Inside New York City’s Downtown Drummer Cult
Safety concerns notwithstanding, Jospé is one of a growing number of millennials in town who have wholeheartedly embraced the beating car lifestyle. The appeal is partly economic, partly philosophical. Thanks in part to a global shortage of semiconductor chips, the price of used cars has increased by 40% between 2021 and 2022. The gasoline to fill them has also reached record highs. And if you can afford a new car, your choices are basically limited to boat-sized SUVs, non-offensive hybrids, and soon-to-be self-driving EVs, each of which is basically like every other. To the extent that America has a modern automotive culture, it can be described as smooth. It’s no surprise that before driving itself was innovated, many people seemed determined to grease their hands as much as possible. And they’ve found a home in the New Day Motor Club, which has tapped into a growing cult following that sees the beauty of cars that look — and often drive — like crap boxes.
“Sometimes not getting there is half the fun,” says Louis Shannon, who co-founded New Day in 2018 with Ary Warnaar. Shannon and Warnaar aren’t typical gearheads: Shannon, a great-great-grandson of Henri Mattise, runs the downtown art gallery Entrance, and Warnaar is the guitarist for chiptune pop band Anamanaguchi. New Day isn’t your typical car club either. Most mainstream car associations have luxury clubs, high initiation fees and a fleet of supercars available for members to drive on private tracks. New Day has a decidedly cooler vibe: The clubhouse is a shipping container in a Red Hook lot that’s wedged between a Thai restaurant and a drugstore. New Day has about 20 members in New York, including downtown micro-celebrities like chef Danny Bowien and artist Sara Rabin, and several dozen loose affiliates across the country. There are no membership fees; all you have to do is put a huge Nascar-style New Day Motor Club sticker on your windshield. Members have access to Bud Light-powered suspensions and, most importantly, a staff mechanic who repairs the club’s fleet of more than a dozen cars. “Finding parts and getting these things to work is a job in itself,” says mechanic, Chris Cheveyo. According to Cheveyo, the most common problem with New Day’s ’90s drummers is, “Everything. They are so old. They weren’t built to last, it was just, like, a fad.