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NYC Towed My Car Last Night And No One On This Planet Has Suffered More Than Me

Yesterday evening while the rest of my peers were deep in the drama of NFL trade rumors, I was running the streets of the Flatiron district looking for my beloved junker. Did I forget where I parked it? Could someone have stolen it?! Had it fallen in a sinkhole?

Unfortunately all of those options were too good to be true; the reality was that she’d been towed.

(I’ll spare you the details, but please know I’m 100% innocent & the tow was unjust.)

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What made it worse was that 99.9999% of the time I never drive to work; the subway is cheaper than bridge tolls, & public transpo here is usually better than sitting in traffic.. The whole thing could have been avoided if I hadn’t decided to ‘treat myself’ on a whim. It also didn’t help that I’ve got the adulting sense of a twelve-year-old & things like remembering my license plate number, where the hell my registration was, & printing out insurance cards took a loooong time.

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I had to go through all my phone photos to find a picture of my car that had my license plate number in it, take the subway back to my apartment in Queens for some documents, then take the subway back to the office again to use the printer, then go over to the 24/7 NYPD Tow Lot at Pier 76 on the Hudson River.

Speaking of the dreaded Tow Lot… Holy sad vibes, Batman.

Flickering fluorescent lights cast a well-worn ’70s waiting room & its frustrated, impatient inhabitants in a sickly bluish-silver glow. Adding to the depressing atmosphere was a constant buzz coming from speakers overhead & a smattering of NYPD posters on the walls that couldn’t hide stains, cracks & layers of winter car dust that covered everything inside & out.

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Anyone who goes in there is upset because their car’s been wrongfully towed, and everyone who works there is disgruntled because everyone is pissed at them for being rightfully towed, or something like that.

In this particular crowd, a couple waiting on their vehicle was having a complete meltdown after she used the only bathroom available despite a sign saying “out of order”. Traffic police were yelling at her, she was yelling at them, her boyfriend was yelling at her to stop yelling while also yelling at the cops, and she was yelling at him right back. It was around 1am at this point & everyone was at their wit’s end.

Being the nerd that I am, I bucked the rage trend & spoke in a syrupy sweet voice to the fine-collection lady in hopes she’d slyly wink at me & whisper, “Hey, you know what… consider it cleared. This one’s on the house.”

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Instead she looked at me like I was a patronizing douche. Touche.

Finally my paperwork cleared & I was told to head out back.

“This is the part where they got my money so now they just dump my body in the Hudson,” I thought. “There’s so many things I never got to do. Ride a horse on a beach, dye my hair rainbow colors, volunteer overseas, DP….”

Instead they put me in a little traffic cop car & drove me literally about 12 feet to my 16-year-old Honda. Then I had to do a huge U-turn on the pier through a sea of massive potholes, impounded vehicles, & asshole tow trucks.

As I passed the exit gate a security guard stopped me to let me know I had something under my wipers. Ah, another ticket. He let out a delighted chuckle & explained that they can’t tow you until you have a ticket first, so they must have worked in cahoots to ticket & then immediately tow me. I smiled politely but inside I was doing that Rocko-from-Boondock-Saints “FUNNNNY, FUCKING FUNNNNNNNY” thing.

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And for a final treat, my check engine light blinked on right as I peeled onto the West Side Highway. (I’m driving it down to Philly tonight, and at this point I don’t care if the exhaust system crumbles onto I-95.)

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At around 3am I finally went to bed several hundred dollars poorer, but with my old gal nestled safely in a spot outside. I’m one of those ‘misery loves company’ people, so my main solace was knowing I wasn’t alone…

The City has about 85,000 parking spaces served by Muni Meters and issues anywhere from 9 million to 11 million parking tickets a year.

Side note, I posted a whole story about it on my Instagram & thanks to anyone who reached out with their own unlucky tow stories, to the Stoolie lady who works at a bar across from the NYPD lot who invited me to come have a free drink, to the #Dads who reminded me not to keep my title in my car, and everyone who sent good vibes. Somehow, some way, I’ll get over it & find a way to enjoy the weekend.