CARS AND COFFEE
Car culture is unique to every city, but there’s a particular sense of pride associated with being a car owner in New York City. The Big Apple is a notoriously unforgiving environment for drivers — those tight streets, the convoluted parking restrictions, the constant threat of carjackings. It’s no surprise that car lovers in New York quickly develop a fierce camaraderie.
This was the idea behind Cars & Coffee, a weekly car meetup hosted by New Yorkers Oren Hod and Shmulik Avital. Every Sunday, car owners & aficionados from across the city meet up at Greenpoint Terminal Market to admire one another’s rides, meet other drivers, and bond over their love of all things car-related.
“Cars and Coffee is an offline experience of two online products—the Instagram accounts @Wheels_of_NYC and @ride.more.talk.less—where our community can meet fellow car owners and car enthusiasts and share their passion for cars and the lifestyle around it,” explains Oren. “We created Cars & Coffee because we both love human connection, cars, and coffee — we prefer the smell of petrol over almost any indoor smell.”
Over a cup of locally brewed coffee, visitors can browse an impressive unofficial car show of sorts; from 9am-2pm on the day of the event, the lot is always lined with row after row of spectacular vehicles and their proud owners. For Oren, the event is a way of inspiring solidarity in the New York car community and connecting with people who share his passion for cars.
“I moved to NYC six years ago because I wanted to grow a startup company I had co-founded. On my way to and from work every day, I started taking photos of parked cars that I loved seeing (and dreaming of having one day), so I opened an Instagram account and called it Wheels of NYC with the intention of sharing my love of cars with others,” says Oren. “Pretty quickly, I started getting positive feedback from my followers and realizing how many of us share the same love.”
He teamed up with Shmulik, a 20-year New Yorker who was inspired by the Cars & Coffee meetups he saw friends attending in Los Angeles. Together, the pair started hosting their own gatherings to spread the love of cars in their own city.
“My favorite memories are always the smiles on kids’ faces when they walk around,” says Shmulik. “I hope they take away a new or renewed love or awe for the aesthetics, design, and performance of cars. I also hope it sparks inspiration to be creative with wheels and engines.”
Cars & Coffee Sundays are complemented by Two Wheel Tuesdays, similar weekly meetups for motorcycle owners and aficionados. Together, the events achieve the seemingly impossible feat of celebrating and uniting vehicle owners in a city dominated by public transportation. As a New York production company specializing in chase vehicles, motorcycles, and any other means of filming moving subjects, we relish any opportunity to spend meaningful time with other car and motorcycle lovers.
Of course, if anyone loves Cars & Coffee more than us, it’s Oren — when we asked him to pick a favorite Cars & Coffee memory, he barely missed a beat.
“Seeing a group of 6-7 men and women sit on top of an old Volkswagen pickup truck cargo bed and have a great time together,” says Oren. “I want to believe they didn't know each other before.”
- pictures by Mat Andreini