A North Tarrytown Classic
Q: My future father-in-law is a classic-car nerd from Pennsylvania. I’m trying to impress him with my knowledge of cars and my hometown. Was the classic 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, commonly referred to as a ’57 Chevy, made in the North Tarrytown General Motors plant?
—Rich Keegan, Tarrytown
A: Trying to seduce the old man with your knowledge of hot rods, huh? Well, what could be more American? Just be careful around his daughter, son — you’ve gotta know when to pump the brakes when it comes to Daddy’s Little Girl.
There is no more iconic a vehicle than the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, especially in the convertible model. People like to reference the ’57 in what is many people’s favorite George Lucas flick, American Graffiti, yet the two Chevys featured in that classic were a ’55 Bel Air and a ’58 Impala. The iconic ’57 Bel Air didn’t actually appear in the movie.
The assembly plant in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow) opened in 1896 and produced a staggering 12 million automobiles until it closed in 1996. Sadly, of all the storied models built at that plant, it was the dreary minivan trio of the Chevy Lumina APV, the Pontiac TranSport, and the Oldsmobile Silhouette that will go down in history as the last models to have rolled off that factory floor.
Now, to your question. According to Jim Vehko of the General Motors Heritage Center, the North Tarrytown plant made all of the Bel Air models and body styles, as well as the 150 and 210, which were sister models to the Bel Air.
There you go. Now you can impress Big Daddy. I’d also recommend a good bottle of scotch (ideally single malt) and a quality cigar to go along with your knowledge.
‘Hustling’ in Yonkers
Q: Please settle a bet. My friend Eddie says the Paul Newman classic The Hustler was made in New York City. I know for a fact that it was made in Yonkers, and I even know where in Yonkers they shot it. Settle this, please, so I can collect.
—Andy Carl, Yonkers
A: I’m assuming your friend doesn’t go by “Fast Eddie.” Fast Eddie Felson was Newman’s iconic character for the movie and its sequel with Tom Cruise, The Color of Money.
Speaking of money, I know there’s some on the line, and I can see you’re a Yonkers guy, so I want to be careful how I answer this. Er, uh, you’re both right. Yeah, that’s it; that’s the ticket!
Now, why don’t you go tell your own Fast Eddie that your bet is a push and call it a day. The fact of the matter of is, the vast majority of the movie was shot in New York City. Yonkers did serve as the location for the the Homestead Bar & Grill scene, down on Wells Avenue, between Warburton Avenue and North Broadway.
Jimmer Gets Shanghaied
Q: What happened to Jimmer Fredette, the BYU basketball star who played for the Westchester Knicks. Will he be back?
—Kathy Diamantopoulos, Peekskill
A: Probably not this year. After a successful season in Westchester, where James “Jimmer” Fredette averaged 21 points a game, made the All-Star team and was its MVP, he got what every D-League player dreams of: a call to the NBA.
Jimmer got his chance in Madison Square Garden with a 10-day Big League contract last season. The fans chanted “Jimmer! Jimmer!” in his first game, and Knicks coach Kurt Rambis put the pride of Glens Falls, NY, in the game with just two minutes to play. Jimmer hit a three-pointer, but he remained mostly on the bench for his stay; the parent Knicks let him go after his 10-day contract was fulfilled.
Rather than return to the D-League and our Westchester Knicks, Jimmer signed with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Fredette is an outstanding shooter, but roundball experts say his defensive skills and ability to bring his offensive game to the NBA level are dubious.
Don’t feel too bad for this shooting guard. Though the Sharks have not published his salary, it is believed to be more than $1 million for this year.
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