Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another Zipster Born

Back in March, the city of New York pulled a fast one on me and my reliable, dented-but-beautiful Honda Civic. This car turned over in below freezing weather, despite not getting a tune up. Dented Beauty and I parked at a spot near the Farragut Houses, after circling the block, studying signs on poles and the gate.

I threw the car door shut and hurried to my appointment with lively silver-haired ladies. Two hours later, I find Dented Beauty gone. What happened? Did some thief steal her for her parts or for a joy ride? I kept thinking, "My car is stolen." In the meantime, NYPD trucks kept whizzing past with cars or vans trailing behind them. It dawned on me that New York City stole my car.

But why steal my car? I went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Tow Pound. Sure enough, my car was there. Frustrated people surveyed me as I entered the reception. Some had been on line for two hours.

Jumping two days ahead....the judge looked at my photos and heard me testimony. Although there were no signs on poles or the gate; and the gate didn't have hinges or a latch to permit its opening; and behind the gate was a grassy expanse with a cement pathway curving decidely away from the gate, the judge said I parked in front of a driveway. The judge said I was supposed to read the sidewalk before moving away from my car.

I told this story to my forever novio who explained that, as a Port Authority traffic cop, he had to know both NYC and New Jersey traffic & moving violation laws. When a driver was particularly disrespectful or aggressive, he'd write summonses for violations the average motorist is not aware of. He said NYC has a law on the books that autos parked at curbside are to keep their parking lights on throughout the night. This law isn't enforced but can be.

That tip was my tipping point; I chose to surrender the car to the city of New York. Coincidentally, my auto insurance was due in two weeks, my rent in one week.

It took two months but I joined Zip Cars today. A friend told me about Zip Car and Drive Mint. She'd been a Zipster for several months but hadn't told me.

Zip Car is a great operation. It's getting harder to find parking in New York. The new residential towers will make the population denser--once the RE agents can secure tenants for all those buildings.

Hmmm....after years of getting about in my reliable Dented Beauty and paying gas, maintenance, registration, insurance, AAA membership, and inspection fees, life is different. I bought my second Unlimited Week MetroCard and study the MTA subway map even more intensely. I hope Zip Car satisfy my needs, otherwise, I'll be back to contributing to global warming, road rage, asthma and other respiratory maladies.

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