The Last Flight of the New Yorker Part Eight

by John Desranleau



Readers: Did you ever wish you could relive just one day of your youth. (The 1st Time excluded)
Well this would be the day I certainly would wish for.
I had just come out of the hospital the day before after being there for 9 days.
With that behind me I was looking forward to continuing my life’s journey.

The Next day was Saturday
What a glorious morning, the type that you would want to go back to when your youth senses were at the height of appreciative acceptance. It was slightly cool and there was a gentle wind rusling the leaves on the trees – sort of what you would expect on a brand new day.

The blue sky, shaded by dark green leaves in front of our house that filtered the morning rays, created a wonderful canopy covering above the New Yorker that was centrally parked directly in front of our house.
Jacques had cleaned his prize to it best appearance that I had ever seen it…He had all the windows down and the elegance of the New Yorker parked in front of our house that morning could have be used as a post card advertisement. The white roof perfectly graced and complimented the white/blue upholstery that looked so welcoming.
At that very moment the Young Rascals Number One Hit “Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon” was playing befitting and packaging the whole scene.

Groovin' on a Sunday afternoon
Really couldn't get away too soon
I can't imagine anything that's better
The world is ours whenever we're together
There ain't a place I'd like to be instead of

Movin' down a crowded avenue
Doing anything we like to do
There's always lots of things that we can see
You can be anyone we like to be
All those happy people we could meet
Just groovin' on a Sunday afternoon
Really, couldn't get away too soon

We'll keep on spending sunny days this way
We're gonna talk and laugh our time away
I feel it coming closer day by day
Life would be ecstasy, you and me endlessly

To me this was the unwrapping of one of the best days of my life.
It seemed to me that that song was penned for this very moment.

Jacques stood outside his rocket tapping the rhythm on the roof and just enjoying his first butt of the day that came out of the pack that was neatly tucked into the sleeve of his white tee shirt which showed off his youthful, muscular "V" shaped upper body. He was wearing his standard getup which consisted of a pair black chino slacks and heavy looking boot shoes, the kind Harley bike riders wore, which gave him an "Industrial look". He always had a confident stance look about him, always so sure of himself, something that I lacked at the time. Jacques was the type of guy of very few words – not a lot of nothing, and when he spoke it was in a pretty low tone, sort of like Jack Palance. When he talked and locked those green eyes on you it was his stare that seem to hold you with their grip. There was one word that when he said it sort of sounded like he had invented the right way of saying it, and the only other guy that said it with conviction was Dirty Harry-- the word was PUNK! Jacques took a final drag then tossed the butt and barked “Let’s blow this joint and fish out the skinny Irishman. This snapped me out of my day dreaming mood (must have been the left over anesthesia) or it could be that I was so glad to be alive and appreciated every little thing and I now saw things in a different light)

I opened the door and was greeted by the fresh pine tree fragrance, eyeing the interior it was showroom perfect, even the rear view mirror sitting centered on the dash was so polished that it picked up the prism colors of the morning sun.. The rugs, seats and door upholstery all culminated richness to the senses. Closing the door I wished for only one thing that was missing,, the seat belts. Jacques got in and I could see he was happy that I was back. He didn’t have to say anything. The New Yorker Gracefully pulled away from the sidewalk and like a ship free from the dock, we’re off on our cruise. I was really impressed how mannerly Jacques drove around the first corner and onto 12th Street. Now heading toward South Orange Ave which was still a full block up, Jacques fed the Hemi some oats which immediately pinned me to my seat giving me that funny thrill feeling like going over a hill. It felt great to be alive! Jacques looked over at me and saw my broad smile – he knew I was happy to be with him again.
A nice slow down and smooth stop at the light, then up South Orange Ave again very gracefully. The Avenue is practically empty and the sidewalks are still damp from last nights rain shower. We swept past Fairmount Cemetery with it glossy black spiked iron fence that would look good outside Buckingham Palace. I glanced over looking at all the distant monuments and found it intriguing and very peaceful on this wonderful morning and asked God to bless all the resting souls there.
Turning Down on 20th Street, Jacques traversed the three long blocks with accelerating dashes that pinned me again into my seat then makes a perfect quick landing directly in front of James Connelly’s house. I said to myself: I hope I could drive so precisely and in full control like that when I drive. The New Yorker was like one with Jacques, today its called fly by wire = instinctually. That big car moved and reacted like it was much smaller when Jacques was at the controls. Jacques "beeped", the New Yorker had great sounding announcer – not some cheap sounding tin horns of a lesser grade car. It had a prominent full and rich tone saying we have arrived.
Mrs. Connelly opened the front porch door that was one level above us, the aroma of eggs and bacon wafted through the street air. She wasn’t sure about seeing Jacques driving this big fancy car and wanting her son to go alone for a ride. I could see the doubt of uncertainty come over her face just before she was about to shut the door, I called out “Good Morning Mrs. Connelly” It’s me John. “Oh, John it’s you!”, with a sigh of surprise in her sweet voice I knew in an instant that she would now call “Jimmy” to come out to see us. James came out looking like Frank Gusenberg, he did not expect us but, like a Good Fellow, he jumped right in the front seat. Mrs. Connelly seeing us pull out yelled “Jimmy” be careful!

Right away I said,” Jacques Don’t do a Burn Out….. “ Too Late… Screech! =====================
James starts laughing, “Jack its great to see ya” as he turn around to pass me a Newport; I was happy he did not ask me about my hospital stay. We were just picking up from when we last were together, everything is the same. Jacques had his passenger and proceeded piloting his majestic car to the land beyond for a day’s worth of adventures…………….

The Corridor of Thunder and Might
First Stop down Neck – Why we went there I couldn’t recall, but once there I couldn’t forget either.
We headed down toward where all the junkyards and used tire lots were. We were on a road that was lined up with the descent path for the big jets coming in low for landings in Newark Airport. With their wing flaps down shuttering, high decible jet turbine sounds spewing out black kerosene smoke trails in the sky directly above us, all the air on the ground vibrated with concussion shock waves adding real excitement to the moment. What a grand display of America’s Aerospace Dominance in the civil aviation, Boeing, Douglas and Convair which made up the largest percentage of all the free world Jet Airlines at the time.
Those big silver bodied birds with their riveted mirrored skins catching and reflecting the morning sun with their landing gears and slow gyration rolls was truly an awesome sight to behold, it was like the precursor of what this day was going to be like…..
Jacques spots an empty dirt lot, and then pulls the New Yorker onto it. I’m wondering what gives?
Do you guys know what a brody is he asks? Before we can utter a what? Jacques grabs and swings the suicide knob hard to the right and floors it. The Big New Yorker reacts and goes into this wild spin. As we are turning Jacques manages to hit the switches to make all the side windows close. He keeps pouring on, dust and lose debris is set flying like a cocks tail behind a Thunder Boat on Lake Washington. He then starts doing figure eights, then all out doughnut burn outs. The big New Yorker seems to be in its element handling each wild turn with total competent control thanks to the hefty torsion bars in the front end . (I guess that’s why all modern battle tanks employ torsion bars in their suspensions)
The whole lot became one big brown hazy cloud! Finally he jumps the New Yorker out of there and onto the payment and completes this stunt with a long tire screaming burnout. Jim and I are speechless.

What caused Jacques to do such a stunt?
I guess it was a combination of jet fumes and an over abundance of testosterone.

His glossy waxed up car isn’t shining any more. That was my brother, spur of the moment and did not worry about any trivial things as long as there was fun to be had and sizing what he thought was an opportunity to enjoy it to the max.
Thinking back on this moment it sure was scary and hair rising, but it was a blast to have done it – some thing you don’t normally do. All we were missing was pretty Daisy Duke and we would have been the Dukes of Hazards.

The windows descended back down and the hard top roofline look of elegance reappears again. None of the dust got into the cabin verifying that my Dad and Jacques did a good job on the floor boards, the dust on the exterior was whisked clean by high speed dashes.

The Land of green grass
We next set our sites on exploring the green belt of Suburbia – the lure of the dawn of Aquarius beckoned us to venture away from the Iron shackles of Newark. We jumped on Route 1-9 and landed on Rt24 heading towards Madison. Suburbia was the outer world where most of the pre habitants of old Newark fled to. The land of green grass – Bar-B-Q's – Clean streets with flowers pots hanging from Gas street lamps, American Flags displayed proudly next to front doors of perfectly painted houses with manicured hedges and lawns. Grass sprinklers that lazily rained down sparkling droplets of clear water, creating miniature rainbows in the process. Driveways with shiny cars being washed by dads and kids, buckets of soapy water and the family dog joining the fun. Bicycles freely coasting down the street with the sound of clicking bells on the handlebars assured you that this was a very safe place to raise kids. Young People like locusts, were everywhere you looked as it stated in the Soda Pop commercial of the time “It’s Pepsi Time the drink of the New Younger Generation” – so full of life and joy, and laughter. Music could be heard emanating from all directions of car radios, open sun porches and kids with transistor radios added to the "effervescense" of the Dawn of Aquarius – what a wonderful time to be alive. Riding in the back seat and observing this entire beauty going by made me wonder if these people realized just how much they really had at this moment in time. This was like a syntactic acid trip to me but no LSD was needed, full of colors – joys – happiness music all around if I could only capture its aura and place it in a bottle for a cloudy sad day in Newark.

A real Cherry
We pulled up to a light that just turned red. I heard it come up from behind us; it was a Candy Apple Red ‘63 Chevy Impala. I saw the insignia SS underneath the springy Impala icon as it pulled right up to the front bumper of Jacques New Yorker. It was a young freckle faced kid who looked like he just got this Car out of a trade school mechanic’s shop. I notice he was unsure of himself but he was defiantly "toating" a very big engine under that hood. Maybe I got him nervous when he spotted me looking at him as if he was a piece of T-Bone Steak that was just thrown into a Lion cage at feeding time.
The rumble emanating from the big back pipes of the Super Sport revealed that lots of modifications were made to make it sound so intimidating. Jim looked at this kid then turned around and looked at me, purposely trying to edge Jack on.
My brother did not do a thing, just looked straightforward???
That Candy Apple Paint Job sure did look good – as they say in California a real Cherry! Green Light, instantly Jacques turned his head and stared hard at the young punk and then floored it, the kid was completely caught off guard, the New Yorker lunged forward by a half a car length. Freckles then over reacted by "revving" his engine into high RPM and quickly let out the clutch,,,, Wow! screaming burning rubber, the backend fishtailed wildly trying to get some grip. By then Jacques big Hemi was near its top rev and we were at least 5 car lengths ahead of the trade school kid. It was over, way over. Jacques blew the doors off of the Candy Super Sport Impala. The Kid will have to take it back to the shop and have its horns put back on ,which were slightly bent from the Blast of the Big Hemi! He quickly turns off the Ave that's it for him!

Gemini The New Yorker, like Jacques and I, was a “Gemini”- Zodiac’s Twin Personality

The New Yorker made a perfect Prom / Wedding car, graceful, smooth, refined and quiet.It would be a perfect backdrop for photographing a pretty little girl holding bright pastel balloons in one hand and a bunch of charm lollypops in the other – totally docile. Also it did not broadcast it venomous equalizer, the earth ""moving"" Hemi cloaked under its hood. Most guys that challenged and pulled up to the New Yorker, totally misjudged its capabilities and by the time they realized what they were up against it was too late – See Ya! This is what made Jack’s car so stealthy; most cars that he took on did not expect Hercules to emerge. Also Jacques like a pharmacist, dished out the proper prescription the handled each client. Jacques rarely gunned his engine – this would have shown his cards, instead he psyched out each one of his foes.

Lucas McCain
Jacques like (Chuck Connors) The Rifle Man was gunning for his next victim.

Road Side America
We were again just cruising alone Rt 24 listening to all the great songs playing on the radio and pointing and checking out all the pretty gals with their Mini Shirts parading on the sidewalk. My oh my they were "Blossoming" Everywhere!!!! We passed lots of teen hang outs, all the boys trying to look sharp sporting Side Burns, Smoking Marlboros wearing Ray Band Sunglasses, H.I.S Slacks, Tom McCann shoes, and plenty of Canoe cologne splashed on, trying to impress all the pretty gals walking around. To me this was the America that I was missing, but I was not letting that get me down, I was happy to witness it and to be part of it on this sunny June day. It was Groovy!

The Aqua Velva man
The Aqua Velva man, a middle age man dressed in sharp attire Ascot neatly protruding from his expensive looking shirt and looking sharp and refined in his 1965 Teal Blue Thunderbird waiting at the light as Jacques pulled up to him. I was drawn to check out his cool machine with its the dark green blue tinted band on the front windshield letting the light into what was surely an aircraft inspired cockpit with all the nestle chrome gauges angled to face the driver. The guys give Jacques a quick look then as the light turned green he smirked a grin and took off with all the bird could muster. Jacques looked at him dashing away, I’ll let Pop think he has a fast car, hehe. He performed the same take off procedure that worked so well on Central avenue, holding the brake and bring up the revs high so that it felt like the engine would come through the hood then unleashed the Hemi. It felt like we were rammed from the back, a snapping jolt that slapped us into the seat when we blasted off after our prey. The Bird was at least 4 car lengths away, it was a matter of seconds when we overtook and shot by the T-Bird as if it was standing still, we went by him with a Whooosshhh , blowing off his tail feathers!
Jacques then came to a perfect stop at the next light. AV Man pulled along side us and smiled and said in a stannous voice: Ah what kind of a motor to you have in that car?
Jacques replied (In his best Marlon Brando voice as he blowed out smoke from his Windston and looking straight forward not looking at his challenger) A Real Motor! Then gunned it leaving a patch of burnt rubber as our calling card. To me this man was a gent and a sport who did not realize he was up against one of the baddest engines ever placed in a car and with Jacques at the helm it was not a contest.

The reason the New Yorker did not do a wildly slipping and sliding "Burnout" display on launch was due to the heaviness and heft of the backend that held the tires tied down thus the Torgue was appiled and not wasted on the take off.

The Island of Tranquility
Route 24 when it enters Morristown forces you to make a right hand turn, which then cycles the Green (A center of town park filled with lush green grass and towering old trees that give it a Central Park type of feel). It was filled with beautiful people just enjoying the pleasant setting, young couples sitting on park benches, people playing guitar, others lounging on the grass. A vendor selling balloons to little girls in chiffon summer dresses. There were older couples feeding pigeons, a total picture of harmony. Jacques pulls over and parks, we got out and bought some sodas. This is so different from Newark, we feel a bit alienated so we stayed close to the New Yorker just taking in the scene. We hopped back into our transporter and continued on RT-24 – ‘Groovin’ comes on again to permeate my mind on this moment.

The Graduate
Heading away from Morristown we were passing Jockey Hollow Park with its green meadows, old stone fences and tall elm trees that were on both sides of the road creating a beautiful green foliage tunnel. The road is now one line and Jacques is also taking in by the moment and drove very mannerly, just cruising and enjoying this sunny afternoon. . We are just in awe looking at the quite country side, then like a sneak attack a kid looking like Dustin Hoffman from the picture “The Graduate” passes us on the left and sharply cuts in and continues speeding ahead of us. We were totally taken by surprise. The Car he was manning was a 65 Dark Metallic Blue Oldsmobile F85 Starfire with a white convertible top, very sharp looking with it crisp clean lines and wire wheels. This was an intermediate size car with a weight advantage of about 800lb less to haul around.
The twin tail pipes protruding from the rear bumper testified that it was being propelled by good size Rocket engine and the way he was covering ground ahead of us certified that!
Jacques throws out his Winston and sat up straight with a slight look that said “That’s It Punk your dead” We were doing about 40, and the Olds was really pulling away from us,
This was the first time I saw the New Yorker going to passing gear status, Jacques just stomped the gas pedal to the floor with full force, and there was a naño second of hesitation, then an explosive eruption of things happening at prosaic intervals. First was the horrific roar of the big four barrel calling for more fuel, the front end plowed upwards as the tires shoved the body forward by the Hemi unleashing its full dose of horsepower and administering tons of torque. The New Yorker catches up to Olds looking like it was trying to bite off a chunk off its rear. Jacques utters “Punk Your Mine”, the Graduate is now totally scared out of his wits trying desperately to pull away – his little Olds couldn’t oblige his wish. The New Yorker’s front bumper was right up to the Olds rear end. I could almost make out the dial setting on the radio on his dash… We were real, real close, the immenseness of the Chrysler’s stature bearing down on him like it had a magnetic grip on his back bumper must have really been intimidating…….. Mommy! I called Jacques off the poor kid, Jacques listened and let him off with a warning. I think the Kid needed a change of underwear after that stunt. Again the New Yorker impressed me with all its arsenal of power!

We’re now motoring in the quiet town of Mendam.
I tell Jacques please no more racing lets just have a nice enjoyable ride.
Jacques seems to agree as he follows a Ford Squire Station wagon with a little boy that is constantly waving Hi to us, maintaining a safe distance between us and them. The Ford is obeying the speed limit and what seems to be an unending journey to nowhere. Jacques starts getting fidgety. I don’t know where this road is taking us to, he said in frustration.

The Road Side Stand Just then on the left side of the road was an entrance to a small roadside Hamburger stand. Jacques guns it and the New Yorker heaves its hood upward like a horse being pulled by its reins as it turns sharply onto the gray graveled lot. The ""crunching"" sound of the gravel must have re tripped that switch in Jack’s head and it was like announcing "Hey Kids What Time is it!" === “It’s Brody Time!” The Lot was empty except for the small white cabin set in the back by picnic tables. Jacques gets that craze look in his eyes and yells 4000! And starts flinging the Big New Yorker into this high speed ballad twisting and turning spin outs and yelling YaaaaHooooooo. Rocks are being pitched and flung everywhere like a bursting skyrocket. He keeps it up around and around, I’m getting tossed in the back seat cause there is nothing to hang on too. Finally like a flash thunder storm it’s over. The New Yorker climbs over several furrows that weren’t there a minute ago and parks. Jack swings open the door like “Captain Outrageous” steps out Click-Flips-Flick-his Zippo with the signature six inch flame, lit his Winston and observes his handy work. A broad grin came over his face and he calls out to James and I ,are you guys hungry – I am – I can eat a bear!
We walk into this plywood palace and discover that the grills are on but no one appears to be here. Jacques Yells out Yo! Anyone here as he spinned the swivel seat stool before he mounted it. All of a sudden a man wearing a white folded up cap appears from behind the counter. Jack addresses him like General Patton, what are you doing trying to hide? (He was probably hiding from the rocks being flung) The man appears to be totally shaken and looks over at his front lot then looks at Jacques who looked as innocent as if he did nothing wrong. Jacques said in a calm tone What?, then ignores the guy and ask me “Hey Square Head”, What do you want to eat? Before I can even answer he tells the counter guy Give my brother a California Cheese Burger – You do know how to make that right?
Jim how’s bout you – make that 4 California’s. I ask what is a California burger? I guess when that poor gentleman eyed Jacques up and the way Jacques looked in that tight white tee shirt and that crazed look, he decided not to say anything but to take our order. He very kindly answers my question in a sheepish tone ; it’s got lettuce and tomatoes on it. Feeling sorry for the guy I try to be extra nice trying to make up for the brody. He was OK with it, guessing that’s what boys do with car sometimes – they get carried away. We enjoyed our meals and Jim and I left him an extra tip beside Jacques tip to show him that he was a real good sport about it. Then we left the lot – No! no more brody – we all agree that the guy was alright! Jacques headed back towards home now.

(It wasn’t till 1976 the bicentennial that I rediscovered that little Hamburger stand which was right outside the little town of Chester. It had great homemade burgers and frosted mugs of root beer) It is no longer there, the little shack was torn down in the mid eighties.
In the year 2000 we had our first family reunion and I went back to that lot and picked up a gravel rock that looked like it had black burnt rubber marks on it and presented it to Jacques as a souvenir)
I still Reminisce every time I drive by the empty lot with the gray gravel.

Going Back Home? Every thing was quiet heading back down Rt24. I thought we were going home.
I told Jacques No More Racing – No Matter What! (Like the little Kid in Terminator II telling Arnold No More Shooting – You understand!) Descending down Rt 24 looking out the side window at all the Lush Greenery, ponds, vegetable stands, old barns and the way the low angled rays of the sun in June illuminates everything near the ground with such vivid colors. Taking it all in because soon I will be back in Newark and having none of it again. James was in the front seat keeping Jacques at bay by talking about a multitude of different things – Music – Girls – Style and making sure not to talk about cars. He got along very will with Jacques and Jacques liked conversing with Jim because of his quick and witty Irish wit. The song Groovin’ comes on the Radio again for about the 10th time today, each time just as enjoyable and befitting the day perfectly.

We are finally now on Springfield Avenue in Irvington, seeing Jacques jump on the Parkway thinking he is going to take it up to South Orange Ave to drop Jim off. He pays his quarter and hits the gas – Jim and I looked around to see if he racing someone?

"Hmmmmmmmmmmmm" all the windows came up - closing and sealing out all the street noise -- Pressurizing the cabin?

Jacques has now got this serious look like Dr. No from a James Bond Flick
In an authoritative German scientist voice he announces "Prepare for High Speed Testing"

What I say to myself!

The New Yorker keeps accelerating faster and faster 80-90-100-110

I watch the needle on the round speedometer tilt towards its full arch to 120 MPH

The Needle is solidly pinned……………………………………………………

There goes the Exit for South Orange Ave – Then Central Ave goes by in a blur.

Holy Godzilla’s!!!

(I'm thinking to myself he's gone completly nuts just because he paid a quarter toll he thinks he's on the Utah Salt Flats going for - a land speed record)

The only assuring thing is that the Big New Yorker is rock steady

Jacques proclaims I still have an inch left before the pedal is to the floor… meaning we are doing over 120 and I still feel the New Yorker going faster, the white deviding lines are bluring by so fast that they almost seem to be one solid line now!!!!

Just when I think the Car going to leave the ground, Jacques says "That's Good" and applied the brake to scrub down the MPH descending down to legal speed as we reach the exit for Bloomfield Avenue in record time, my heart pounding starts to go back to normal as we zoom off the exit ramp. (Thank God)

Connelly had a smile like he totally enjoyed it.

The Great Challenger

As we descended down the exit ramp we meet up with a shiney new ‘67 Blue turquoise Pontiac Grand Prix Convertible.
Jacques glares over at this new arrival.
The Guy in the Grand Prix Glares right back at Jack like John Gotti looking at a Pretzel Boy!
Not Good!
I call this Challenger - The Bubble Gum Gangster
Jet Black Hair, Gold rimmed wrap around shades, looking like James Bond.
He was dress to the “T”
Italian knit, perfectly plastered hair, nice healthy tan, white smiling teeth and a hand with a big stoned ring and a dangling gold chain. He held a Marlboro close to his lips taking small drags and looking like he was a King. Glancing again looking at Jacques Car and laughing as if Jacques ride was a joke.
I was observing the beautiful car he was driving – simply gorgeous.
It was packing the big Quadra Power 428 cubic inch powerhouse, Pontiac’s Biggest Gun! I saw the insignia in red on the front fender as Jacques maneuvered his dog next to this new challenger. Mind you this car was 10 Years in evolution ahead of the New Yorker.
Its profile was slippery smooth and very sophisticated looking. It’s Chrome Mags made the New Yorker Hubcaps look like,,, just that-- Hub Caps. That new look of "shiney" chrome is unbeatable no matter how many coats of polish you put on old chrome –

This Car was the clear winner in this appearance class showdown.Mr. Bubble Gum felt he had a stacked deck with a full house that showed loud and clear with his arrogance and total A-t-t-i-t-u-d-e.

But wait a minute the Hemi hasn’t spoken yet! And your dealing with Jacques the genuine article! This time I wanted Jacques to trash this guy, but looking at the insignia 428 again started me doubting….

Could Jacques car truly be unbeatable against a car that is newer and more modern by 10 Years?

Is this the menace that will take us Down?

I was starting to think the winglet fins on the New Yorker were passay ?

Bubbles surely had the look of confidence as both cars sized one another up and waiting for a clear path to finally find out who Is the Best?

The Last Flight of the New Yorker Part Nine

John Desranlesu is a Car Show Photographer. You can view his work at:

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