INDIGNITY VOL. 3, NO 60: Auto archaic appreciation.


INDIGNITY VOL. 3, NO 60: Auto archaic appreciation.

An Incomplete Survey of the 2023 New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center

Note: This piece is way too long for a regular Indignity email. so even if you make it to the bottom of this, you will probably have to click on another thing for the whole schmear. Thank you.

EVERY YEAR, MY brother and I used to go to the big car show at the Baltimore Convention Center to check out cool prototype “concept” cars and super-new cars before they were released to dealers. I own a 2005 Pontiac Vibe, and I’m not in the market for a new car until my current machine is beyond repair, but I’ve always enjoyed sitting in cars I could never afford and marveling at how much a new car can cost—not to mention how you can double the price of a car with “options” for a different engine and paint and trim package and sound system and wheels and stuff. You can easily drive the cost of a vehicle up by five grand just with your choice of wheels. The Business of America is on wheels!

This area had some sorta aerosol coming outta the ceiling and it was supposed to look like snow. The Subaru installation on the other side of the hall made this thing look like a science project baking soda volcano.

I dwell in Baltimore, MD, and last year the big annual show at the convention center was weak. It seemed like all that was there was a bunch of local auto dealers trying to sell cars and there was hardly any cool stuff there, so this year we took the Amtrak up to New York for the big show at the Javits Center.

Big clean energy.

The pricey Amtrak Acela train we took on the way up  (I got a deal on tickets) went about 130 mph at certain points of the trip and there was zero sensation of the speed.

That’s the nose of our Acela train up front pulling in to Baltimore’s Penn Station, en route to New York’s Penn Station, passing by Pennsylvania’s, uh, 30th Street Station.

It was 90 minutes faster than if we drove or took the bus, the seats are spacious, there’s a snack bar, and it’s a super-relaxing way to go 135 miles an hour. If you did that in a car out on the highway you’d get arrested, if the cops could catch you. The trip back on the regular train took about a half hour longer, so still an hour faster than driving.

I downloaded a speedometer app for my phone and this is how fast it said we were going. No, not the whole time, it has to slow down every once in awhile so people can get on and off, don’t be obtuse.

Why don’t we have more trains going more places more times? Anyway, let’s look at some cars and stuff!

The first thing you learn about Javits Center is there is no Level 2.
Besides electric cars (boring) the big thing at the car show was vehicles with popup tents and/or kayaks on top. Subaru kicked errbody’s ass with their trippy and disorienting immersive art environment that featured the conceit of a wilderness park ranger station. Click for the video.
We’re not pivoting to video here at Indignity, we’re just trying to figure out how to get the videos into Indignity!
Tent on Subaru.
Tent on Ford.
Tent on Jeep.
Tent on (I forget what this was, I think it’s a Ford) plus, errbody loves bears, and all bears are now Cocaine Bear.
Kayak on that truck from the other picture, and one of those standup paddle deals on Bronco.
TV set in the front part (which I think is called a “frunk”) of an electric car. I don’t know if it’s an option that you can purchase, or if it was just someplace for them to put a TV for the Auto Show.
Toyota had a “concept” car that looks like an old car, but it’s a “retro” car, that is to say it is a fake old car with faux rust painted on. Kinda cool tho.
They never let you sit in the really cool cars.

ATTENTION: We interrupt Joe’s car show odyssey for some regular Indignity items. Thank you for reading Indignity! The car show continues beyond.


New York City to Aberdeen, Maryland, April 20, 2023

★★★★ Daylight was slow to establish itself yet again, but when it came through, it fully came through. A tree in full red leaf poked up against the hazy blue sky from a tall building's roof deck. The haze wiped out the details of one extra-tall and the burgeoning foliage of the trees blocked the others. Yankees fans in Yankees gear were converging on the subway for the 4:05 start. Teens clustered on the sidewalk in front of the candy-and-tobacco store; wet paint glistened on a taped-off NO PARKING zone. A flare of sun came off a high window down through the drops of rinse-water on the oversized rental car's moonroof. Along the Park it looked like an ideal afternoon to be out on foot. Blue iridescence glowed from a one-way sign on the roundabout to Cathedral Parkway. The viaducts and elevated subway tracks stood heroic in the light. Even the traffic jams on the way to the bridge were bearable. The sun descended slowly over New Jersey in a sky of silver and orange. It had slipped down far enough to lose its shape over a Walmart off Exit 4. Purple crept in among the orange, and then pink shot through the purple. Calm waters off to the west reflected the full array, then shimmered into pale blue in the distance. Night fell for real somewhere in Delaware, and a planet shone. On the last bridge, the Susquehanna reflected only the faintest brightness from above.

Indignity Morning Podcast No. 51: The last of the hundreds of rubber bands.
Listen now (4 min) | The Indignity Morning Podcast is also available via the Apple and Spotify platforms.

The Indignity Morning Podcast is also available via the Apple and Spotify platforms.

An Incomplete Survey of the 2023 New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center, CONTINUED

There's always a cop car.

Our military was represented by the Marines soft-recruitment area, where people were doing Marine Corps-style chin-ups, and there was some sort of video game/training thing. They had two Hummers; more accurately, a Hummer and a Humvee (HMMWV)

Hummer: In the rear with the gear.
Humvee (HMMWV): The one that goes out to The Shit.
The indoor driving area was very popular. Video!
I checked to make sure these barriers had water in ‘em, but then I remembered what these barriers look like out on I-95 when they get blasted by a car, so I got away from the indoor driving.
There were some gas-guzzling hot rods at the show, but nothing like back in the day. It’s like going to a zoo that’s exhibiting animals that are about to go extinct.
A constant of car shows is attractive people on a platform telling you all about the dynamic torsion multi-track transmission or whatever.
I didn’t get a proper shot of this vehicle, a Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which was GIGANTOR, and seats 40 people. Kidding, I don’t know how many, but at least a hundred, I bet. This vehicle is one-half a New York City block long, and I mean the long way of the block.
At the Ford Mustang spot, a giant avatar appeared to be interacting with the meatspace announcer. Here is some mildly creepy video.
Any vehicle with removable doors/ open roof is guaranteed to be an object of fascination at the car show.
This is a normal-sized human standing by this behemoth truck. Can’t wait to see this on the street outside the Javits Center!
This reminded me of and old Subaru Brat sport pickup, except no Death Seats in the back!
Honda does not understand American football enough to realize this is not a good idea. Let’s make people sad about a truck!
My biggest disappointment. The new electric VW bus is a luxe mini-van.
One of the few tech-heavy display attempts by a manufacturer; the classic Exploded View!
My answer to this adver-question is a resounding no. Thrill: A Jedi craves not these things!
At first I thought somebody boosted the “I,” but then I realized the idea here musta been that people would stand in the space where the “I” should be for a photo-op. YOU put the “I” in Thrill! Urgh.
What is your “lottery car?” Sticker price on this dump truck was $70 grand, just saying.
There was a whole separate area for automobile-adjacent Retail. This spot was doing great business selling “air fresheners” for your car, but always remember, in many municipalities, something hanging off your rearview is a reason for a cop to pull you over.
Car Show humorous products. I kinda like “QUIET.”
Gasoline fetish art.
Whenever you go to a place where they have a thing, it seems like they always have little versions of that thing.

That was my visit to the New York International Auto Show. I wanted to sign up for the Daily News and get a comics umbrella, but I do not have a fixed address in the Tri-State Area.

Thanks for reading INDIGNITY, a general-interest publication for a discerning and self-selected audience. We depend on your support!