This most-mod 1970 Chrysler New Yorker on Dekalb Avenue is one of many classic cars that enliven Bushwick’s streets. — Photos by Diego Cupolo

Like children playing with open fire hydrants, flooding the streets with loud screeches and laughter, summertime in Bushwick would be incomplete without the guys that are always waxing and washing their classic cars on sunny days.

Some of my neighbors use all their free time fixing up their flashy rides, their “babies,” in preparation for a single Sunday afternoon cruise around town. Whether a Monte Carlo, Mustang, or Firebird, those hot rods we see parked on our streets are, quite possibly, the accumulation of a gear-devout individual’s pride in the shiny, metallic form. For some, their cars are all they have.

 
Souping it up. Click to launch photo essay.

So, after noticing so many dazzling hot rods coming out of garages this summer, I started snapping pictures of the most impressive automotive specimens in the neighborhood. Each classic car says something about its owner and, in turn, says something about Bushwick, but, unfortunately, there were few owners that wanted to say anything to me as I photographed their rides. But the ones that opened up really broadened my knowledge of classic car maintenance and were happy to share their love for stylish transportation with another person.

In the end, I walked away with a collection of automotive history on my camera and a range of models that spanned over fifty years of diverse design and technology. Luckily, anyone interested in joining in the Bushwick gear-head club can always visit the classic car dealership near Myrtle and Broadway and start fixing up their own “baby” today. With some luck, you might be cruising around town with the windows down and the speakers blasting salsa music by the weekend.