Garia, a company that sells a new golf “car” for people who want a high-end, street-legal vehicle to zip around their gated communities, allowed me to take their $21,000 model for a test drive through New York’s Times Square. It was the most fun I’ve had in a golf cart since I used to rig the vehicles at my home course in Indiana. (Sorry, Phil Harris Golf Course.)
A couple weeks ago, a TIME.com videographer and I took the Garia Luxury Golf Car through a tourist-clogged Times Square, down a clear, then gridlocked 42nd Street and back to the Time & Life Building on 50th. It was a 45-minute joyride that, at first, was terrifying. New York City drivers are known for their offensive driving skills. And I mean offensive in all of its meanings.
A golf cart isn’t what you would think of as “safe” when you’re dodging taxis, drivers who don’t signal, buses who commandeer the road and pedestrians who want to ask you — just what in God’s name are you driving? But after a few minutes in the Garia, which does in fact have seat belts, it almost proved to be the perfect vehicle to drive through a choked city. You can easily maneuver around cabs, and its 25 mph is more than enough to not hold up traffic. The only problem was the potholes, and you could feel each one.
It was easily the best time I’ve had riding in one of the carts since my friends and I used to fiddle with what are called the “governors” inside our hometown golf course’s carts, which allowed the maximum amount of gas to reach the engine while spiking the carts’ mph at what felt like warp speed. Driving through Times Square was almost as fun, except this time, I wasn’t going to get in trouble.