SOHO — A 10,000-pound monster truck with a 1,500-horsepower 540 Merlin engine and the FDNY logo emblazoned on its side roared to life Tuesday afternoon in front of the New York City Fire Museum.
The truck is the FDNY's new baby. It came with a giant cardboard check in the amount of $20,000 from Advanced Auto Parts and Feld Motor Sports, the sponsors of the Monster Jam tour.
The truck, courtesy of the sponsors, will only be used one time — for the Monster Jam "Path of Destruction" competition on June 16 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Ten-time Monster truck world champion Tom Meents is set to steer it in the freestyle events.
Meents said it was a "huge honor" to be driving for the FDNY, and he was looking forward to sticking it to his biggest monster truck driver rival, Dennis Anderson.
"Anything I can do to make him look bad is always exciting for me," he said.
"It's a contender!" said Meents's representative, optimistically, who added that with Meents behind the wheel, "anything's possible."
Few in the scant crowd cared about the check nearly as much as the mountain of raw metal power next to it, but the gift will be a boon to the FDNY Foundation, helping it promote city-wide fire safety education.
Lieutenant Daniel Kaniff, part of a ceremonial FDNY unit, called the monster truck a "great idea."
"It's another way to raise money for the FDNY. It's a different angle," he said. "The money is for equipment and safety, but it really gets pushed out to the public for public education."
Frank Dwyer, FDNY's spokesman, said that the money raised from Advance Auto Parts will help with the 6,000 city-wide fire safety events the FDNY holds per year.
Nicole Feld, Executive Vice President of Feld Entertainment, said that giving the FDNY a monster truck was a "natural fit."
"The Fire Department, these are the bravest individuals in the world," she said. "[Feld Motor Sports] wanted to figure out a way we could partner with them and celebrate everything that the Fire Department in New York does in a big, big way."
Perhaps the partnership will develop.
"Hopefully in the future we're going to return to MetLife stadium," Feld said, "and perhaps we could even grow the relationship with the Fire Department, and the truck could compete again."