The Harlem Valley Car Club
The History of our Club
As the keeper of the web site I thought it would be interesting if I researched the background on the club and how it got started.
I contacted Chad and he gave me the following information and I also spoke with Mike, one of the original members, and he gave me some of the first drafts on rules and regulations.
The club was started in 2008 by Paul Kaufman and Chad Hanke who have known each other since moving to Wingdale in 1988.
They come from different backgrounds and different vocations but love the American dream, CARS. There is a variation of cars and trucks even motorcycles in the club. Some invested money and time to build their dream car and some just painted stripes on a car and gave it a wash. Again CARS drew them together. They had this common interest so in June of 2007 they met in the parking lot of Angelian’s Gelatoria, then located in Wingdale. New York, with Chris Burns,Jon Lieto,and Frank (Beaver) Lito along with Paul and Chad. They were the original five. Angelian ‘s welcomed them and sponsored the event placed advertising in the local PennySaver. They posted the cruise notice about town and at the end of the first season they collected names of people interested in forming a club. In March of 2008 they called a meeting over pizza and beer and formed the “Harlem Valley Car Club”.
They started the club by putting out a signup sheet .They got a few guys to sign up so they created a club and moved to the old 50,s style diner at the intersection of route 22 and 21, a great location just down the road from the old "DOVER DRAG STRIP". Interest grew ,so did the club. They then arranged to use the party room for meetings at the VFW across the street. After two years crusing at the diner, the diner was sold. The club moved across the street to the parking lot of the Dover Post Office, not a great location but it the kept the club together. This location also lasted only two years. The members agreed we needed a new location to cruise Wednesday nights. It was moved again to the Dutchess Court Plaza in Pawling, New York were is now and has been for two seasons. This location was chosen by the members and the club has been enjoying success today.
The cruise picked up momentum often 50- 75 cars a week and now has some 75 members and is still growing. Since the club has a varity of interested members we decided to meet year round to include social funtions in the off season between November and March.
The club continues to be community minded, offering a scholarship to a graduating senior attending a automotive related tech school and donations to the local food banks. The social events include a season startup club dinner,two club picnics, day trips to Saratoga Auto Museum and the Drver Day Car Show, to mention a few events. We also socialize and co-sponsor events with other clubs in the area, The Embalmers Car Club, in Hopewell Junction and the Paradice Classic Cruisers based in New Milford Conn. Chad, our only president elect since the club was formed has this personal feeling about the club. (One of the most satisfying aspects of hosting a cruise is finding out how many enthusiast are in the area. More than once someone would say they were motivated to uncover their ride, which has been collection dust for decades and get on the road to join us at our cruise. I will never tire of the personal stories and history of the guys who have been around for a bit and talk about the various landmarks, history of local cars and of course, the "Dover Drag Strip "all passed down from the generations who lived it).
Last year the club invested into a new web site which post all types of information. Many cruise nights are posted including information on club activities such as the club picnics, Bar B Q’s ,day trips, news articles and more.
Even though the club has grown in numbers, it still remains a group of people, both men and ladies cruising for a few hours each week to talk about the same interest “CARS”.