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 |  Aug 06 2010, 11:16 AM

The 1st day of the MINI Takes The States Tour kicked off with a bit of a surprise – it turned out that a MINI press car was unable to take me from Newark Airport to our first destination, so I had to slum it in a BMW 550i. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.

Unfortunately, the 550i’s nav system took me in the opposite direction from New York, nearly sending me to Camden, New Jersey, ranked America’s most dangerous city in 2009. Not exactly the kind of place you want to take a brand new Bimmer.

All was resolved thanks to a local friend who laughed at my inept sense of direction and set me on course for Manhattan’s Meat Packing District. I set forth for MILK Studios, a gallery space where MINI was hosting a launch event for the new 4-door Countryman SUV, as well as the launch point of the Eastern leg of the MINI Takes The States Tour.

Once I hit Manhattan, I began to wish for a Mini Cooper S to help weave through the atrocious traffic. Being an admitted small car guy (my Miata keys in my pocket), the 5 Series was not my ideal vehicle, though I was kept in air conditioned, HD Radio’d comfort for the few hours (yes, hours) it took me to get from Newark to Downtown Manhattan.

Keep reading more MINI Takes the States Tour, Day 1: New York after the jump:

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