“Come and visit. You can’t miss me. Right by the Apollo Theater. Look for the white van.”

The Ride
The Driver: Cosmo 
Car in Question: 1995 Ford 250 Econoline Van
Spotted at: Apollo Theater, Harlem, New York, N.Y. 10027
Odometer: 250,000
Car’s Nickname: The Cosmic Van


Q: Hi Cosmo. Great van. What is its main use?

A: My van? I spend a lot of time in it. I actually was homeless for a short period of time and I used to sleep in it. Right here by the Apollo. But right now I live in Yonkers in a senior citizen development, and I use the van for work, and for whatever I need a vehicle for. I use it. It serves me very well. Ford is very good.

Q: What are you selling here?

A: We have bracelets imported from India, Italy, China, Taiwan, and I have skulls made in China. I usually cater to beautiful ladies with beautiful jewelry, but for Michael Jackson’s anniversary of his death, I put together some beautiful skulls, and hopefully I’ll be able to sell ‘em today.

Q: How old are you, Cosmo?

A: I’m 71 yesterday.

Q: You look great!

A: I know. Thanks.

Q: So, your van, how long have you owned it?

A: About four years. My ex-wife gave it to me as a gift. She left me, but left me with the van.

Q: Do you take care of it yourself?

A: No. I don’t know how. It costs me a lot of money. But I’ve had a lot of work done in Florida. The mechanics there and the mechanics shops, they are very honest and very good.

Q: What’s the farthest you’ve driven in it before?

A: To Florida and back. That’s about 3000 miles.

Q: Do you have any rules for people if they get in your van?

A: Yeah. No smoking, no drinking. I’m a vegetarian, I don’t allow people to eat meat in my van. It’s against my religion.

Q: What type of music do you listen to in your car?

A: I like Jazz. Mostly Jazz. My favorite singer is Gloria Lynne. She’s a friend of mine. She has about 78 albums. She just did a concert at the Hostos college, just last week. Gloria Lynne – L.Y.N.N.E, if anybody is interested.

Q: And let’s say that you were to get another car. What would it be?

A: I used to own a vintage Cadillac. I like vintage cars. I don’t like new ones. I mean, if somebody gave me one, I would take it. But, if I had my choice, it would be a vintage car. A Cadillac.

Photos and interview by Jai Mitchell

View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at CBSNewYork.com/Autos