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
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
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
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
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
Jacques like (Chuck Connors) The Rifle Man was gunning for his next
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.
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
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
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
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
I still Reminisce every time I drive by the empty lot with the gray
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
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.
(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!
I call this Challenger - The Bubble Gum Gangster
Jet Black Hair, Gold rimmed wrap around shades, looking like James
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
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
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
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
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: