A week in New York City is certainly an eye opener. I’ve been to NYC many times and it’s always a thrilling, fun and exhausting journey. First, no one in their right mind would voluntarily drive in NYC. Traffic is as bad or worse than LA and traffic signs and signals are mere suggestions.
Of course, the way to travel in NYC is by subway, taxi and walking – at least for the non-ultra-wealthy. If you have money, you have a driver and/or car service. Shopping on Madison Avenue or in SoHo is challenging. Carrying packages can be exhausting and shoveling them into a taxi or on the subway is difficult at best. It’s much better to have your black Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 or BMW 7-Series (with blacked-out windows, of course) and a driver who waits at the curb or is a text message away.
The other thing you notice is that there are very few Prii running around. Is this because New Yorkers don’t care about the environment? No, it’s something more practical. The Prius is too light and lacks an all-wheel drive option. Where as a 4-Matic Mercedes or X-Drive BMW sedan is a rarity in LA, it’s almost mandatory on the East Coast where there is snow or black ice on the ground for much of the winter.
You do, however, see many Ford Escape Hybrids running around, mostly as taxis. I rode in a few of those and the cheap, ugly, hard interior plastics must have been specially-designed for the taxis. Ugh.
I try to avoid Times Square. It’s so damn tacky and it’s always packed with sleazy vendors and clueless tourists – a dangerous brew. It’s also a terrorist target and the police presence is quite visible with portable watch towers and cameras everywhere. We had met friends for dinner in the Theater District and had to walk through Times Square to get to the subway. The visual blight is legendary; however, a bright flash of blue LED lights caught my eye.
It was the Times Square Chrysler. It’s hard to put into words how astonishingly hideous this custom car is, so I’ll just show you the pictures and let you judge for yourself. Try to keep your jaw off the keyboard.
LA is home to a large subculture of custom cars. It’s part of our tradition. Whether it’s a low-rider or the Bat Mobile, we do custom. In fact, LA is the perfect city to show off custom cars. There are car shows, boulevard cruising and hang out spots.
I didn’t see much of that around New York as most of the cars parked on the streets were beater commuter cars. [If you have a nice car in the City, then you have the money to shelter it. A NYC parking space costs as much as nice one bedroom apartment in LA. ]
The Times Square Chrysler was a glaring exception. Fully lit up, you could probably see it from space.