Niederreiter behind the wheel.
Nino Niederreiter and I took a tour of Huntington Harbor today, as journalists from “Schweizer Illustrierte” searched for the perfect backdrop for their “Nino on Long Island” photo shoot. According to the journalists (and Nino), Schweizer Illustrierte is basically Switzerland’s People Magazine, so a multi-page spread on Nino and Mark Streit was worth the trek.
While the piece will include pictures of the two players on the ice and in the locker room, the photographer also wanted to capture Nino away from the rink. Wrestling with the question “what picture could capture the notion of Nino living in America,” we had to talk him out of his first idea – Nino taking a bite out of a Big Mac with the Manhattan skyline behind him.
Nino explained that a picture in the city wouldn’t accurately depict him (or the Islanders), nor would anything relating to fast food, so he offered the idea of either a harbor on the North Shore or a beach on the South shore.
For the record, Nino smiles way too much to make any “Blue Steel” jokes here, so let’s cut to the drive home.
After the shoot, Nino was meeting Mark and heading to the DMV to take a road test for his driver’s license (It’s easy to forget how young he is). Though he’d never been licensed in Switzerland, Nino has had his learner’s permit in New York for some time and has practiced in Mark’s car.
To warm up for his big test, Nino took the wheel for the drive home. Thinking back a number of years to my road test, I tried to give him a little last-second prep… He didn’t roll through any stop signs, always signaled, and generally stuck to the speed limit.
“Pretty good, right?” asked Nino.
“From what I’ve seen so far, you’ll do just fine,” I said. “How’s your parallel parking?”
“It’s ok,” said Nino.
The last thing I could think of was, “can you drive in reverse?”
Nino went pale and stammered: “What do you mean? They make you drive backwards?”
Cut to me and Nino in a parking lot, learning what the big “R” on the dashboard stands for.
Driver’s license in the bag, Nino already has his first car lined up… Let’s just say it’s not the typical hand-me-down that most 18-year-olds are driving.
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