Day 7 of the rally had us up and heading down to W43rd St and Broadway. The cars were all starting to warm up north in Toronto for the final leg down to Time Square to cross the finish line and continue on for the final celebrations of the event.
The event started 6 days ago in London, they then headed to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, over the seas to Boston, Quebec City and then Toronto. Today they all wanted to hit that final sprint. the Gumballer’s were keener than ever.
On the subway I was constantly checking blogs, news sites and other sources to make sure nothing had changed over night. All on track for a strong finish so all was looking great.
By 9am we got to Time Square. upon exiting out of the subway I noticed lots of NYPD officers had blocked off a large part of the new pedestrian strip that opens up a large walkway between stores and the Red Steps. This did not look good.
It had only been 3 days since officers found and caught the failed time square bombing with explosives in a pick up truck only one block up to where we were. Pushing through the crowds I could see dark SUV’s and lots of police cars and a guy in a “hurt locker suit”
“should I be standing here?” was the first thing that was going through my mind when I saw this scene! but looking at the lax expressions on the NYPD officers who seemed to be standing around watching the crowds, I figured we would be fine. Just to be sure, I steeped back just a few more hundred meters!
We had break fest while we waited for things to calm down and return back to normal. The police and mayor had agreed to allow us close off the street between 43rd and 42nd. That was not going to happen while a sus package (which later turned out to be an empty esky from a construction worker) was cleared. Ever since Sep 11, the city was on edge. Things have calmed down, but the worst still was always expected.
1PM rolls around and the large truck shows up, the truck will be used to display promo material of the DVD release and also advertise the sponsors through out the event. We walk over to the truck and start setting up, as we do the Monster Energy drink van rocks up. I have never been so happy to see a black van in my life! As we continue, the van opens up and that begins our unlimited supply of Monster drinks.
Its now around 6PM, and after fencing and bannering up the whole block, large crowds are starting to form. Thats the amazing thing about NY, there is always so much happening that taking up a block in the most busiest part of the busiest city in the world is nothing. Pumped up on Monster, we tell the crowds whats up. “there are a bunch of sports cars and celebrities on their way from Toronto on their way here.” Some people heard and passed on the news, some simply shrugged and walked off. Either way, Time square was going to get very loud.
As the crowed grew, a very loud blip of an accelerator echoed through the buildings. A black Lamborghini Murcialargo drove up to the fence. “how do I fu#king get in there!??, is there anyone else there??” The driver was on a mission to be in first but became stuck with NYC’s many one way street. I told him he had to go around the block and back up to get in. As he pulled off, a black Gallardo rolled in. Sorry pal, 2nd place for you.
The crowed grew and grew as millions of dollars of exotic cars started roiling in. Bugatti, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini.. the whole lot. One crew was up the start letting cars in and it was my job to stay down the end and guide the drivers in. While this sounds exciting much of the action was happening up front. As I thought they drove from London to New York, Im sure they would be right with no one assisting with parking. I grabbed the camera and started walking up to the action. Celebrities, Skate boarder Tony Hawk, Rapper Xzibit, Bike rider Matt Hoffman, Femal rapper Eve and Rhinna, even Sheikh Mohammed “Moe” Al-Thani in his million dollar Rolls Royce Drophead coupe. Over 100 luxury and exotic cars filled this block in less than an hour. The place was crazy, fans were everywhere snapping photos, the drivers were all out of their cars, relived and satisfied the 3000 miles over 7 days had come to an end and all that was left to do was celebrate and party in a club that was fully booked for all the participants. The night was absolutely mental. I didn’t believe it at first, but the Naked Cowboy was also there with a couple who were performing their vowels and getting married! the whole block cheered for them it was truly an amazing experience
The last of the stragglers came in at around 11pm, well worn and exhausted. Once they saw the finish line the energy was back, there is no sleep on the gumball. You get up, out and hit the club.
when all is said and done, it was time to pack up and hit the subway back to W106th. The perfect end to the event and my holiday.
More pics on my Flickr Page. All pics here and in my Flickr are mine and are not to be copied without my consent please.
Credit to Gumball3000.com for the video.