The rich multi-ethnic polyglot of northeastern Queens extends even to the “bass car” phenomenon. Not only are there genuine 80s hair metal fans still running about – bless their souls – but it seems as though every ethnic grouping here has their own preferred soundtrack to match their fast-riding, look-ma-no-eyes motoring about town.
Traditional Italian-esque “Goodfellas/Scarface” composite guidos have their KTU techno and freestyle, a zombified musical form that refuses all attempts to kill it with decent electro; various “Queens Shmoes” – white, black, Asian, etc – really do seem to love Queensryche with a genuine heart that will never be hard-of-hearing, no matter how many pedantic guitar solos it endures; an even wider ethnic blend enjoys the loud sounds of whatever passes for hip-hop as it coasts through its hair-metal phase right into the arms of neo-disco; arabica and bhangra beats abound; there’s even plenty of that hilarious Mexican style of music with all the accordions in it. Aside from driving like complete assholes, they share the heavier-than-heavy need to bleed from the ears. They do this to let everyone know they’re coming and going, as well as allow those equipped with sonar know their approximate density, speed and distance.
The one exception to this rule are the Hasidim, who prefer to do their peerless homicidal driving in a comparative near-silence – all the better to haunt my dreams as an army of Civil War reenactors dressed like obese Abraham Lincolns and guiding half-wrecked minivans towards my terrified family.
I now share the road with them all, having been a legally licensed driver in the state of New York for almost a week. But I have studied guidos and bass cars for years. Continue reading