The double-wide storefront across the street had been shuttered for two months. Once I saw some guys getting arrested in front of it on my way to work in the morning, but that was the most action to be observed there, and it seemed unrelated to whatever business was hiding inside. Then, just last weekend, the metal gates finally flung open, like God parting the waters at Yam Suph. But what was revealed was far more miraculous than anything in the bible.
The building is home to Buzz-a-Rama “500,” the last remaining slot-car establishment in the city of New York. The owner, Frank Perri, 74, claims that there used to be 30 or 40 such venues throughout the boroughs, back in the late 60s and 70s when he first opened. Children worked on their personal cars over the weekend, and then brought them in to race on lovely and elaborate courses. This article suggests that the name Buzz-a-Rama “captured the energy of the hundreds of teenagers and kids who used to crowd into the room on race days, and also the sound of the cars themselves, a high-pitched, insectlike whine — the sound of constant speed.”
A short documentary has Mr. Perri yelling at a child who claims his fingers are numb, among other amazing old slot-car guy moments.