritage Weekend saw historical fun at several locations throughout Port Jefferson and Belle Terre, including at the library on Thompson Street, at the Cedar Hill Cemetery and at the Port Jefferson Village Center, where vintage cars lined up for the Hill Climb on Sunday before making the 2,000-foot ascent of East Broadway to Belle Terre Road.

 

By Talia Amorosano

Despite 95-degree weather, car enthusiasts young and old gathered at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai on Saturday to get up close and personal with old and new local cars.

Cars displayed were in pristine condition and many had been refurbished or restored. Attendees were able to view parts of the cars that they wouldn’t normally see, as many owners propped the trunks and hoods open to enable full viewing. Because some cars were accompanied by informative signs with origin stories, or were staged with time-period-appropriate memorabilia, the car show was surely a learning experience even for already knowledgeable viewers.