M2NYi30ES – The Impound Lot
This traumatic event engendered an unforeseen delay, and the unforeseen delay delivered us into the hands of those same Fates we had snubbed just hours before. The Fates usually spin, weave, and snip the thread of our lives. In NYC, though, the Fates are in cahoots with the local Traffic Enforcement folks. The Fates take it easy, merely steering the parking police to people’s cars, and the parking police take it from there, guiding the tow truck to the spot and sealing the deal.
As we would learn, traffic patterns near the Queensboro Bridge are much like the tides in the East River–they change drastically with the time of day, and they wait for no man. The cops saw to it that we were towed tout de suite. Here beginneth the adventure of retrieving our car from the NYPD impound lot.
If you are towed in Manhattan, your vehicle is deposited in a secure, undisclosed location. You can ask anybody, though; they all know where they take it–the NYPD impound lot on 12th Ave., near the Jacob Javits Center. What people might not mention is that you’ll need cash, plenty of it, to retrieve your vehicle, and you’ll have to get there by yourself. Our building was between 1st and 2nd Avenues, and we should have taken a cab, but if you’re me, and you’re new in town, you decide to drive your rental truck crosstown to the impound lot.
From our apartment building to the NYPD impound lot is only about three miles, which might take 15 minutes on a good day. This was not a good day, though. This was the day I was having, and by now it was rush hour, and the impound lot is located near where the Lincoln Tunnel leaves town. A few other people were headed in this direction, and they weren’t driving moving vans with bad brakes. Still, we made it over there in good order. My wife went in while I sat in the truck to keep it from being towed, too. She found out we needed cash, found cash at an ATM in the Javits Center, got back in line, and an hour and a half later, we had our car back.
I felt cheated of a real, authentic New York experience. My wife got to go in and “stand on line,” as they say up there, with all manner of authentic New Yorkers–you know, New Yorkers from every continent on Earth with the possible exception of Antarctica and North America. I, meanwhile, was parked in a slightly wide spot in the street near the exit to the impound lot. This is one of the clearest memories I have of the day, sitting in the truck, riveted to the image in the rear-view mirror, expecting my wife to drive out at any moment, for one and one-half hours. Straight.
But she did come out, and she did follow me back across town, and we did get to the building on Second Ave. near the bridge. The apartment was just as we had left it. Piles of boxes and disassembled furniture littered the floor except where we had made little paths to walk around. I honestly don’t remember sleeping that night. We must have unrolled the futon cushion on the floor and made the best of it. It was a nice apartment on the 21st floor, and we could see the Chrysler building shining in the setting sun. We had made it this far with the moving process, and while this should have been the end of it, we were only about half-finished.