What you might not know about one of, if not the greatest city in the world, is that it also hosts a pretty special annual car show among its other glitzy showbiz film, music and sporting events. Indeed, with the first exhibition put on all the way back in 1900, New York has over 100 years of experience in that department and now that the event is helpfully based in the heart of the city on Manhattan’s mid-west side, an unusually central point from which to build a perfect visit to the city.
No surprise then that Lexus – alongside dozens of other premium global car brands – chose the New York International Automobile Show to present its stunning IS F Sport saloon to East Coast Americans for the first time on an impressive exhibition stand that also boasted an LFA supercar to view up close and personal, plus super-shiny versions of the GS, RX and LS.
The IS F Sport may have been the lead car on the stand, but there was also much to see elsewhere, particularly inside the square central building with its cooly off-set angular windows. Whether marvelling at Lexus’s latest under-the-bonnet gadgetry illuminated within the Technology Gallery display or discovering more about the incredible craftsmanship behind the Shimamoku ‘striped wood’ veneer finish available inside Lexus interiors, to just having a sit in the luxury lounge area while pondering colour and trim options for your next car, the Lexus stand was a beautiful place to sit away from the hubbub of the normal car-show throng.
Talking of beautiful places for contemplation, if you’re planning a trip to New York and seeking a little quiet space and time as well as the fun and fast-paced whirl, consider taking a short subway ride on the Queens-bound F train from central Manhattan to Roosevelt Island to visit the Four Freedoms Park. Built around the ideas encapsulated in a 1962 speech by the famous president and following sketches made by the acclaimed architect Louis Kahn he was unable to realise before his death, the project was resurrected a few years back and finally opened in October 2012.
Despite being put forward for a ‘Design Oscar’ – see the photo gallery in our most recent Lexus Recommends post – the serene park space is still a virtually unknown New York attraction with no signposts from the subway to alert anyone to its presence. But turn left out of the subway and walk along the riverside to the southern tip of the island for 10 minutes and you’ll be there. In the half an hour I spent there soaking up the park’s special atmosphere and taking in the amazing view of the east side of Manhattan, barely a dozen people passed through.
Barack Obama’s official endorsement of the park this June will no doubt put it on the map more firmly and add to the visitor count – so get there in the next few months if you can – but compared to Times Square or Liberty Island it will still be NY’s (and our) little secret for a good while yet. See www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org.
The New York International Automobile Show runs until Sunday April 7 at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center, 11 Avenue between 34-40 streets New York City. See www.autoshowny.com.
Guy Bird is a freelance writer and editor specialising in cars and design for the likes of CAR magazine, The Daily Express, Esquire and Car Design News. He attends the world’s auto shows from Paris to Tokyo and has road-tested the vast majority of vehicles available in the UK over the last 18 years. www.guybird.com