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I was standing in my brother-in-law Alan’s shop in front of his mechanical beast – a drag racing motorcycle capable of over 200 miles per hour speed. Alan was telling me about the details of drag racing – races that only last seconds, engines powered by rocket fuel – nitromethane – and that needed to be rebuilt after every run. I was particularly fascinated when he told me that the roar of engines was so loud that race goers can see their shirts flutter when hammered by shockwaves. All the numbers he was citing were extraordinary and off the charts – horsepower per cylinder, decibel levels, speed, G-force from acceleration,  and races won or lost by hundredths of a second. It sounded like an experience worth having at least once, however, I have yet to attend a drag race in person.
When I commented that much of his life seemed defined by speed, he corrected me adding “and power.” In a world where we often feel powerless against Mother Nature and in our feeble efforts to combat her, the quest for power is understandable. I immediately reflected back on my high school acquaintance who had told me that upon graduation he was going to trade school to major in power (as I wrote about in Pork and Power).

Do vehicles sporting tremendous power and speed seem to be a world apart from New York City? Perhaps not. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, the company that operates the well-known boat tours around the city, also runs New York’s only jet powered thrill-ride speedboat attraction – The Beast. For $27 you can experience a roller coaster ride atop a neon green, shark-toothed, 70-foot, 140-passenger monster machine traveling at 45 miles per hour to blasting music. The 30-minute ride, replete with 180-degree hairpin turns is guaranteed to get you wet while seeing the sites of New York City from the Hudson River.

For a tamer tour via the city’s waterways, there is kayaking, sailing, or the classic Circle Line tour which circumnavigates the entire isle of Manhattan. There are many ways to see the city as there are modes and methods of transport. For some, it’s a stroll in the park, a walk down Fifth Avenue, a ferry ride to Staten Island, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge by bike, a Water Taxi, flying down the Cyclone, or atop the Wonder Wheel of Coney Island. For others, Power and Speed are necessary components, and whether atop a nitro-powered drag racer or perhaps aboard a jet-powered tour boat, no vehicle will do it short of a mechanical Beast :)

3 Responses to Beast

  1. Have you tried it? Are you going to try it? Can I come with you?

    Would like to ride that “Beast.”

  2. Hello!
    Can you say me where is the second picture?
    You have one amazing blog! I love it! Congrats :-)


  3. What are those steps in the background? New Jersey side? New York side? They’re huge!

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