Photos from the Open Source gallery’s Eighth Annual Soap Box Derby in Park Slope

A hill of a good time! Soap box derby races through Park Slope

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Photo gallery

Luxury and grace: Antoinette Manteau and Nina Kudlack aimed for style, comfort, and spaciousness with their soap box build.
A dog’s world: Debra Everett got a ride from her 12-year-old son Zachery for a change at the Aug. 29 annual event. Luna the dog came, too.
Rainbow road: Kano Mosher designed, built, and drove the “Rainbow Racer.”
Sibling solidarity: Lilia Rae and Ross McClellan raced as a brother-and-sister team.

Kids these days are going downhill fast.

Young speedsters from Brooklyn and beyond turned out for Open Source art gallery’s Eighth Annual Soap Box Derby in Park Slope on Saturday, where kids put their hand-made racing machines to the ultimate test in a race down 17th Street, according to one competitor who offered some sage advice for future contestants.

“The first most important thing is to have good steering,” said 12-year-old Ivan Mihheikin, one of approximately 60 kids who participated in the race dash between Fifth and Sixth avenues. “The second most important thing is to have fun.”

The derby is the culmination of the gallery’s summer kids program, where youngsters spend the week designing and constructing their own soap-box racers.

The mini-Michael-Schumachers constructed their gravity-powered speed machines from recycled materials — much of which is collected by the program’s director, who says she scours Brooklyn’s sidewalks for reusable garbage on Sunday nights, proving the age-old adage that one man’s trash is some other kid’s souped-up race car.

“It’s all found material,” said Monica Wuhrer. “It’s important for the kids to open up their minds and get creative with what they have.”

But not all of the pint-sized grease monkeys felt the need for speed — some battled it out to win awards for design, engineering, or creativity, including two racers who said they eschewed efficiency entirely by constructing an entire playhouse on wheels.

“We wanted to go for style and design and we wanted something big that would fit two people,” said 12-year-old Antoinette Manteau, who created the rolling residence with co-driver Nina Kudlack, 11. “So, we thought that a little house would be cool.”

But for kids who wanted to take home the title of the fastest, there was only one judge — the clock — and ultimately, Mihheikin’s experience in previous derbies proved enough to propel him to first place.

That, and he found really good tires.

“I was really lucky to find three tires with inner tubing,” he said. “I had more grip.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, September 1, 2015
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
12-year-old Ivan Mihheikin, one of approximately 60 kids who participated in the race dash between Fifth and Sixth avenues says:

“The second most important thing is to have fun.”

Well, that's easy for him to say-he won. What about the remaining 59 children?
I have to say that there seems to be a lot of confusion here as to what the rules are, exactly. Don't get me wrong-I'm not blaming the children-but perhaps their parents should think about monitoring them a tad closer. I hate to be the one that had to say that, but this is the life we've chosen.
John Wasserman
Sept. 1, 2015, 4:25 pm
Pamela Hooter from Washington Heights says:
Typical racism from John Wassermann. You might use the soap from those boxes to wash off your PRIVILLEGE!
Sept. 2, 2015, 6:37 am
Pamela Hooter from Washington Heights says:
Also a fixed result. These children had help. They don't know from soap, they only use luxurious moisturizing bodywash! Someone else built these cars!
Sept. 2, 2015, 6:39 am
Hunnah McAntosh from Park Slope says:
Wait - was cheating involved? The winner has an odd, foreign sounding name. Maybe he's unfamiliar with American customs - but that's not allowed here.
Sept. 2, 2015, 8:23 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Well, unfortunately it's too late for finger pointing and the like. Shall we just agree that this event should never have happened on Brooklyn soil? I would be more than happy to accept that proposal, pick up the pieces and move forward.
Thank you so much for reading.
John Wasserman
Sept. 2, 2015, 1:08 pm
Alfvaen says:
When did hating and bullying children become okay?
Sept. 9, 2015, 9:15 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

MetroPlus Roosevelt Savings Bank Coney Island Hospital Brookdale VillageCareMax

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: