Regester Garage Cruisers
The local cruisers used to like to use the older Regester Parking Garage as a type of "home base" on their cruise around town on Friday and Saturday nights. People who wanted to cruise would usually show up on the top floor of the garage and drive once around the lot's three rows and then exit. This would start happening around 7pm or whenever it started to get dark. Eventually more people would come and then they would start to park.
Over the next couple of hours, many more cruisers would eventually show up, either parking or just slowly driving through showing off their car with a new paint job or ground effects. On the way out of the lot, the cars had to deal with the dip in the road where the entrance was. Most cruiser cars where low to the ground so they would have to manuever their cars to avoid bottoming out. Some cars would bottom out anyway.
Just about every car would peel out when making their exit, making tons of noise, smoke and the smell of burnt rubber.
The cruisers had an amazing consistency and like clockwork would show up every week. Almost nothing would stand in their way of trying to socialize through cruising. They would show up in the winter and brave the cold and snow. One time they were seen still standing in the parking lot during an intense thunderstorm when there was a tornado warning.
Some people have compared this activity to a modern mating ritual.
When the older Regester Parking Garage was torn down, the cruisers did not seem to return to any "base" in the area.
The Regester Garage was akin to the source of the river Nile. The cruiser kids eventually left the garage, turned right to head south past the Courthouse. They would clog up the left turn lane onto Kirkwood, then drive slowly down toward the Sample Gates with their stereos blaring. Eventually, the river of cruisers would reach Indiana Avenue, where they would jog left and into the IU parking lot near the old Von Lee. They would rejoin Kirkwood, head back to the garage and regale their comrades with their conquests. In this way, they were not unlike the British Royal Geographical Society.
When the Regester Garage was torn down in 2003 to make way for a hotel, the Regester Garage Cruisers moved operations to the newly erected 7th and Walnut Garage, where they commandeered the top two floors. Eventually, the city got wise to the migration and closed off the top two floors of the garage to everyone who didn't have a reserved parking pass.
The Cruisers still exist in memory. Oh, there are still a few here and there. A few moved on to car washes, grocery stores and other much more intellectual pursuits. But if you listen very carefully on a Friday night, when the wind is just right, you'll hear their signature screeching sounds as they approach. Like birding, seeing a Garage Cruiser is not nearly as important as hearing a garage cruiser.
- One night a fight broke out between two guys and went on for about a minute until other people came in to protect them from really hurting each other.
- Every once in a while the lot would already be filled up for another event happening downtown. This would cause the cruisers to drive around the lot once, realize there was no place to park and then leave, making extra sure everyone heard them on the way out.
- One night the lot was completely blocked off for some reason and many cruisers pulled up to the lot, tried to go in, but had to back out.