We’re back. That’s what we kept saying to ourselves as we prepared for this year’s 7’s Day NYC by primenyc.co.
We, like many of you, have had it rough this year. Life changed literally overnight. In New York, the news depicted the deterioration of our fight against the pandemic with each passing day; at one point being the worst in the world. For the better part of the last four months, we’ve all been in solitary situations. Completely shut down; feeling like we were risking our lives when venturing out into the world for essential goods. At first, it was exciting; we could finally drive wherever we wanted without traffic. But with everyone home and nothing open, the realization of nowhere to go and no one to see eventually sank in. With all the risks, our annual rotary holiday on 7 July (7/7) was looking less and less likely.
As July approached, the infection numbers in NYC and the Northeast dropped drastically, returning to almost pre-pandemic levels. The weather got warmer, reopening phases began, and spirits started lifting. Calendar dates closed in on the ever-familiar day, the sound of rotaries already echoing in the back of our minds. We took a look at the data and the results of similar gatherings to ensure the risks were minimal. It was then decided – 7’s Day NYC 2020 would be a go.
Announcing the event with our cryptic flyer was the first stage. It was refreshing; many in the community shared our urge for a glimpse of good news. The excitement was summarized in a myriad of comments to the tune of ‘Oh what?! It’s happening?!’ The floodgates opened and hundreds of DMs started coming in asking for more information.
We’ve written about our gatherings on Speedhunters before, but in short, NYC is not like Tokyo or Daikoku PA. We don’t have massive parking structures or rest stops where many can gather for a night of car gazing. As such, in Manhattan, our gatherings are few and far between. When they do occur, however, we organize them in such a way that allows us to keep the quality of cars and people at exceptional levels. Information only comes via word of mouth.
7’s Day NYC is a rally through the city. Stops are made in various notable locations – Harlem, Broadway, Times Square, Chelsea, Soho, etc.
This year, 7’s Day NYC had added meaning. We were of course gathering to celebrate the rotary engine and the RX-7, along with its predecessors.
On top of that, for 2020, the feeling of inclusion, community, along with the smell of premix, was in the air. After being locked down for so long, we wanted to see rotary cars; we wanted to see JDM cars; we wanted to see the city; we wanted to see each other.
Year after year, we’ve seen photos and videos of Daikoku PA full of rotary machines and other Japanese legends. Our event is inspired by those scenes.
This year we partnered with a local rotary legend in the making, Goopy Performance. Together, we held a 7’s Day pre-meet on 7/5.
Those in the rotary game will know, Goopy needs no introduction. They are a one-stop shop for all things rotary-based right here in New York. I would say they are our best kept secret, only they are not. Rotary cars from around the world are powered by Goopy-built motors, or at the very least, have Goopy-engineered parts.
The style of Goopy shop cars is OEM+ rather than JDM. The owner drives an FC convertible with over 200K miles on the clock. That’s the type of reliability Goopy is capable of with a rotary engine.
Our Sunday session by the Hudson River in upstate NY was a success, albeit a hot one. It is the middle of summer after all.
It was all worth it though, especially being in the presence of this unmolested JDM gem – an Efini FD RX-7 imported by our long-time friends at Vistec R Imports.
Conversations on the history and innovation of the rotary engine and the car culture of New York were had throughout the day, adding to the excitement and anticipation of the Tuesday to come.
7/7 finally arrived; the reunion we were all waiting for. Solitude was put on pause as we all gathered at the first stop of the journey, at a small park in New Jersey. We heard the rotary machines approaching, and watched them as they slowly began to arrive.
The cars were great to see, but somehow it was the realization that we were seeing hints of normalcy starting to materialize that enhanced the atmosphere. It felt like ages that we had not seen our out-of-town friends, connecting faces to cars only known on Instagram, evidently creating new relationships with those we hadn’t known prior. Watching it all, you couldn’t help but smile under your mask.
A major part of 7’s Day NYC from the beginning has been Regiment Zero. RZ has been building JDM tuned cars since before the advent of social media, back when forums were our only outlet for sharing our passion for cars online. The decades-long experience in Japanese tuning has given them a reputation all their own. RZ is helmed by Ted, who owns one of the most well known RE Amemiya RX-7s on the East Coast. Ted shares our philosophy of inclusion.
While 7’s Day is about the rotary and the RX-7, many other non-rotary Japanese platforms join the festivities. In order to keep things organized, we ask for the rotaries to park together, while everyone else parks separately. We do not enforce this, however. People willingly respect the culture.
The fact is, the Northeast loves Japanese cars and Japanese tuning. In NYC and the surrounding areas, you will see some of the most pristine examples of various platforms. Every generation of GT-R, Supra, NSX, S2000, Silvia, Impreza, Evo, Civic, and more. Even the more rare JDM cars like JZX90s, Autozams, and Beats – you will find them all.
Personally, there is a sense of pride knowing there is a large community of Japanese car lovers in the vicinity of NYC, a place where people often assume no one is into cars.
One such example is Ricky, who came from Philly with his entire Ronin International crew. Ricky’s FD is one of a handful in the US with a full TCP-Magic wide-body aero package. A stark contrast from the OEM+ approach, this kit is wide. It has such a presence.
Before long, it was time to head to our next destination. This is where the controlled chaos began. As I stated before, we do not have open areas to park in the city, so we need to make do with what we’ve got. The first stop after New Jersey was Harlem.
To be continued in Part 2… See you there!
Photography by Brandon Ayende, Neil Bonabon, Brian Chin, Saliou Omar Khoule, Jeffrey Liu & Alex Trentch