New York City: Its Park Is Worse Than Its Bite

Or: Tow Hell And Back!

Having lived around New York my entire life and in the city the last seven years, it’s nice to know there are still new experiences to be had here. However, going to the Police Department’s Tow Pound to get my car back is one I just as soon would have passed on.

At least now I can cross it off my bucket list.

I was so excited driving back into the city yesterday afternoon to find a spot right across the street from our apartment. Pulled in, turned off the car, and because it’s a street I park on all the time, didn’t even think to look up and notice that a new “No Parking” sign had gone up due to some construction on the building I was in front of. Never occurred to me to even check since all the streets in the neighborhood are good for parking after 1 pm. Honest.

But when I went out today to run some errands, I turned toward the spot and the vehicle there looked like ours—another small silver SUV—but not quite right. A closer look proved it wasn’t our car at all, and after walking up and down the street thinking I must have parked it somewhere else, I was convinced it had been stolen. Until my wife pointed out the new sign—right over where the car had been—that was as invisible to me as a ghost.

Back upstairs, a call to the Tow Pound, which is located on the docks along Hudson River, and into a cab. Yes, there was a little more screaming and teeth gnashing and cursing than that, but this is a family website. We got to the office, the line wasn’t too bad, I showed my license, started filling out the paperwork, and while waiting for my name to be called to take the car away—$185 later, mind you—my wife said, “Did you bring the keys?”

Uh, no.

While I waited, she got back in a cab, back uptown, got the keys, and returned in about 25 minutes. At which point we were lead into the cavernous garage, to our car, and set to drive it away…until I noticed there was a parking ticket on the windshield. Another $95.

I comfort myself by thinking that the city needs the money. I won’t ask for what.

There are many morals to this story: Look for signs even if you know the street. Check a second time. And don’t go to the Tow Pound without your keys.

On the upside, the pound takes credit cards. Who said New York isn’t a friendly place?

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