For today’s thrilling second installment of Roadway Review Fridays, we’re going to go a little off the beaten path, and up the state a little bit to:
The Taconic State Parkway
First, a tangentially related movie;
Nothing but Trouble
Have you ever seen this movie? I’m not talking to you, billy, I know you’ve seen this movie.
In this cinematic tour de force (french for “tour of force”) Chevy chase plays this yuppie who, along with Demi Moore, gets pulled over by John Candy in this decrepit old mining town of Valkenvania.
He’s brought before the town Reeve (Ackroyd), a decrepit old man in a decrepit old courtroom who has a penchant for sentencing people to execution via a deadly rollercoaster called “Mr. Bonestripper” that’s complete with it’s own themesong. Truly a masterpiece of modern filmmaking.
Not everyone likes the movie.
Counterpoint by Brendan(gerous)
“What the fuck was that movie? No seriously what the fuck? I have never been so dumbfounded by anything. So confused and terrified at the same time… I want to take the disk and throw it out the window”
Back to the matter at hand, although my reason for recounting this film will soon become all too clear…
The Taconic State Parkway, Cont’d
This, my friends, is a ballsy thoroughfare. Narrow lanes next to rocky cliffs, winding unlit narrow turns, and my favorite feature of a highway ever, roads that cross the highway not with bridges, but with stopsigns.
Built in the 30’s, when personal safety was the responsibility of the individual and not the government, this is a relic from a far less litigious society. It’s sad to see that they’re closing many of these white-knuckle intersections for safety reasons. Apparently “People” are “Dying”. I say leave them open. Everybody loves car accidents. Look at the success of nascar.
What the hell does FDR have to do with this ballyhoo?
What you may not know is that the Taconic was partially the brainchild of the parks commission chairman at the time, one Franklin D. Roosevelt. The best part about this, is this was all going down at the same time that Robert Moses was trying to build his clusterfuck of racist parkways and beaches on Long Island. Moses and FDR squabbled over the states transportation budget to get their roads built.
It’s no secret to many that the bridges on the parkways on LI are so low because Moses wanted to keep buses, and therefore “Undesirables” off the beaches. There are two sides to the argument, and noone really knows for sure, but most familiar with the matter agree that Robert Moses was a racist, and built these bridges low with sinister intentions.
Could it be possible that FDR built a parkway with stop-signed crossings so OTHER people would get injured and crippled? I’m just sayin…
All kidding aside, the Taconic is one of my favorite roads. It’s winding and fun to drive on if you have a fairly nice car. There are rarely any cars on it so you can go as fast as your cajhones permit. There are, however, a fair amount of cops.
Small Town Court - Reality Edition
Once I was driving back from upstate along the Taconic, clipping along at i’d say 75. I had just gotten on from the Thruway, where the speed limit is 65. The Taconic, as per it’s being insane, has a limit of 50, but I was still in Thruway mode.
I was promptly pulled over.
I kindly explained to (Read: Pleaded with) the state trooper that I was unaware of the change in speed limit, and I’d happily pay the fine, however the points and subsequent effects on my insurance would force me to give up my car. He went back to his car and returned with a ticket for speeding. Do’h
My pleading continued and he abruptly interrupted me.
“Now hold on: you were speeding and it’s my duty to give you a ticket. Now i’m not about taking a man’s wheels away for something silly though. I’m not in a position to give you legal advice, but if I were, I’d advise you to plead not guilty to this ticket”
Curious, I thought to myself. That’s more candor than I usually get from an officer of the man. Do I really want to trek all the way back up here to bumfuck, NY to fight this thing?
Of course I do.
Village of Taghkanic, NY
Jesus, they can’t even spell the name of their town right. I imagine someone told someone the name of the parkway who read it to someone else over the pay phone in a train station who scrawled it on the back of his hand with chalk. That’s how they came up with the spelling.
My hearing was at 8PM in the village hall. I get into the small town at about 7:30 and start looking for this place. After some time driving up and down the road, I realize this old house IS actually the village hall. It has a small sign hanging above the door, the kind you’d expect to see saying “dentist”. It reads “Town Court” with a little arrow pointing to the basement. I actually found a picture.
I cautiously decend into the cellar. The walls are lined with wood paneling and the place is illuminated with the sickly green glow of 1960’s fluorescent lighting. Not a soul in the place besides a homely mid-40’s woman who asks me in her finest upstate new york drawl “Here for court?”. I nod hesitatingly, and she points to a row of metal folding chairs and motions for me to have a seat. This is too fucking creepy to be real.
The judge enters. He’s gotta be mid 90’s. He sets a radio shack tape recorder on the folding table in front of him that serves as his bench. I’m pretty sure he’s wearing sweatpants under his judge gown thing. He looks square at me in the eye, and detecting my anxiety, says “Oh don’t worry young fella, the trooper will be here annnny minute”
He’s going to find me uber guilty and throw me into his bonestripping roller coaster in the backyard. Come to think of it that trooper even looked a little like john candy. Oh god, I am hosed, boned, borked.
At that a trooper walks in. Not the one that pulled me over. She motions for me to come over.
“uhh, yeah?” i reply
“Trooper conlee is tied up at another hearing. You can wait for him if you want, or, i’m authorized to offer you a reduction to charge of “stopping on pavement”.
“you mean like a parking ticket?”
“yeah, pretty much. it’s a non moving violations. No points, $50”
Holy Crap, the cop was being honest and decent with me when he told me to fight the charge! Of course I’ll pay the $50, get me out of this VFW hall basement court!
So there you have it. The Taconic remains one of my favorite roads
- Life-threatening intersections
- Low speed limit
- Rocks falling on roadway
- Excessive amount of police
- Life-threatening intersections
- awesome twists and turns
- rustic bumpkin ass scenery
- Last bastion of decent highway patrolmen nationwide