Concept cars are just part of the fun at the New York International Auto Show, April 14-23. Lincoln showed off an SUV concept featuring gull wings and a stepladder entrance at last year's show. Photo by Susan Laird

Spotlight Columns

Schedule an out-of-town adventure: ‘Think Big’ at the New York International Auto Show

By From page B1 | March 29, 2017

Tired of the everyday grind?

Do you want to dream big dreams?

Need to get away from it all?

This week I offer you a different escape for the artistic soul.

With the pace of today’s busy life, it can be a challenge to set time aside. But it is an absolute necessity. Time away from the four walls of everyday is beneficial.

Escape
Some find their inspiration in the quiet of nature. That is an excellent place to put one’s life situation into perspective.

Should you desire another way to dramatically expand the horizons of your existence, might I suggest a different adventure — a trip to New York City.

Why the Big Apple and not San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta or any other great American city?

Because New York is unique. It is where people come “to see the Big Show” and to become a part of it. NYC is more than Broadway. It’s more than Wall Street. It’s more than Fifth Avenue.

It’s a place where the culture “Thinks Big.”

The “Think Big” attitude is abundant in New York City’s many businesses, museums and events. You will find it in the architecture. In the very people who walk the streets like bumblebees on flowers, trying to get from Point A to Point B along with millions of others.

And you find that ambitious attitude at the premier auto event in the United States: the New York City International Auto Show, April 14-23.

Art of the auto
Few residents of NYC need cars. But this annual show at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan fits right in with the notion that everything is “big” in America. At this show half the attendees are from NYC. The other half are from everywhere outside the five boroughs.

At this show the design of the automobile is very much “fashion forward” — think Fashion Week for vehicles.

Like luxury? Revel in the silk seating surfaces of a new Maserati. Take a look at the latest offerings from Bugatti, Lotus and Lamborghini. Check out the new Lincoln Continental and see how its highly adjustable seating compares with that in the Volvo S90.

Want a more rugged vehicle? Ford, GM and Jeep have that covered. And so do Land Rover, Jaguar and some marques that will surprise you.

More than one million people will check out some 1,000 new vehicles at the 950,000-square-foot convention center. Sixty-five percent of them are women. In fact women are a serious force in the development of new SUVs. Jaguar and Maserati recently added SUVs to their lines to meet women’s demand for these vehicles.

Many cars and trucks make their debut in North America at the NYC International Auto Show. Manufacturers from the U.S. and 37 other countries exhibited there last year.

Worried about pressure? Don’t be. You can’t buy a vehicle at this show. This is the ultimate venue for comparison shopping. Add some ideas to your bucket list and cross some others off as unworthy because you found something even better.

The marketing aspect of the show aside, I enjoy this one for the inspiration. “What sets this vehicle apart from all the others?” “How do new materials affect design?” “What about new tech?”

Concept cars
The most delicious aspect of this show is the concept cars. This is the realm of the future … of the possible.

The cars’ designers are often available for questions. If they aren’t, the show reps are — and they are happy to talk about the concept vehicles and get your feedback. You learn about the latest trends. And you might convince someone to build that vehicle.

Some of what you see will make you laugh. Some of it will drive you crazy with “why didn’t I think of that?” And all of it will be dressed in the latest paint colors.

This experience is mind-expanding, as well as fun.

This is why I enjoy this show so much. It challenges visitors to think beyond their own preconceived notions. To reach for something more in their dreams and goals.

Take your idea notebook with you.

Surprisingly affordable
If you think you can’t afford to get away, think again.

Flights on Southwest to New York can cost as little as $500 round trip, if you shop wisely. And one needn’t stay in the city. Hotels in nearby New Jersey cost hundreds less and are an Uber away.

Tickets for the New York International Auto Show are $17 for adults, $7 for kids 12 and younger and free for children 2 and younger. Visit autoshowny.com for more information.

Free your mind
Whether you take off for a New York City adventure (and a quick stop at Junior’s for the cheesecake) or not, do consider making some kind of adventure this year. Your spirit will thank you and the ideas you return home with may just make you all the richer.

Bon voyage!

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected]

Susan Laird

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