. WHEN: Fridays, 6-10 PM, May 15th through October 1, 2021, weather permitting [2022 UPDATE: Fridays, May 6th through October 7, 2022] . WHERE: Bellmore Long Island Rail Road parking lot . ADMISSION: Walk through = Free • Parked car = $5 . HOST: Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores
Past sunset, I noticed an awesome orange 1959 Chevy Apache, with its owner, RUSS KOHLER, of Seaford, sitting in the driver’s seat, with his face lit by the instrument panel lights.
Through various non-profit events, Kohler uses his classic car to bring cheer to his fellow Long Islanders, and driving it in birthday car parades struck me most powerfully.
Starting in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic first struck Long Island, Kohler put a big Happy Birthday banner on the side of his truck while joining many dozens of birthday car parades, helping people celebrate without the risk of spreading or catching the virus.
Covid-19 has killed over 600,000 Americans, but “more than 99.99% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” – CNN, August 2, 2021
However, children under 12 aren’t eligible to get the vaccination, so their Covid-19 prevention options are to wear a mask and socially distance. My grandsons and granddaughter are all under 12 – one is nearly 12 years younger than that.
Those who can and do choose to get vaccinated, wear a mask, and socially distance are the truest good neighbors possible to those who cannot choose to get the Covid-19 vaccination – whether they live together or half way around the world from each other.
The fields were blooming with antique vehicles and family members of all ages at the 2019 Antique Car Show at Old Westbury Gardens. Just as long as you stayed hydrated, that Sunday, June 6th, was a lovely spring day for the 53rd Annual Spring Meet of the Greater New York Region chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America.
As I arrived at the show, awards were being announced, and the first winners I captured turned out to be brothers: SCOTT GRAMLICH of Baldwin, won two Memorial Awards for his 1925 Model T Ford [see photo above], and KEITH GRAMLICH, won a Memorial Award for his 1928 Studebaker Dictator, Club Sedan [click photo below].
Feature Photo at top of post:Old Westbury, NY, USA. June 2, 2019. A red Chevrolet Master Deluxe antique car drives by trophy table, and ALTHEA TRAVIS, standing at left, dressed in vintage-style nurse’s costume, hands out trophies at the 53rd Annual Spring Meet Antique Car Show, sponsored by the Greater NY Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America, at Old Westbury Gardens.
Whether their cars wore vivid coats of paint or muted ones, the owners I met at the Bellmore Friday Night Car Show last week were colorful and happy to talk, especially about the treasures they drove there.
Standing next to his sleek black Chevy SS, “Mr. Blowtorch” was handing out small free stickers – each with a beautifully illustrated car scene and “Friday Night • Car Show • Bellmore” on it.
I took two or three stickers as he shared anecdotes, and showed photos on his cell phone, about his former career as a theatrical stage metal worker (NYC’s Local One – IATSE).
So “Mr. Blowtorch” was the nickname he got at work, which spanned decades and continents, and included making the large flat metal world map, showing several rotated views of Earth, for the set of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite!
See the USA in Your 1957 Chevrolet
A big fan of the Chevy Tri-Years, 1955-57 (and shiny red things), I headed straight to a red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air as soon as I spotted it.
It turned out I arrived just in time to capture a shot of that, since – though the rockets weren’t leaving the car – the car was about to move to an apparently more desirable spot that had just opened up across the lane.
FRANKIE D’AMORE, of Levittown, had “BAC2D80S” license plates on his white with red interior 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible. Small green, white and red “Italia” boxing gloves dangling from the rear view mirror gave an extra personal touch.
It was well past sunset when I left shortly before 9 PM that late summer night.
Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores members, wearing yellow reflective safety vests, were collecting entrance fees from drivers of the classic, antique and customized cars, who had over an hour of cruise night to enjoy.
For me, like the rest of the hundreds of visitors who walked in, Bellmore Friday Night Car Show was free.
Last Friday, my friend Bob and I walked out of International Delight Cafe where we had dinner, and plunged into the tide of cars, motorcycles and fellow walkers heading to the Bellmore Friday Night Car Show at the Bellmore LIRR Station parking lot.
UPDATE: see 2019 Schedule for Friday Night Car Shows at end of post
What first drew my attention to Martocci’s classic Oldsmobile were the colorful plastic cheeseburger, ketchup and mustard bottles on the food tray suspended from the passenger window partly rolled down – but it just as easily could have been the colorful plastic bugs strewn on the car’s exterior and top of the cheeseburger.
Woodys, with their golden warm panels, are innately handsome vehicles, and Radomski customized his with flare.
The wooden roof luggage rack carries three surfboards with natural wood finish. He told how a man so loved this look during an earlier car show that he asked if Radomski would bring the wagon to the man’s beach party.
Radomski covered the Wunderbug hood in colorful floral fabric of earthy red yellow and greens. And I was fascinated by the trumpeting angel hood ornament he handmade from three silver forks, a 10-penny nail and a washer!
And, yes, the Woody Wagon got to go to the beach party :)
Going & Coming
Around 8:30 pm, we left to head back to IDC for some homemade gelato, and passed the ever-alert volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores and the Nassau Auxiliary police guiding the steady stream of cars into the parking lot.
We each had the fun challenge of choosing one of the 80 or so flavors of gelato. For me, chatting with new and old friends while eating a scoop of chocolate chip gelato on a gluten-free waffle was a great way to end that summer night in Bellmore.
Wednesday I covered the New York International Auto Show 2017, which I’d been looking forward to ever since NYIAS 2016. It was raining a bit when my train reached the city, so I bought an umbrella at Penn Station, mainly to protect my gear during my walk to Javits Center.
After a quick-ish walk up to and around the center’s vast 3rd Floor, I caught the Porsche Press Conference, which coincidentally was also the first one I caught last year. At the Exotics section I focused mainly on the Spyker C8 Preliator, Keonigsegg Agera RS, and the Rolls-Royce Dawn with its Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament.
Lexus displayed its eye-catching New York Fashion Week cars, and I grabbed the chance to interview Beau Valenzuela, who’s part of the SCPS Unlimited crew that created the programmable light display with roughly 42.000 LEDS on the Lexus LIT IS 350.
Soon after the train started, I opened a not-cold-enough can of soda that sprayed on my Nikon and me. Yikes! Two neighbors gave me tissues, and a fellow across the aisle handed me lens spray and wipes. It turned out he shoots videos and was also returning from NYIAS, so we talked cars and photography and videos till I got up for my stop.
I literally & frequently had to hold on to my hat Sunday afternoon, since it was such a breezy spring day at the Antique & Collectible Auto Show – with hundreds of vintage, classic, and collectible vehicles – at Old Westbury Gardens.
After getting a cold soda at the refreshment table, I spotted Pastor Green and Miska – a Service Dog who helps Marine veterans – near the Free Hugs booth of Marine Corps League, North Shore Queens Detachment #240. Both the pastor and his Husky and German Shepherd mix partner were so patient as I captured photos of Miska with her arresting ice-blue eyes and white fur.
Especially because this was the rain date for the event, some participants had other commitments to go to, so the trophy ceremony began early, explained officers from the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Greater New York Region chapter, which sponsored this 50th Annual Spring Meet.
Driving home in Bob’s faithful 2000 Honda later that day, we passed a local business with a large American flag flying at half mast, likely in sympathy for the victims of the horrific mass shootings early that morning at the Orlando nightclub.
“Hold on tight because this is going to hurt like hell.” – John A Passara
At the current New York International Auto Show, the only fields are projected on vast screens that seconds later might show cars speeding along mountain roads, or sun flares caressing beautiful women.
Early in the morning last Wednesday – Press Preview Day One of the New York International Auto Show – I packed my badge, Nikon DSLR with two lenses: 24-200/f2.8mm and 16mm 180-degree fisheye, and then took the LIRR to Penn Station and walked to the Javits Center.
It was fun work, with lots of walking and opportunities for capturing photos of gleaming autos and people.
At the end of the day was a special surprise: Trina Merry Studio recreated the NYIAS official poster as living art, with the painted and positioned bodies of her models forming the red car shown heading up the road.
Each spring I look forward to the return of Bellmore Friday Night Car Shows. The crowds bustling around hundreds of classic, custom, and antique cars at the Bellmore LIRR station parking lot have such friendly energy.
UPDATE: see 2019 Schedule for Friday Night Car Shows at end
On May 29, perhaps the hardest-to-miss custom car was a black 1992 Mazda Convertible belonging to PHIL ZIRKULI, a Baldwin UFSD Art Teacher, who was drawing colorful designs with chalk paint on his car. Zirkuli explained he decorates his car to draw attention to the importance of art education.
One of my favorite classic cars that spring night was a black 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 roadster racing car. When I asked why there was a thin wire attaching each Tri-Wing Knock Offto its wheel, I learned the safety wire prevents the Knock Off, aka Wingnut or Spinner, from flying into other cars if it comes off during races.
On June 12th, I enjoyed speaking with GREY CHERVENY, from Bay Shore, about his yellow 2003 Corvette 50th Anniversary model, with Lamborghini doors and chrome trim under the hood to reflect the motor. He proudly told me how, though he’s just recently started going to car shows with his modified Vette, it’s already appeared in Newsday, plus won an award.
Bellmore Friday Night Car Shows are great family fun. In fact, that late May night I unexpectedly ran into my older daughter’s family – including my grandson who excitedly shouted out “Train!” and pointed up from his stroller to the overhead tracks each time an LIRR train roared past.
Because I linger at each car that catches my eye – aiming to learn about the car and capture images that do it justice – I usually have time to catch only a small portion of the classic, antique, and custom cars each visit.
These free weekly shows are co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores and the Town of Hempstead, and run through to the first week in October. I look forward to returning for many more laps around the parking lot.
6 PM–10 PM, early in May until first week of October (weather permitting) bellmorechamber.com(516) 679-1875
Bellmore LIRR parking lot on Sunrise Highway (between Bellmore Ave. & Bedford Ave.)
UPDATES – 2019 Schedule
Weekly Friday meets from MAY 3 to OCT. 4, 2019, from 6 PM -10 PM (weather permitting)
One of the things I most enjoy about covering Long Island over the years is getting to know our people, and I was happy to see quite a few familiar faces (and cars) at Sunday’s Antique Car Show. The 50th Annual Spring Meet Car Show sponsored by Greater New York Region Antique Automobile Club of America had over a thousand antique, classic, and custom cars throughout the vast green lawns of historic Old Westbury Gardens.
Some of new faces I met were: Ex-Chief NEIL HICKS and firefighter ALEX SEQUEIRA at the prize-winning Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department truck; SAM GRECO and LAURA GRECO who brought 5 vintage cars to the show; likely the youngest ‘driver’ there,JACKSON STERN, with his dadJOSHUA STERN in Adam Heller’s 1954 Corvette; and VeteranJOHN GIORDANO and his fellow Marines giving Free Hugs at the Marine Corps League North Shore Queens Detachment #240 booth.
When I visited the trophy area, at first I didn’t recognize the charming woman – decked in pearls, vintage-style dress and black straw sunhat – who was getting ready to hand out the trophies. When an equally charming man, in dapper suit and straw hat with black band, came over and said his name, I realized they were ALTHEA TRAVIS and TOM MCCARTHY, the smiling couple I had captured photos of last December in Huntington at the Sparkboom Jingle Boom Holiday Bash!
At the end of that warm spring day, I was happy RICHARD BLECH‘S The Vintage Ice Cream Guys 1966 Ford Good Humor Ice Cream Truck, with the 4 classic bells by the Bevin Brothers, was still stocked with frozen pops for sale.
Yesterday, when meeting up with friends who’d arrived earlier at the Queens Farm 35th Annual Antique Auto Show, I asked what I should be sure to catch. “There’s a small red car with 3 wheels that’s really something, and a BMW that opens from the front….”
So I headed to Steve Kaplan’s red BRA CX3, which he made using a Beribo Replica Automobiles custom kit and 1983 Honda motorcycle, and because it’s 3-wheeled, the DMV registered it as a 2009 Custom Motorcycle.
Then I captured a colorful range of other cars brought by New York Antique Auto Club members, as I made my way to the opposite end of the field to see the 1958 BMW Isetta, designed by the Italian ISO refrigerator company. And like in a refrigerator, the Isetta’s door swings open from the front!
Last Sunday, Garden City Chamber of Commerce’s 58th Annual Easter Vintage Car Parade and Show featured hundreds of antique, classic and special interest motorcars. Though a gray, cold, windy day, happily the rain held off till that night.