Start your non-engines, please!
Seventy Coney Island youngsters, aged five through 18, put their spirits in high gear and vroomed off on a new course during a Soap Box derby at Kaiser Park, presented by the Coney Island Generation Gap (CIGG).
To cheers from family, friends, sponsors and spectators, the driven bunch transformed the emerald empire, Neptune and Bayview avenues, into a mini-raceway for budding Jim Russells, who piloted a homespun pageant of push-powered cars, crafted with elbow grease, a few prayers and even fewer nails %u2013 and relying on nothing more than gravity.
The inaugural neighborhood race was the brainchild of CIGG Executive Director Pamela Harris, who was moved to action because she wanted to foster a sense of “camaraderie and fellowship” in the community.
Harris said she garnered the support and sponsorship of local businesses and even the NYPD, all of whom worked with the youngsters for two months while furnishing them with the necessary leadership and motivational skills to complete the race.
“We will do this every this year until we have 55,000 community residents participating, and or sponsoring,” said Harris, adding that all participants received medals and the winners were feted with additional T-shirts and book bags filled with school supplies.
The winning teams were: Astella Development, which won for “Best Speed”; CIGG, “Best Design”; and Men United for Change,” “Leadership & Camaraderie.”