Residents Torn Over Grand Prix Of America In Weehawken & West New York

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Will it provide an economic boost or be a neighborhood nuisance? That was the debate Monday along the New Jersey water front where Formula 1 racers will take to the streets next year.

And as CBS 2’s Rachel Stockman reported, the course zooms right past people’s homes.

Elite drivers race at speeds as high as 220 mph, and now, get this, they are coming to a residential neighborhood near you.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

CBS 2 News went behind the wheel to take a test lap around the new 3.2-mile “Grand Prix of America” course, which starts at Port Imperial.

We zipped right past houses, even ran a couple of red lights, legally of course, while making our way through Weehawken and West New York.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Reports

World championship driver Sebastian Vettel took the first test run.

“So far it looks very interesting, a lot of up and downs,” Vettel said.

David Placek’s apartment overlooks the course and he said he can’t wait.

“Sent e-mails out the minute we heard. The invitations are out, just waiting for the final date, and we are expecting a big crowd,” Placek said.

The race will take place next June and is expected to bring in thousands of spectators.

“I think it’s great and it’s going to bring us a lot of business and that is what we need in West New York. We’ve been in the shadow of New York and now they will be watching us,” Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said.

But some neighbors said they worry about safety and noise.

“In a residential area this should not be done, and speeding cars, it’s an awful idea. I am not happy about it,” Nicole MacKenzie said.

“There is only one road in and out of here. How are they going to handle it? They can’t handle it on a daily basis,” Mary Ellen Armstrong added.

However, organizers have continued to assure residents that barricades will keep them safe, and the view will be spectacular.

The three-day event is expected to bring in millions of dollars to New Jersey.

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