The Love Truck of the Lower East Side

Posted on: June 23rd, 2011 at 6:40 am by

Perpetually parked though it may be, one particular vehicular mainstay commands plenty of attention on the streets of the Lower East Side.  It’s simply unavoidable.  In fact, it’s not uncommon to catch a glimpse on First Avenue, East Second Street, or East Houston. Or on any downtown street, for that matter.  We are speaking, of course, about the banged-up old Toyota U-Haul that’s sheathed in a sleeve of painted art.  The Love Truck.

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The Love Truck has mileage, both physically (200,000 and counting) and metaphorically, and we are here to shed some light.  Owing thanks to the placement of a business card in the driver-side door, we were finally able to connect with the phantom owner of this so-called artwork-on-wheels.  His name is Dallas, and he hails from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where winters never seem to end.  New York City has more or less been his adopted home for the better part of the last decade, but a transient experience at that (i.e. frequent road trips, Burning Man, etc.).  The driver was nice enough to chat with us over some Vietnamese food late last week.

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Dallas is a freewheeling being in every sense of the word, and the Love Truck is his heart and soul.  And shelter.  He is homeless at the moment, but never without a home.  When not couch-surfing on a rotating host of crashpads around town, Dallas sleeps in the cargo space of the truck.  That usually equates to a couple nights each week.  His most stable living situation for now is right at the nexus of the universe (First and First), which is often why the Love Truck is parked in the immediate vicinity.

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[May 2010]

Dallas quit a corporate software gig years ago, and has been living freely ever since.  But there’s still a somewhat steady cash stream from promoting club parties for the strong Burning Man community in the city underground.  Apparently the man commands great respect within these circles for being a “thought leader” (nay, “evolver”).  But he’s not averse to working the odd handyman gig – moving a couch, etc. – so give him a call if you’re in a pinch (347-878-MOVE).

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The Love Truck itself is a minimalist abode furnished with the bare essentials, many of which were scrounged from the street –  a small shelf unit, discarded car seat, tools, and a glamorous piss bucket.  Though, we were surprised to learn that Dallas sleeps on a Tempur-Pedic mattress.  Staying in the truck doesn’t come without its stories, of course.  We are told that the cops rarely bother him (except the one time he had a gun pulled on him), and that most people tend to leave him alone.  He also tells a story about how two people broke into the cockpit and had sex while he was sleeping in the cab.  It was the rocking that awoke him…

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As for the flamboyant art, Dallas hired artist and Seattle transplant Nicolina to paint the cosmic heart panel piece.  Her work is also featured in the windows of The Bean coffee shop just up the street.  Dallas is always hiring friends to re-brand this multipurpose ride.

The back door carries the work of Optimo Primo

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