Before you start to read, you must understand that this is an old article and I am now living in Southern Florida…hopefully, there will be no follow-up to this…
Driving In The Big Apple or Just Eat The Worm And Shut Up!
OK, I’m from South Philly so I know how to drive. In South Philly about 90% of the streets are small, 1 lane, 1 way, and have cars parked on either side…so I know how to drive.
I moved to NY a few years back…a form of self-flogging I think…and even though I live on Long Island, my work brings me into Manhattan almost daily. So what’s the problem with New York and its drivers? For a start, over 7 million people on that tiny rock. Add another 8 million on the bigger rock Long Island. With me so far? That’s the equivalent of trying to stuff 80 pounds of shit in a 20 pound bag!
My shop is about 45 miles from Manhattan. That means I should cover the distance in less than an hour right? WRONG! It generally takes 2-2 1/2 hours to get through the tunnel into Craptopolis. And here are some reasons why:
Lets start with the asshat who drives in the far left lane till his exit is 20 yards away. Even though he drives this road every day and knows exactly where the exit is, he decides to wait till the very last second to cut across 3 bumper to bumper lanes. Now just one of these jerks would be bad enough, but I’ve seen 3 and 4 of them lined up one right after another.
Lets take the chooch who thinks the passing lane is the lane you drive in to be passed. Yup, adding to the late-lane-changers are people driving 10 MPH under the speed limit.
Now the look turns to the design of the roads. On ramps onto the LIE (notice the initials…stands for Long Island Expressway but to think you’re getting anywhere fast is a…LIE) are spaced a whopping 40 yards from the off ramps. So you have maniacs trying to enter the highway, lunatics trying exit the highway, and lets not forget the dribblebrains that are coming from the far left trying to get into the exit lane as well.
Meanwhile people coming onto the highway will bypass 3 or 4 spots good enough to merge into traffic and instead they will travel that merge lane till it runs out and then force their way in.
Now lets add road-work crews. Unlike Philly, all roadwork is done during the day so as to optimize the displeasure of the drive. My favorite is when they close a portion of a lane and have nobody working there. Brilliant maneuver just in case traffic actually starts to flow. Then we finally get to the Mid-Town Tunnel. A wondrous place where the highway opens up into 8 lanes…sweet huh? Until you pay your toll and then the 8 lanes must collapse into 2 lanes over maybe 50 yards. By now 2 hours or more have passed and about 99% of your humanity is a forgotten memory…but hope looms…
And now we’re finally in Manhattan. Hurray! Well, it’s hurray for about 100 yards. Driving in Manhattan is unique to say the least. Every corner has a sign that promises eternal damnation in hell plus 2 points if you block the intersection. Apparently this does not apply to taxi cabs. While you wait patiently at a green light for a spot to clear so you can make your turn the cabbie 2 lanes over decides to fill the space behind the cab you’re already waiting to move. And then they seem surprised that you get mad and yell things like “Your mother drives a pickle wagon” at them. I dunno. Then you look pleadingly at the traffic cop on the corner but he doesn’t notice you because he’s on his cell phone. Amazingly enough though, he can hear you when you mutter he should choke on his next donut.
So after waiting for cabs and buses to move, driving around trucks and limos who have an inalienable right to double and triple park, avoiding the pedestrians who just walk into the street while texting their BFFs, and lurching left and right from potholes big enough to hide in, you get to your destination. And look!…it’s only taken you an hour to drive 3 miles! Today is your lucky day, traffic was with you.
Ten to fifteen minutes to do the work you actually came here for and now it’s time to do the whole thing again. Maybe the ride home will be different. Maybe, since it’s only 4:00 PM, I’ll get home at a decent time. Maybe, I’ll even get to watch a little TV. Maybe my dinner won’t…wait…why is the sky all orange ahead? What does that sign say? ROAD WORK?!?!? SUNUVA….
Yes, don’t envy me…I know life is good here on the Island!