For all you offMetro readers who don’t own a car, and have ever thought you could dodge traffic better than a New York City cab driver, this is your chance to give it a shot. At the Velocity 17 go kart track in Maywood, New Jersey, you’ll find out what it’s like to weave your way through cars at 30 miles per hour. Except here, your butt will rest only two inches off the ground and you better watch out for the hairpin turns and chicanes thrown in for good measure.
After entering the track area and viewing a brief safety video, you will don the required helmet and neck brace. When your name is called, you will step into one of the electric-powered beauties and await the start signal. Pushing down on the pedal, you’ll immediately feel the intense acceleration, and hitting the first turn you’ll realize how much skill is involved to drive this track fast. The races last about eight minutes each and are about two miles long. Once you have recovered from the exhilarating ride, stick around and wait for your stat sheet that will most likely show you how poor your lap times are compared to the veteran racers. But you can always race again!
Only a half hour bus ride from Port Authority, Velocity 17 makes a great weekend activity. And it’s not just the go karts you will enjoy. With a flight simulator, billiards table, lounge with a cafeteria, and driving simulators, you won’t get bored.
Thanks to their late hours (closing at 11pm Tues-Thurs, and midnight Fri-Sun), it’s easy to find a time to race. Be sure to call or check their schedule before planning a trip—they occasionally have private events and are closed to the public. To drive at the full 30mph, drivers must be over 18 and bring a valid drivers license, or else you will be throttled down to 22 mph and race with the kids. The cost to get on the track is just $10 for the day or $20 for a yearly pass, in addition to the $18.50 fee per race.
How to get there: Velocity 17 is easily accessible to New York City NJ Transit bus. Take the 164 Midland Park bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal, ride the bus for thirty minutes, and get out at the Essex St. and Maywood Ave. stop. The facilities are a five minute walk away. From the bus stop, walk on the sidewalk towards Duane Reade, cross Maywood Ave., stay on the sidewalk until you pass Duane Reade and see a closed road on your right. Walk down the road, bearing left. Continue on this road (you will pass a FedEx building on your right) and you will end up in the V-17 parking lot. Take our handy map with you to make sure you don’t get lost! Please note that the road may not be well lit at night—if you stay late, you might want to bring a flashlight. (Velocity 17, 87 Route 17 North, Maywood, NJ, 800-942-4919, v-17.com)