For 12 years, the East Coast Car Association (ECCA) hosted an annual Cruise Night that showcased antique cars and raised funds for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, all in a Forest Hills McDonald’s parking lot.
But this year, Mike Bilski of the ECCA was told McDonald’s could not host the Cruise Night because of corporate policies. With that, he and other members went looking around for a new venue.
“There we were, we had no Cruise Night,” he said. “We were trying all of the churches [but] nobody wanted us.”
Enter State Senator Joseph Addabbo. One night, Bilski was driving back from a friend’s house when he passed Resorts World Casino.
“I thought to myself, ‘[that lot] is empty,’ he said.
Bilski and the ECCA crew were referred to Addabbo, who met with Resorts World and worked out a deal. Now, the casino holds the Cruise Night every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. in its VIP parking lot.
“For years, that association and its members have not only displayed some of the most beautiful cars of past generations, but they have also made substantial contributions to the community, especially the younger residents,” Addabbo said.
Bilski said the casino also donates to St. Mary’s, which was happy to see the ECCA’s nonprofit endeavors continue.
Since the VIP lot is larger than the ECCA’s previous home in Forest Hills, the Cruise Night can now accommodate more vehicles. The events have featured as many as 100 custom and antique cars and 50 motorcycles along with pick-up trucks and antique bicycles.
“We’re able to raise more money, and we’re getting a very diverse crowd and a very diverse range of cars,” Bilski said. “It’s not just antique cars anymore. We’re getting a lot of imports, low-riders and tuner cars.”
Attendees must contribute a $3 donation to each Cruise Night. The event will go on every Tuesday through November at Resorts World.
On Sunday, August 4 they will host an additional Cruise Night at Maspeth Federal and another the following day at Atlas Park.