Lamborghini unveils the new Revuelto Lamborghini in a night of Lambo-themed cocktails at Blu on the Hudson.
Lotus opens the doors of its Chelsea showroom to rewind time revisiting its past models and unveiling a look into future models
When you picture a pickup truck, it is typically in its natural habitat: on a road snaking through a cornfield, carrying bales of hay, or hauling metal beams from a construction site, or towing a trailer filled with cows. At least that’s what I imagine it to be doing, anyway, considering how I have never really used such a vehicle before. In any case, it’s definitely not parked in suburban Queens, NYC, with me, a skinny city kid with no use for such a vehicle whatsoever, sitting in the driver seat, staring in awe at the dials and switches on the console like I was being suddenly asked to pilot a WWII aircraft. Yet, here I was, and there it was, and I was absolutely loving it. I would be able to use this Ford F-150 Raptor 4×4 Supercrew for a whole weekend, and take it wherever and use for whatever. The possibilities were endless. So this is not going to be a review of what it’s like to use this truck for work, or how it increases productivity, or what’s under the hood, or horsepower or torque. Oh no. This will be a review of what it’s like for someone who has no knowledge of these things whatsoever, probably won’t care about these things, and who will most likely never live in a place or do anything that would practically require such a truck.
First impressions were impressive. I was just blown away by the sheer size of it, a behemoth of a vehicle. The wheelwell came all the way up to my bellybutton, and even just seeing the whole vehicle required me to step back a couple of feet. Painted in a bright orange paint, it was immediately noticeable, and stole the show from any of my neighbor’s puny Kias and Teslas. Climbing into it required hoisting yourself up using the built-in pull handle just inside the door, and stepping onto the metal stepper. Sitting within, I was immediately struck by how high I actually was. I was looking at the roofs of SUVs as they passed by, peeping at the bald spots of their drivers for the first time. The cabin within was exceptionally comfortable, with ample space for the driver, passenger, and anyone in the rear seats (from overwhelming positive receptions). A spacious interior was to be expected, however; what wasn’t were the myriad of tech features. CarPlay and Android Auto were wireless and seamless, and dash controls, power management, and comfort settings were all extensive and highly customizable, all ready for 2024 and beyond.
Pondering what my first stop would be, I first decided to drive to the houses of a couple of my buddies, and convince them that I had just bought a brand new truck. Driving the truck was a whole challenge in and of itself. I had to retrain my mind to account for the massive size of the body, and readjust my knowledge of where I believed the right side of the vehicle was and how close I would be to parked cars. It was extremely stressful, and very close to what I imagine it would feel like to drive a blimp down a small two-way street. Once I got the hang of it, I arrived at my friends’ houses, and put on the performance of my lifetime (“I had to take out three loans, but it was worth it! Yeah okay, so what if it only gets 12 miles per gallon and I’m not a contractor?”) After their bouts of jealously and of disbelief that I had done something so financially cavalier, I headed to my local gym, where I knew several muscle bros hung out in the parking lot in their slightly smaller trucks, spewing masculinity upon the afraid and undeserving. I pulled into the lot and drove past, specifically setting my exhaust settings to Sport to achieve the most massive rumble, and got a kick out of the look on their faces. There was a new big dog in town (for the next two days).
I decided to plan a miniature road trip with some of my homies to get the full American experience out of the truck, and we couldn’t decide on anything more American than an afternoon at a gun range. We found one in the less-liberal state of Pennsylvania that allowed us to rent a couple firearms without a license, and set on our way. Blasting music for hours, we were astounded by the quality of the truck’s superior surround-sound speaker setup (say that three times fast). We put on Travis Scott’s new Utopia album, and were amazed at the smallest intricacies and details in the tracks that we had completely missed on other listens. It was like we were finally hearing the album the way La Flame had intended, and cuts like Hyaena filled our ears with pure, unadulterated sound. Kanye’s Yeezus was next, and the speaker setup became one of my favorite features from the truck.
Later at night when we were returning, and driving through lonely and foggy Pennsylvania forests, the truck’s features really began shining, literally and figuratively. One of the best was an adaptive high beam, which only turned on when we needed it around low-visibility turns or steep hills. The multitude of cameras on the vehicle also helped immensely, as we were able to see all around us at all times, including the bed of the pickup. I felt extremely self aware, and finally felt like a pro at parking. The weekend was also filled with several realizations, such as how embedded in car culture trucks really are. We were stopped by several other pickup truck drivers, who gaped at our setup and asked how powerful our rig was and how much we paid for it (which we obviously didn’t know the answer to.) I also connected several dots after I realized the rear flap that opened was called a tailgate (“Like the party? Like when someone gets too close behind you while driving??!”) I of course realized that I had been the ignorant one in terms of the origin of words.
The weekend ended up being an incredible one. Getting the opportunity to use such a hardy vehicle simply for entertainment without having to purchase it is a rare one, and I valued every second with it. Between having the McDonald’s drive thru operator hand us our food by stretching himself up to our extremely high window, and my friend messaging me at 6am in the morning asking if I could please help him transport several huge packages he absolutely needed to drop off at UPS within the hour, every experience was amazing and I truly appreciated how the Ford F-150 got us through it all. An extremely powerful vehicle with off-road capabilities and an incredible road presence, if this Raptor was made with all of the bang but without the pickup aspect and without the $115k price tag, I would love to give it a try again and possibly even purchase one in the future (I’m looking at you, Bronco.)
Without much preamble, it’s safe to say that this year’s muscle car talk has definitely been centered around Ford. With its show-stopping all new Mustang Dark Horse, and with other manufacturers shifting to EVs, Ford has remained the safe haven for enthusiasts. They have decided to double down on their market share, and have introduced a slew of events and programs to keep fans interested and coming back for more. The latest? A Save the Manual event, in which participants have the opportunity to try the new Dark horse, and learn how to drive stick. This was an opportunity I definitely could not miss.
I arrived at the location, set up in the parking lot of CitiField. I had the opportunity to try my hand at driving manual in the Ford Bronco as well, and since the Mustang was occupied (and definitely more difficult), I decided to try the Bronco first.
I had never driven a manual vehicle before this event, and had only had experience using paddle shifters in my own vehicle. Assuming that this would give me a bit of a head start, I soon realized I was very wrong. With a Ford instructor in the passenger seat, I quickly stalled the vehicle in less than thirty seconds. “You want to slowwwly peel your foot off the clutch, and right in the sweet spot you want to start pressing down on the gas,” the instructor explained to me. I slowly released my left foot off of the clutch, and as I pressed down on the gas pedal, the car lurched forward and came to a grinding halt as the engine stalled out. My instructor laughed as I sheepishly turned the car back on and tried again. After several more tries (and several more failures), I began getting the hang of it.
Pretty soon, it was time to start shifting into gears beyond the first. My instructor explained that it was the same process, except that I had to watch my RPM and ensure that I was in the sweet spot, around 3000 RPMS for the Bronco, before I shifted. This number would vary for each gear however, and since the location for the shifter to go for each gear was different as well, it was starting to become a lot to remember. Pretty soon, I slipped up and let go of the clutch too early, and the vehicle jerked to a stop and stalled once more, right when I thought I was getting the hang of it. Driving stick was a lot harder than I thought it would be! It was definitely more fulfilling , however. I could sense the lurches in the cars engine, and the sound tones that would signal to me when it was time to shift and when I couldn’t. I felt much more closely connected to the car.
After getting the hang of the Bronco, it was time for me to move on to the Dark Horse, which I was extremely excited about. Accompanying me in the vehicle was NASCAR driver Ryan Blaney, who had been driving stick shift his entire life. It truly was a dream come true.
As I started the vehicle, I was prepared for the worse. If the Bronco had been difficult, this awesome V8 would definitely throw me for a loop.
However, I was pleasantly surprised that driving the Mustang came easier than the Bronco. The random stalls and mistakes that came with the Bronco never came with the Mustang, and I grew more and more comfortable driving it as I shifted to higher gears. It was definitely a more forgiving car. Since Ryan did not have to do much instructing, we had much more time to talk, and we conversed about driving, cars, his NASCAR career, and even other topics like movies. It was a wonderful experience.
I truly admire the effort that Ford is putting into keeping the car enthusiast culture alive. Driving manual is definitely not a necessary skill; after all, driving automatic is easier and more applicable to the masses. However, for enthusiasts, it provides a deeper and richer experience with their vehicles, and allows for more refined control of their machine. This is something that is definitely valuable, and with the advent of EVs, it seems like it is a dying skill. With no one left that is interested in the hobby, car manufacturers will neglect to make a manual variant of their cars, and the sense of connection with one’s car will be lost.
This is why it is important to keep passing down our skills, teaching as many as we can, and learn all that we can, so that this wonderful ability can stay alive. I truly thank Ford for their commitment to providing individuals with the outlet to hone this skill, and I am confident that as long as manufacturers keep giving programs and events that allow for knowledge transfer, as Ford has done, and do not simply kill off their manual variants in the name of cutting costs, driving stick will be enjoyed by many for decades to come.
When I was conducting my mental list of my favorite movies of 2023 so far, I did not expect to place among the top spots a horror flick. I consider myself a horror aficionado, but it has recently felt like every scary movie has seemed derivative, devoid of creativity, and just…not scary. Talk to Me by the Australian Philippou brothers finally broke me out of the horror slump and presented me with a fresh, genuinely scary concept that has been the best scary movie, for me at least, since 2018’s Hereditary, also an A24 film.
Looking back at Hereditary, I can draw similarities between the two that make both hallmark horror films. For one, while we get the blood, guts, and ghouls in each film, the primary contexts that each establishes is one of conflicts within the family. To this end, Talk to Me is wonderful in its depiction of main character Mia’s (Sophie Wilde) trauma after losing her mother to an accidental suicide, which becomes her primary motivation for the remainder of the film. She encounters a group of teens that have come across an embalmed hand that allows them to haphazardly summon spirits of the dead for laughs and social media posts, and while they enact a strict 90-second limit to talking with the dead, Mia frantically surpasses this when the spirit that responds is that of her deceased mother. This is where the distinctions between this film and other, lesser films in the same genre begin— while another film may have attributed her “breaking the rules of the game” to teenage stupidity, as many do, this film has real, grounded motivations that frankly any of us would fall victim to.
Of course, surpassing the 90-second mark leads to a door to the spirit world opening, and all hell breaking loose. Once again, relationships serve as the main focus of the plot, with Mia’s relationship with her mother highlighted as she comes closer to finding out the secret of her death, her strained interactions with her father as she realizes he has been hiding something, and her guilt towards putting her friend’s brother in the hospital in a dilapidated state after her own selfish actions. The way these three threads are woven together is masterfully done, and leaves the audience on the edge of their seat almost constantly. This also very much gives credence to how a movie needs the “human factor” to satisfy, as without relatability and depth of character, little is impressed on the viewer’s mind other than cheesy scares.
While the story is absolutely brilliant, that isn’t to say that the special effects have been undermined with this film. The blood and gore are absolutely fantastic, and even while knowing that what I was seeing wasn’t real, my stomach lurched and a certain queasiness enveloped me. Almost all of the effects are practical, with CGI only used sparingly and invisibly. This creates a sense of realism that is exceedingly rare in modern cinema, and adds to the feeling that this is something that happened to someone, somewhere in the world (probably Austraila). There is one scene in particular involving Riley (Joe Bird), Mia’s best friend’s brother, that was particularly harrowing.
With all of this film’s intense successes, it’s hard to believe that the directors, Danny and Michael Phillipou, started off on Youtube posting homemade skits and special effect videos. This film marks their feature directorial debut, but watching the movie, it feels like they have been directing for decades. To direct for the first time and have the film immediately stand with other greats in the genre is an incredible feat, and this really speaks to the Phillipou brother’s talent that was honed over the years, as well as their dedication to all the endeavors they set their mind to. It gives the idea that greatness can really come from anywhere, and the brothers completely deserve the high reviews, the intense bidding war for rights to the film, and the eventual A24 purchase for rights to distribution. This is the birth of another defining directorial pair, and I for one cannot wait to see what they have in store for us next.
It’s almost a foreign concept nowadays: a company offering free bonuses beyond the scope of a purchase. Ford decided to go completely against the grain in a very pro-consumer move: giving every purchaser of a new Ford Bronco SUV the opportunity to take one from their private fleet into the wilderness, and learn the ins, outs, and nitty gritty about their new machine in an adventurous crash-course (with no crashes, hopefully!) before they begin going wild with their own vehicle. This exciting prospect was already available in three locations: New Hampshire, Utah, and Texas, and the opening of their Las Vegas location would mark the fourth.
This new ranch is different in one fundamental aspect, however; it is the only one specifically built for the new Ford Bronco Raptor trim level, which is the bigger, badder, and even more Bronco brother. In an incredible fairytale moment, I was given the amazing opportunity to fly out to Vegas and experience the Bronco Raptor first-hand, in its natural habitat.
After flying out to Las Vegas, I was given the first opportunity to interact with individuals from Ford. In a dinner arranged within my hotel itself, I got the chance to speak to individuals who were spearheading the program and others who were alongside me, invited to experience the program, over food and drinks. I spoke to Dawn McKenzie, Ford Truck Communications Manager, as she outlined what was in store for us the next day. “You guys are absolutely going to love it,” she gushed. “I can’t wait until you try out the training course. The jumps and drift areas are absolutely bonkers…”
“Jumps?!” I gasped. The scope of this course had been completely unknown to me, and I, probably the only invitee there that had never driven an off-road vehicle, started making peace with the fact that this would be absolutely beyond anything I had ever done before.
Entering the Park
The morning of the event itself, I woke up at 5:30 AM to make my 6:30 AM hotel checkout on time. The group was already waiting in the lobby, looking red-eyed but talking excitedly. We boarded three shuttles that would transport us to the Mt. Potosi region, where Ford had set up its camp. After a 45 minute scenic drive through deserts and mountains, we arrived at the ranch. A large wooden gate loomed out from over the hill, donning the word “BRONCO”, in a very Jurassic Park-esque moment.
Our shuttle passed through, and began a steep climb to the top of a hill that had a small modern cabin nestled between two rocky cliffs. An actual Bronco was situated in the front, positioned above several rocks with its suspension stretched to make it seem endlessly frozen in an action shot, and the cabin itself had more Bronco and Raptor logos. It was all very well built, with a modern-rustic style to the cabin that looked like it had all of the modern facilities, but also simultaneously that we were a step further away from the rest of the world (in a desolate theme park for trucks). It was all very invigorating.
I entered the cabin, and was treated to the check-in/waiver process, a nice breakfast, and other small gifts and goodies. Before I could tackle breakfast (I was absolutely starving at this point), I received my helmet and got assigned a locker. The helmet would be used for the more intense lap runs, in which head protection would be absolutely vital. After I stuffed all my things into the locker, I picked up my complimentary thermos water bottle and Bronco stickers, and sat down for a nice breakfast burrito and coffee. Meanwhile, we got a quick rundown of the program, the vehicle, and the wonderful employees that made this all possible.
Outside, we received an overview of the Bronco, and how the Raptor variant compares to the base model. Essentially, every aspect of the Bronco was finely tuned to make any off-road terrain seem much more conquerable.
Ford started with a “go-anywhere” mindset with the vehicle, which meant they specifically developed it to take any obstacle head-on, should the driver desire it so. The suspension, front and rear bumpers, and chassis of the vehicle are all formulated to be extremely forgiving; able to take a hit anywhere while protecting its passengers. Enormous springs ensure a stabilized ride on any type of ground, and the ability to disconnect the front stabilizer bar meant even extremely large obstacles could be driven over. There is also a focus on the ride customization, with two main selectors: first, the G.O.A.T. mode selector, which stands for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain, allows the user to select what kind of terrain they would be driving over, with options including off-road, baja, sport, and rock crawl.
There are also Hero switches, which allow more minute-by-minute control for specific aspects of the car, such as the ability to lock the front or rear differential when necessary. All of these options, along with the Raptor’s four-seat capacity, means that a family can choose any destination, and head straight there, as the crow flies.
With precursory talks out of the way, we all headed to the fleet of Broncos. Each person would be driving their own, and I selected a flaming orange one because that’s just the kind of person I am. Each vehicle was equipped with a walkie-talkie, and we split up into groups of four vehicles. One of the vehicles in each group was piloted by an employee from the ranch, and they would be leading the pack and communicating to the others through the walkie. After some further safety checks, we hit the road.
Hitting the Trail
My group of four vehicles entered the trail heading straight into the Nevada wilderness. It was a bit jarring at first, since we were driving over rough terrain that contained all manner of rocks, trenches, and boulders, but the vehicles excellent suspensions took on the brunt of the movement. I knew that if I was driving there in my car, my neck would have already snapped. We slowly followed the Bronco in front of us through the land, over hills and into pits, and got a feel for the Bronco’s handling and the way it could take on virtually any obstacle.
There were several times when I thought, “No way I can clear that rock”, but the vehicle took it on like a champ. It truly felt dauntless.
Our leader explained to us the Bronco Buddy system, in which we could keep track of all of the people in our squad and not leave anyone behind. Whenever we reached an intersection, it was our job to wait there until we were sure the vehicle behind us had seen which turn we had made, and in that way, each vehicle would be accounted for. Our lead also had frequent breaks in which he asked for the status of each driver on the walkie, and would only proceed once he got the thumbs up from each driver. It was a very safety-first system, and it really spoke to how well thought-out everything was. We were having fun, but it was not at the expense of our wellbeing.
We finally reached the site of the ORX Training Courses, and got into position. Ford had enlisted the help of several professional off-roaders, from trainers to actual racers that offloaded for a living, to help us first timers get accommodated and ready to take on the courses. The first was a small rocky run that had twisting turns and rough straights. I sat as a passenger first, while my driver explained to me her thought process for each turn and straight she tackled. She first switched the G.O.A.T. mode dial from off-road to baja, and then stepped on the pedal. It was absolutely exhilarating watching not only take the course with speed, but also anticipate each turn, make minute adjustments to steering, braking, and speed, and be able to explain all of it before it even happened.
Seeing her do it with such ease made me more confident in my ability, but it was futile; sitting behind the wheel was absolutely different than watching from the side, and I couldn’t have gone more than a quarter of the speed that she went. My steering slipped several times, and images of my hurtling off the course and over a cliff flashed through my mind, but she helped me keep my composure from the passenger seat, and kept giving clear directions even when I made the wrong turn. It definitely was a great learning experience.
The Man and his Dirt
For the second course, I would be running a course that was wider, more varied in elevation, and had more obstacles. Here I saw the legendary jump that was mentioned earlier, as well as a sand pit and a winding sloped gulch area. Once again, my driver accompaniment drove masterfully, performing the jump with ease, turning the wheel quickly from side to side to prevent the tires from getting stuck in the silt, and drifted the vehicle around the slope, with the back end sliding out, before gaining traction once more and pressing for speed. When it was my turn, I was a little embarrassed with my lack of skill, but my driver laughed it off and said I was doing no worse than any of the other drivers he had witnessed that day.
After the courses and a quick bathroom break, we headed back on the off-road trail, making our way back to the ranch. Our lead driver communicated less on the walkie this time, as we had already gained enough exposure to the trail the first time, and only spoke to us to excitedly point out some wild burros that he spotted roaming the plains.
A Moment of Reflection
Back at the ranch, we received a lunch, and some final words from the team. As I listened, I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of someone who would be sitting in my very seat in the future, when the ranch is finally open to the public. The fact that an individual would be here after having just purchased a new Bronco, and would be about to find out exactly what their new vehicle could do, was enthralling. Ford is one of the best auto manufacturers when it comes to community engagement and programs, and the Off-Roadeo is a testament to that. While not serving any immediate monetary benefit, Ford gains the goodwill from their customers, bolsters their name, and creates life-long partnerships that will only benefit them in the long run. Heck, even I want a Bronco now. Someone who has already purchased one will only further solidify their choice in choosing Ford for anything that will touch both road and dirt.
The Bronco Off-Roadeo will be open to the public very soon, and I encourage any new Bronco owner in the area to book this wonderful opportunity very soon.
I have always been very appreciative of the genre of horror that doesn’t settle for cheap scares and gore, but rather, fear of the unknown— mysterious masks and cults, strange figures and cities, and quiet gatherings that are right on the edge of plausibility.
This is what drew me to accepting an invitation for an event titled A Midsommar Night’s Dream: One Trip of a Party, at The McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More. The look-book boasted images of individuals clad in white robes or floral embellishments, strange deer antlers or hellish bug masks, and even a rendition of the fungal zombies from The Last of Us. A strange party for stranger party-goers? I was in.
Every aspect of the hotel was completely converted into a magical forest, ancient ruin, or deep-city stomping ground.
The first floor was redone to resemble a subterranean rock venue, with a live band and pole dancers adjacent to a well-stocked bar.
Attendees had come clad in the most unique outfits imaginable, with antlers and horns making a prominent appearance, large swaths of flowers and embroidery, and several people even adorning their heads with fake animal heads, like ravens and lions. I instantly got the feeling that I was peeking into an event that I did not belong to— some billionaire’s secret guilty pleasure, or a north-European pagan ritual.
It felt like the crowd would suddenly begin conducting a human sacrifice, and if they did, I would only be half surprised (the half that still remembered that I had been invited to this event, like everyone else here).
The second floor was even more unique. The most prominent feature was a single porcelain bathtub, right in the center of the room. Attendees flocked for the photo opportunity, and I was surprised to see it was functional; a woman got soaked with water as she turned the faucet and a jet of water shot out.
Otherwise, the floor was decorated with lines of dilapidated brick wall separating the rooms, making it look like I was in an old worn-down courtyard. There was a male dancer wearing a donkey mask shaking his hips on an elevated stage, and an area that allowed attendees to make their own floral wreaths and head covers. Another room had a single ominous baby carriage, illuminated by a deep orange light.
Excited to see what the third floor had in store for me, I climbed the stairs.
The third floor was absolutely mental. I walked into a crowded rave, with dozens of people dancing erratically to deep thumping music and constant strobe lights. Even now, I can only recall faint glimpses of that room; simple snapshots only because I was unable to focus on any single thing there for longer than a breath. I slipped into a trance-like state, and I do not even remember how long I spent there. It could have been second, or it could have been an hour.
When I finally left the third floor, I stepped into the exclusive Oz’s Boudoir VIP bar. It overlooked a large club-type setting, with a mix of indie-EDM and classic rock-pop hits blaring over the speakers.
At the bar, I ordered a fresh cranberry-pineapple vodka, and watched as several people jumped onto a full king-sized bed that was placed right besides the bar.
It felt like something straight from a dream, and I really took a moment to appreciate the craft of those that had put together a place like this; they had gone into the mind and retrieved every small whim or fear that resided on the edge of an individual’s thoughts, and had materialized it.
These people lived regular lives, and worked at regular jobs, but on this night, they could let loose the psychedelic animal within and let it howl.
I greatly enjoyed my experience at The McKittrick, and am excited to see what Sleep No More hits us with next.
When National Cancer Survivor month comes by each June, we are all reminded of the struggle that survivors have gone through due to cancer, and the battle that many cancer patients are still fighting daily. Founder of nonprofit Music Beats Cancer, Dr. Mona S. Jhaveri, decided to take matters into her own hands, and vowed to make a difference. She realized that many startups that focused specifically on cancer-fighting technology were not receiving the funding they needed to stay afloat, and were unable to continue their work, with their research and advancements going to waste. Thus, Music Beats Cancer began a yearly fundraiser to fuel these startups, and make a meaningful, long-term impact.
The fundraiser was held at Terminal 5 in Manhattan, and dozens of individuals pooled in beside me to take part. When I entered, I was immediately given the opportunity to speak with NY Giants player Lawrence Taylor, or “LT”, who was a proud supporter of Music Beats Cancer, and would also donate in the event. Without much time for more than a single question, I asked him the most fundamental one: “Why did you choose to support this cancer nonprofit?”. LT simply replied with a single phrase, “Because I can.” I must have appeared startled at the response, because after a chuckle, he elaborated further. “Listen, I’ve had a good life. In my position, it’s very easy to spend money like it’s nothing and buy a million things. But it’s also easy to give someone else a good life with that money, and that’s what I’d rather do.” He paused for a moment, then added, “F**k cancer.”
With those wise words from LT, I ambled away to take in the venue before the main event. There was an open bar serving any type of drink, and a long string of Mediterranean dishes on a table. I could see hummus, grape leaves, and cheese pies, among other finger food. The DJ was churning out steady bops, and I walked over to the items ready to be auctioned. There, I could see several items that had been signed by famous individuals, including a Marvel poster that had been signed by Stan Lee that caught my eye. There were also several sport artifacts, including clothing and items used in famous games. I smiled knowing that these things would all be going to homes that will have had a hand in fighting cancer.
The show began, and after several introductions (as well as an announcement that everyone who donated would automatically be entered to win a brand new Porsche), the group that everyone had been waiting for strode out. GTLO, or Get The Led Out, a Led Zeppelin cover band, were intense, aggressive, and masterful; in other words, they did an amazing job capturing the energy of Led Zeppelin. They performed classic after classic, and while this particular genre and artist are not my cup of tea, I could see members of the audience clearly having a great time.
The concert and interview with Lawrence Taylor really put into focus the effort that Music Beats Cancer was putting in elucidating their vision for the public. This event shed light on how anyone can help fight cancer, and that it simply starts with passion. From there, anything is possible.
On a tranquil evening in Brooklyn, I was feeling electrified. Sitting adjacent to several of the most glorious luxury sports cars in history, I was watching Allan McNish cross the finish line first at the French Le Mans race for a third time in his life, on a humongous outdoor screen, with the backdrop of midtown Manhattan beyond it, right across the river. It was a surreal moment, and it really made me proud to be appreciative of performance vehicles. At that moment, there was nowhere else I would rather be. This was the premiere of the documentary Racing with Giants: Porsche at Le Mans.
Mobil 1 had not spared any expense with the event. I was treated to a variety of complimentary carnival-style foods from food trucks, including popcorn, pizza, and burgers.
The atmosphere of the area was incredible, and I really admired the conception of the Skyline Theater: it harkened back to the days of old-fashioned drive in theaters, when they were more commonplace. Here, it was situated right on the river, with incredible views and a sublime sunset draping over it all. It was my first time visiting, but I promised myself I would return.
As I ate before the premiere, I saw various Porsches drive in, taking advantage of the special rules for this night only: only Porsche owners would be able to drive in to watch the movie. I saw several older, more classic models, like a 930 Turbo, as well as some newer, sportier models, like the Cayman and the elusive 911 Turbo. It warmed my heart to see owners of all ages connected over a shared love for the car. I saw several old-heads inspecting the newer model of their classic, and transfer knowledge to a whole new generation. Mobil 1 also had several Porsches on display, gently illuminated from the bottom, invigorating the audience with the historical changes between the models.
I settled into a seat facing the projectored screen, and the movie began. Owners seated in their vehicles behind me had the option of putting their soft top down (for those that had it), or they could tune into a radio channel that would play audio within their car.
The movie itself was excellent. I was glued to each incident, each hurdle, and each win with anticipation. I was able to see first hand how Porsche was able to win first in its class in its first race, and then eventually go on to win first overall. The narrator, actor Patrick Dempsey, who himself had raced in the Le Mans at one point, told each tale with a gripping urgency that made me that much more connected to the events on screen. I watched legends like Nick Tandy, Patrick Long, Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, and Allan McNish all complete the grueling 24-hour race, along with commentary and experience from Spike Feresten, Rod Emory, and Loni Unser, and felt a certain exhilaration that made me much more excited for this year’s race at Le Mans.
Racing with Giants: Porsche at Le Mans is currently available to watch in full on YouTube.
I had the pleasure of visiting Slate’s new rooftop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and was able to enjoy premium access before it opened to the general public. Accessible through the Pod Brooklyn hotel, it offers a creative and modern take on the weary rooftop bar concept, and makes drinking amidst a New York breeze somehow feel new again.
Upon exiting the elevator to the rooftop area, one is immediately treated to a sign that presents two options: “Influencers” to the left, and “Under the Influence” to the right.
This split gives visitors two options for the general vibe they wish to experience: a more straight-forward bar with seating a live DJ, in a more photo-op worthy environment, on the Influencer side, and a relaxed and more open seating option with a poolside-style cantina-themed bar in the Under the Influence side. Both offer absolutely gorgeous views of downtown Manhattan, as well as the surrounding Brooklyn rises.
I first took a look at the Influencer side. Right upon entering, I was greeted by two giant statues of unicorns, one silver and one bronze, stationed immediately across from the entrance and screaming to be noticed.
This immediately gave me an eclectic and playful impression of the rooftop, and this was only the beginning. DJ Alo Wiza was stationed nearby, and was churning out bangers on the rooftop’s incredible speaker setup. As I meandered towards the bar, I immediately noticed what made this rooftop so special: each table was adorned with a particular party game. What some may scoff at as child’s play here was the primary selling point, and everyone was having a blast. I saw colorful Jenga tumble to the floor, and individuals eager to connect four tiles in a row with Connect-Four. It was truly remarkable.
On the way to the bar, a waiter stopped me to ask if I wanted any hors d’oeuvres. He was carrying a plate of balsamic watermelon on a skewer, sprinkled with cheese. Taken aback by the strange combination, I tried it, and was immediately pleased. It packed a nice sweet and savory punch that was absolutely delightful. This came to be the theme for other small bites that were given: each presented a juxtaposition of flavors that truly shifted from the mundane. For instance, I tried savory breaded cheese balls that were presented in a sweet barbecue sauce, and a sweet glazed mini doughnut that was covered in cheese and a marinara sauce. These odd-on-paper creations were an absolute blast. Finally, at the bar, I settled for something more normal: a colorful mango mojito.
Once I finished taking in the Influencer side, I walked over to the Under the Influence side, which was much more open and laid back. Seats were replaced with couches, and there were several under-the-table soccer games that pairs of individuals were playing, complete with goals molded under each’s seat. Here, the bar had fewer choices but was much bigger, giving extra room to sit and enjoy others’ company. The view was fantastic as well, as the lack of walls gave a clear look at downtown Manhattan, glittering past the river not too far away.
Here, I saw a bowl of doughnut-hole style pastries, with the twist being that each person was given a syringe filled with either key lime or peach cobbler, ready to inject into the dessert. I smiled at the sheer ingenuity of it all as I stuffed my mouth with the coveted dripping pastry, just noticing a giant golden bear statue right behind me wearing a “Slate Rooftop” necklace. Welcome to 2023.
I had simply an amazing time at Slate Rooftop, and although I thought it impossible to surprise me, I was astonished at every corner at this magical place. Let your inner child out and head over to the new Slate Rooftop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, open to everyone right now.