‘Happy Days’ are here again in BK

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This Saturday, a brigade of classic cars and their enthusiasts will converge in Williamsburg under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway for the eighth annual “Kustom Kills and Hot Rod Thrills” show.

The event – whose flyer promises “booze, bands, and BBQ” – is presented by the New York City chapter of the Rumblers Car Club, a self-described group of “hot-rod hooligans.”

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, nearly 400 cars will be on display on Meeker Avenue between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue. Spectators are allowed to observe for free; those entering cars are charged a $20 fee, which includes free food and admission to the accompanying musical events at several area bars.

Those events begin on Friday, starting at 7:30 p.m., as Rumblers co-founder Roger Miret and his street punk band Roger Miret and the Disasters play alongside several other bands at Supreme Trading (213 N. 8th Street). There is $12 admission for those not entering cars in the show.

The next day, starting at 3 p.m., Union Pool (484 Union Avenue) will feature a host of bands ranging in genre from rockabilly, psychobilly and punk. ($15 admission.)

All car entries, which will be up for various awards, must be pre-1964 models.

“They stopped making cool cars after that,” explained Rob Vitale, the New York City Rumblers chapter president.

“During the muscle car revolution of the ‘60s, the phased out those older, bigger, clunkier cars.”

Vitale, 38, said he first became interested in “greaser” culture as a kid watching “Happy Days.”

“When you think of America in the ‘50s, these cars are one of the first things you think of. You think Chubby Checker, rock ‘n’ roll, and hot rods,” he said.

“The appeal is the history aspect of it. It’s like resurrecting a dinosaur. You’ll find one of these things in the woods, in an old barn-house, and you bring it back to life. It’s a real piece of Americana.”

Founded in 1996, the Rumblers have seven chapters throughout the country and one in Hamburg, Germany. The proliferation of the Rumblers is largely the work of Miret, who discovered like-minded car enthusiasts while on tours with his bands.

Each of the eight Rumblers chapters hosts an annual car shows in their respective city. Williamsburg was chosen for the location of the New York City show because of Union Pool’s significance in the early formation of the Rumblers.

“We used to hang out at Union Pool in the early days,” remembered Vitale.

“There was a good rockabilly, greaser scene. It was just a few old punkers and hard-core guys, but it became a huge thing.”


The Rumblers 8th annual “Kustom Kills and Hot Rod Thrills” show will take place Saturday, August 23 under the BQE, on Meeker Avenue between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue. The show will start at 10 a.m. and run through 10 p.m.

Those who want to enter cars must pay a $20 entry fee, which includes food, drinks, and cover charge to the event’s music venues.

On Friday night, Roger Miret and the Disasters and other punk, rockabilly, and psychobilly bands will play at Supreme Trading (213 N. 8th Street.)

On Saturday, the music action moves to Union Pool, where an array of bands will start playing at 3 p.m.

For more information, go to www.rumblersnyc.com.

Updated 3:44 pm, October 19, 2011
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