The Good Times: Friday Nights Are Fun Again On Public Square In Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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Friday Nights Are Fun Again On Public Square In Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

There was a time when the traffic around public square in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on any given weekend night was so strong, so intense that it could take 10 or 15 minutes to complete the entire circle. That’s a perimeter of about 1200 ft.!

The cruising route was around public square and down Market Street. Across the Market Street Bridge (which I called the gateway) and into Kingston and Edwardsville. Turn left down Rte 11 (Wyoming Avenue) and into the Gateway Shopping Center, loop around and head back in the same direction to Public Square to start the cycle all over again.

Winter time was cool (literally) but the summer’s were a blast! The windows down. The sunroofs open. The stereos cranking. The engines screaming. We had good music. Madonna, U2, Cyndi Lauper, Bon Jovi, Jodi Watley, Freestyle, House, Rap and the Heavy Metal hair bands. We had MTV (and it actually played music videos). We had CDs (but most cars were still sportin’ cassette decks).

And the cars you saw were Mustang GTs, IROC Zs, Cavaliers, Monte Carlo Super Sports, Mopars and Muscle Cars.

We didn’t have internet or i-phones or i-pads. We didn’t have all these kooky drugs that are common on the streets today and we didn’t have global warming and a crushing national debt.

What we did have were the good times…. Good times that make living today with those memories worth reaching for tomorrow.

But that was the 80s. Then in the 90s Mayor McCrankity with a little help from Kingston and Edwardsville successfully placed a ban on cruising. I felt this was unfair since it could be argued that the cruisers paid the same taxes as (most) everyone else.

It could also be argued that the cruisers contributed to the local economy by their gasoline purchases not to mention the mods and aftermarket accessories they buy for their cars and trucks.

Yes, I was angry at the injustice and encroachment of personal liberty when (around the turn of the century) I recall seeing a cruiser walk behind one of the Franklin street buildings and commence to urinate on the office steps. Now imaging coming to work in the morning and the stomach-turning stench of day old urine baking in the early morning sun. It was then that I realized that we (as groups of people) ruin it for ourselves.

Fast forward to the 21st century however and cruising public square (like so many things) isn’t anywhere near what it used to be, but Friday nights are fun again with the monthly car show and cruise around public square.

It happens every last Friday of the month from April to October and goes on until about 10 or 11 p.m.. The sound of high horsepower American heavy metal mingles with the rhythms and vibes belting from the speakers of the radio stations broadcasting the event. There’s prizes, pride and a nostalgic look back to a time when Detroit’s cars ruled the streets of America.

And then there’s the cars…. Oh yes, the cars…. Triumphant survivors of generations of change immaculately polished to a fine show quality luster for all to enjoy. Only pictures (not words) can accurately illustrate the many days, weeks, months and years of tedious and intensive labor and commitment (not to mention the money) it takes to keep a classic car alive and looking good.

When the fall winds down the owners return their beauties to the garages for another winter hibernation. But rest assured when the spring time returns, so will the roar of high horsepower motors, carburetors and exhausts as the public square comes alive again with the smell and noise of an old school era gone bye-bye…. A 20th century Friday night cruise.

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Author:The Man About Town

Aaron Cupil (a.k.a. The Man About Town) is an avid traveler and good time thrill seeker. A former trucker and the founder of Partyclique.com, his cross country hauls were the inspiration for this website. When he's not writing or running his company, you can find him circling the globe in search of new adventures to report on.
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