Monday, August 15, 2005

Cruising from Plumb Corner to Woodward Avenue.

This article in today's New Bedford Standard-Times took me back to my childhood. Growing up in an intensely car-loving family, going to the weekly cruise nights on what counted as Rochester's main drag was an important activity. I feel like the actual day of the week when the Plumb Corner cruise night takes place has varied somewhat over the years, but my memory is a bit fuzzy on that point. (Dad, I'm sure you could clarify.) One way or another, the Plumb Corner cruise night has been a Rochester institution for most of my life.

The boundaries of the cruise night subculture go far beyond the small corner of Southeastern Massachusetts where I grew up. As it happens, my current digs at the novitiate are barely a mile away from the epicenter of what may be the mother of all cruise nights, the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. In contrast with cruise nights in Rochester and elsewhere, the Dream Cruise occurs only once a year; however, the epic scope of the event more than makes up for its infrequency. Attracting over a million visitors each year and featuring over 40,000 vehicles, the Dream Cruise is, in the words of its official website, "the world's largest one-day celebration of car culture," an event that - much like any other cruise night - recalls "the heydays of the Fifties and Sixties when Woodward was the heart and soul of American cruising in the city that put America on wheels. Combined with the music and fashions of the era, the Woodward Dream Cruise celebrates the nostalgia of bygone days in the cars that made them so special."

For at least the last couple years, the timing of the Dream Cruise has coincided with Entrance Day at Loyola House. For me, attending the Dream Cruise with my family and entering the Society of Jesus on the same day was a reassuring strain of continuity between seemingly disparate parts of my life. At one time, I may have seen this grouping of experiences as sheer coincidence. Looking back, however, I suspect there was nothing coincidental about it. AMDG.


At August 17, 2005 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Currently, Plumb Corner Cruise Night is on Monday nights. Hopefully, next year's Woodard will conincide with First Vows, and maybe even some Red Sox at Tigers or White Sox games, as we thoroughly enjoyed our first Woodard last August, and look forward to another, and Dad is always ready for baseball. We may have to make a week of it.


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