The City of Wilkes-Barre
has an anti-cruising ordinance on the books, which forbids folks from driving around in circles all night long.
I don’t remember when it was first enacted. How it worked was the city posted the anti-cruising signs at key spots in the downtown. And if the police observed you driving past the same sign a number (I think 10) of times, they’d pull you over. Some of them are still posted.
And you can thank this guy, Steve, for the circumlocution that I am about to inflict upon you.
Hayna 500...I recently discovered what was once called the "Hayna 500". Interesting stuff. For the uneducated (or those from north/east of Avoca), this was a cruising circuit in and around Wilkes-Barre and Kingston. Actually I just think the term "Hayna 500" is funny. Kudos to Ms Rivers for that one.
I think the circuit changed from group to group. I always thought of the West Side as being boring, except for when we headed over to Dairy Queen looking for West Side kids in need of a trouncing.
Stop ‘n’ Go was always there, in which you could fill up on fast food for as little as your pocket change. How much was a burger, anyways? Like, fifteen cents or something?
Guys & Dolls basement pool hall was awesome. But you’d be banned for life if you acted out.
The game room in the rear of the old Perkins was a destination. It’s Ollie’s restaurant these days.
As for cruising Public Square, it was never, ever boring. There was always something going on. Kids with acoustic guitars in the middle. Kids smoking grass in the middle. Girls cruising and flirting but usually little else.
Fisticuffs were frequently engaged in. Very much so. I had a friend who was like 110% Native American and looked every bit the part. And when some guy from Kings College called him Geronimo followed by a giggle, that so-called Injun’ punched three of his car’s windows out before he could get it rolling.
There were plenty of muscle cars to be had. I recall some guy having a green Plymouth Superbird, the car Richard Petty raced at Daytona. That motor would cause the freaking ground to shake. And the brake stands were to die for.
My buddy once raced his ‘67 Chevelle SS flat-out straight up Main Street on a dare. 3...2...1...Woo-hoo! Wheel-hopping, baby! If any car had passed through that intersection at Union Street…
As a matter of fact, some of us were known to go to the top of the central parking garage and do donuts up there on the roof. But, with one slip of the wheel or loss of traction came the concrete walls. Cool as all get-out.
Crazy Kevin, Carrot Top's dead ringer of a look-alike was always on hand and doing something insane until the cops would shoo him along. I was told they threw him in a police cruiser one night, drove him to Stroudsburg and told him to get out. Craziest sumbitch I ever came across. The dude scared me. And most others.
There were a few kids from Coughlin that used to drive around looking to “broom” black people. True story. They would speed up, get closer to the curb line, hang out of the car as far as possible and BANG!…down went the black people. I’m just saying.
One daring kid I knew from Coughlin rendezvoused with a prostitute one night. A black prostitute with a huge fro. After she rendered agreed-to oral services, he refused to pay up so she drove her metallic hair pic right through his cheek. Dumbest thing being, they said she was not quite all there and only charged two bucks. Got me, man. Seemed like a bargain to me.
One night we got into a scrap with a carload of preppie-looking guys sporting L.C.C.C t-shirts. They started it, and they kept talking crap to us like we were scared little junior high kids or something. But they had never met Glen, my trusty sidekick. My psychotic sidekick, but my sidekick just the same. After he made the biggest of the group cry inside of 10 seconds, it was all downhill for them.
Good ole Glen. He once planned to take a claw hammer to a state trooper through the t-roof. Luckily for him, I was there to stop him that night. We no longer run together. Beaten to death, he was.
My specialty was waiting for the windiest of nights and dumping a box of laundry detergent into the fountain in the middle of Public Square. And then we’d just sit back and let nature work it’s magic. This used to perturb the beat cops to no end.
You know, perhaps one of these nights we should visit that fountain in front of the Frontier Building. Um, well, somebody should. Not me.
Near as I can remember, the Bicentennial Building was brand spanking new (1975?) when one night some lunatic raced his car right through the center of the square, got bounced and tossed senseless, lost control and drove his car right into the building.
When the cops handcuffed him, they grew every annoyed with the lot of us clapping in appreciation of such an amazing and entertaining undertaking. As Glen was known to say, “Fu>kin’ A, man!”
Lastly, one night while we admiring our laundry detergent handiwork, some guy from Provincial Towers invited the lot of us up to his apartment. His was a straight-up business arrangement. He’d supply us teenagers with all the alcohol we wanted if we’d merely allow him to molest us one-by-one.
I’ll never forget the entire crew just turning their heads and glancing back at Glen. Yeah, looking back at Glen, as in, let the beatings begin!
Anyway, if you’re interested in entering the Hayna 500, I’d have to admit that some of us kind of ruined it for the future generations.
I'm from Wilkes-Bare