Sunday, November 16, 2008


Not that you can tell, but this was part of a presidential motorcade tonight. (I know, it's hard to tell that it's even a cop car - trust me!)

So was this:

Motorcades are a fact of life around here, but this one was a lot more impressive than most. Unfortunately, it's sometimes tough to capture these random little moments - you need to be ready all the time. But for a minute there tonight, I thought I was in an episode of "24".

My wife and I had this crazy idea that we'd drive an hour to our old neighborhood just to get some chicken and rice from this particular street vendor we used to like. As soon as I got on the Van Wyck Expressway, I noticed a cop car race up behind me and cut off the traffic coming out of the on-ramp I had just used. I was the last car to get on the road. This is the highway that leads from JFK Airport to both LaGuardia Airport and Manhattan.

The exact same thing happened at the next on-ramp, and the next. There was literally nobody behind me on one of the busiest New York highways besides cops. I'd see one speed up behind, then watch him slam on his brakes and wedge himself in front of an on-ramp I had just passed. "Ok, this is starting to get weird," I thought. Then three cop cars with lights on came up behind me and forced me into the next lane before passing at great speed. One of them peeled off to block the on-ramp just ahead. The other two sped off into the distance, clearing the left lane.

Finally, the motorcade came through, clearly exceeding the speed limit! I know it was a presidential motorcade both because of the size and the license plates: Maryland. (New York has its own motorcades for visiting dignitaries and New York officials, with New York plates.) There were about ten marked NYPD cop cars leading, two unmarked cop cars with flashing lights, several limousines, three large black SUV's, two more limousines, a couple of smaller SUV's, then four more marked cop cars. It was more of a convoy than a motorcade.

We unwittingly followed them for about 4 miles, so the road was lit up like a Christmas tree pretty much our whole way.

Oddly enough, we saw another, slightly smaller motorcade going in the other direction.

There was some sort of economic summit going on this weekend, so this was probably related. That would mean it was probably Bush in one of these motorcades, although who knows, maybe one of them was carrying Obama to meet with Clinton about taking that secretary of state gig.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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