Brooklyn’s “idiots” put the cart before the horse at Saturday morning’s Idiotarod, and both were freezing.
By land, by sea, and by L train, nearly 30 tribes of idiots wheeled their transformed shopping carts from Williamsburg to Astoria in an epic four-hour marathon that lived up to its reputation as the city’s most physically demanding flash mob.
Outfitted in elaborately designed costumes, hundreds of teams mushed to the frozen grounds of Cooper Park (Maspeth Avenue, Sharon and Olive Streets) in Williamsburg to plot their strategy and photograph each other before the big race. With DangerZone, the 2009 Best In Show winners, transferring all operations of the 2010 Idiotarod to the militant-looking but ultimately nonthreatening Corporation X, this year’s title was up for grabs.
And from the early reports at the 10 a.m. pre-race gathering, the competition was fierce.
In the north corner of the park, a flock of feathered bald eagles stared down a lodge of beavers, ferociously guarding their shopping cart that was also made of twigs, while a bunch of men wearing six-foot banana costumes with a handmade sign that read “It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time” danced with a group of men eating hot dogs and wearing red shirts that read, “Have You Seen My Weiner?”
We had not and the Congressman did not attend the event.
In the east corner of the park, the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore worked out on a nearby jungle gym and the cast of Twin Peaks, including the cellophane-wrapped corpse of Laura Palmer who passed out donuts and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to hungry reporters, and a team of Vikings which converted their shopping cart into a whaling vessel, threatened to plunder the fake reality stars.
Their reason for such meticulously designed carts and costumes?
“We’re all unemployed,” said one Viking.
This year, the color white and black were popular motifs. There were teams wearing Hazmat suits, ninja fatigues, black and white striped French mime outfits (complete with an invisible shopping cart), and whatever it was the “Resurrection Super Heroes GoGo Dancers” were. None of that mattered as the marathon kicked off at noon, turning from Project Runway to The Amazing Race. The teams bolted down Kingsland Avenue toward the contest’s first checkpoint, the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, where team captains performed feats of strength and cunning for 20 minutes.
It was a brutal sprint. During the first leg, the Resurrection GoGo Dancers found themselves in first place despite having two of its members lag behind with asthma attacks.
Dave Gilboa, a member of Team BraveCart, clad in a plaid kilt, white leggings, and an unflattering Mel Gibsonesque wig stopped at the Creek to reflect on the frigid conditions of the day’s competition.
“Other teams can run and they can live… for a while.. or you can stay and fight… for freedom! Freedom!” said Gilboa.
The throngs circled the edge of Greenpoint down Franklin Avenue to TBD (224 Franklin St.), for the second checkpoint before mushing over the Pulaski Bridge, and finishing in Astoria, 3 hours and 36 minutes later. The Eagles flew by the GoGo Dancers into first place, but Fake Work, who wore snow bunny outfits and roasted marshmallows over an open flame that they wheeled in their cart won Best In Show,
“I have to hand it to Fake Work. They did a pretty amazing job,” said Lacey Tauber, from Team Strip, which won Best What happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas. “They brought actual fire in their cart. You can’t compete with that.”
Disasterpiece took home Best Costume, and team member Rachel Brill was thrilled with the result, if not also a bit exhausted.
“We stuck by our strategy. We had the game control of G-8 and prevented the ninjas from reaching F-5,” said Brill. “The bishop got hit by a water balloon towards the end, and it froze immediately on her dress. Our cart fell apart towards the end. We just threw the pieces inside our cart and kept running. We didn’t give up.”