Big Guy Car Guy

48 Hours in New York City via Rio

New York City Central Park Sax Man

New York City is the guy behind a tower of brown and white cardboard boxes piled up onto a hand truck moving east on 43rd street at rush hour on the day before Easter weekend.

He is not smiling but the sun splashes across his face all the same. He’s not not smiling either. He is just moving, with head up and head down.

Moving is what we all do here, aware and determined.

Kia Rio New York City Central Park Arches and Shadows Ballerinas

Three young ballerinas from out of town pose beneath the archways and amidst the shadows in Central Park, just south of where tourists in paddleboats weave their way around a lake.

The girls are a color wheel of pastels and they too are moving, breaking form and giggling with hands over mouths after their statue-still arabesques are captured by mom.

This city, this magnificent raging city, is also a rack of hats and scarves and sunglasses draped onto and around faceless snow white foam heads on the corner of 51st and 5th, tilted at all the angles by the breeze of yellow taxi cabs whizzing past as well as from the relentless crosstown wind still cool to the touch on cheeks and exposed arms thanks to flecks of last season holding on inside.

New York City is the sax man who sways his upper body from side to side with the music as his feet stay fixed to the terra firma of Central Park. What a wonderful world indeed as locals and tourists stroll past, taking the smile and melody he is so kindly offering, and tossing loose change and crumpled up dollar bills into the black velvet interior of his instrument’s case.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show

I spent most of a Wednesday last month inside New York City’s cavernous Javits Center, pacing beneath the heat of ceiling lights angled to focus all eyes on the shiny curvatures of car after car after car. Booth upon booth of glistening vehicles parked, motionless, engines silenced, metal that was cool to the touch.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show Javits

I spent most of a Thursday last month outside Javits. I watched ballerinas pose, tourists steer boats, men push boxes on busy sidewalks, sax men sway in the shadows, and foam heads tilt in the wind.

All the while, inside and out, my calf was throbbing. It felt like my right calf was trying to give birth to its muscle.

Relief was found only in sitting perfectly still or in moving at pace, nothing in-between. Motion or motionless.

The ideas of motion and motionlessness, of people moving while cars sat idly by on low-tech spindles and upon thickly carpeted floors, rattled around my head as I sought some semblance of comfort and, hopefully, at least a handful of perfect shots of the 2018 Kia Rio, the redesigned ride I was in the city to cover.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show Javits

Being artistic while in immense pain isn’t a trick I’ve yet mastered however.

I struggled to focus myself and my camera on the Rio, ballerinas, boats, or anything at all.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show Javits

The 2018 Rio, the 4th generation of one of Kia’s legacy vehicles, is a handsome car, especially the red hatchback version that sat on a spindle in prime viewing location atop Kia’s booth.

Eventually, I climbed up and climbed in.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show Javits

Inside the Rio there was quiet, stillness, and comfort as the auto show roared on all around.

There’s a soothing element to the interior of the 2018 Kia Rio, a fine balance of motion and motionless in the red and black fabrics, plastic and metals. There are no medicinal properties of the Rio but rather quickly, the pain in my calf subsided. I could’ve stayed tucked inside that car for hours.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show Javits

It is a funny thing to see, touch, examine and park yourself in a car while motionless.

Funnier still inside a city that doesn’t pause too often. That’s an entirely antithetical relationship one has to the automobile.

At an auto show though, especially one in New York City, it is humanity that is on the move. The cars are simply biding time, looking pretty, and conjuring fanciful ideas.

Kia Rio NYC Auto Show Javits Glass Ceiling

Hot dog cart steam rose up just outside acres of glass and the city revealed itself further from there. Men and women wearing shoes that click and clack, clack and click on the street came and went. They were in conversation with colleagues walking beside or with ghosts in their ears. Deals were done, interviews given, and plans made for drinks once the lights go dim. It’s non-stop.

The single prevailing thought that I couldn’t stop having throughout my time inside and out of the auto show, in and out of pain, was that the 2018 Kia Rio would be a fine first car for my oldest daughter.

It’s a strange thought in a way, because I swear to god she was just a bundle of coos bouncing in a seat that did all the heavy lifting for her, like, a minute ago.

Now she’s a kid moving at a comfortable canter towards young adulthood and, soon enough, automobility. She’s still going north-south, the short and easy blocks, but there’s crosstown wind waiting to bite with its surprising chill. There’s no avoiding it if you want to move forward in this city.

Time too is never motionless.

Kia Rio NYC

Growing a child is a lot like time spent in New York City.

Even when we’re paused, motionless at one of life’s red lights, holding a pose in the shadows, listening to the sound of a saxophone travel to meet us on the other end of a tunnel, we’re also, at the exact same time, pushing a handtruck full of thoughts crosstown into the wind: what’s next on the calendar, is homework due/done/lost, did you really brush your teeth, why are there five and a half outfits but not a single pair of underwear in your hamper, who is that you are texting, yes you can walk to the store by yourself but please be careful.

All the while our children keep on growing up, even if we are able to find quiet and relief in a single moment, they don’t stop moving to become more fully formed people every day.

What can we do but try to keep moving alongside them, shaking off any pain that persists, and hope they too will someday find and appreciate the time to be motionless enough to watch in wonder as a city twirls, plays, and holds its pose for them.

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One Comment

  1. I’m intrigued by the thought of you sitting in the car in silence while the car show goes on around you. It’s an oasis.

joc