Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There a number of rites of passage we all remember for our childhoods, some fondly and others not so much. Some are religious: Confirmations, baptisms, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, or even the appropriately vague Coming of Age ceremony for commitment-phobic Unitarians. (My peeps!) Some rites even seem designed to invite the chaos that we spend much of our time trying to avoid as parents: Walkabout and Rumspringa come to mind.

Among the suburban and rural set, however, there is the nearly universal cultural rite of the Acquisition Of The Driver’s License. It’s a milestone that represents freedom and responsibility for teens and sleepless nights for parents. Not to mention the financial burden of insurance premiums higher than the net worth of the teens themselves.

There’s a cost benefit ratio for you to mull over on some dark night.

Anyway, if your progeny haven’t reached that stage yet and are still stuck catching the school bus with a Pok√©mon backpack and a lunchbox full of Uncrustables, they’re still in luck. There are plenty of opportunities for them to get behind the wheel of a fun, fast go-kart that will be just quick enough to alarm the old folks and frighten the horses.

The boys and I are fans of our local indoor go kart park, Grand Prix New York. The track is reasonably challenging and there’s a restaurant, a space for parties, and a bar for Mom and Dad when they’re ready to hang up the helmet.

The best part about racing karts is that by the time the weather turns warmer and everyone is comfortable behind the wheel, there are countless places to race outdoors on larger tracks with faster karts. New York, for instance, has dozens of tracks, as does nearly every other part of the U.S. So go make Art Ingels proud. The kids will thank you.

Grand Prix New York (GPNY, to the cool kids)