Saturday, December 11, 2004


Crosstown Traffic

Courtesy of Serenade, we find this hilarious article on driving in New York at the Capitalist Lion. My blogging colleague speaks authoritatively, but has left out several potentially relevant bits of information that might assist drivers attempting to navigate the roads in the big town. Ferinstance, there are several types of drivers not listed in his taxonomy which are important to be aware of. Important examples include:

The Frummie Should be self-explanatory. Regardless of whether they're merely black-hatters or shtreimel types, the Frummie has but one mission, to get quickly to or from Borough Park and/or Williamsburgh. Occasionally to Midwood and Riverdale as well. Responsible for the annual road race slash demolition derby on Ocean Parkway known as the "Shavuos 500". No distinct vehicle type for this genus, but generally serviced by mechanics named Motti whose siren call is, "What do you care if it's fixed, the car runs, doesn't it?".

The Greaser Genus specifically observed in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge. General appearance includes vague resemblance to John Travolta circa 1977, and the vehicle of choice is generally some overpriced, underpowered General Motors vehicle which looks flashy. Common accessories include long-suffering girlfriend or wife named Theresa. Usual behavior is schizoid mix between cruising slowly with high SPL music audible through open windows, usually on main drags such as 86th Street and Bay Parkway (Brooklyn), or autobahn-style driving on Belt Parkway (especially including tailgating, flashing brights and flipping the bird). Usually completely clueless when entering Manhattan, although willing to brawl for a parking spot.

The habitats of The Frummie and The Greaser intersect here

The Lawn Guylander Not necessarily confined to Nassau and Suffolk, also observed in Westchester, Monmouth, Putnam and Fairfield counties. Similar to Capitalist Lion's "The Jersey Driver" and "The Out Of State Driver" in the same sense that humans and primates share some genetic background, however, especially dangerous because this creature is usually a former New Yorker, and believes they know the city and can function well within the confines of the boroughs. Obvious examples of functional city illiteracy include thinking that the East Side is better than the West Side for north/south movements, ignoring better approaches to toll facilities to duck traffic (e.g. Borden Avenue, Riverside Drive), driving to major shopping areas best approached on foot or by public transit (e.g. Orchard Street, Brighton Beach / Coney Island Avenue, 13th Avenue) and unnecessary movements on Amateur Nights (e.g. Friday, Saturday and most major holidays) which cause unnecessary congestion. Generally this creature's vehicle is a luxury brand, which is often a garage bunny whose dealer service manager is an Anglified version of Motti. Often characterized by improper use or lack of an EZ-Pass toll transponder. Occasional aggresive behavior, but usually tempered by shrewish spouse.

The Fashionably Urban Characterized by driving large GM vehicles that will either be converted to or from car service use eventually. Spoken English is usually poor, and the radio will be blaring a program in Urdu, Creole, Spanish or Russian. For recreational driving, shares certain characteristics with The Greaser, although has a disturbing habit of large parking swarms along major arteries on summer weekends that are guaranteed to cause rubbernecking or cautious behavior in case whatever sport they are playing at said bucolic locations spills over onto the highway. Tends to accumulate lots of traffic summonses and to carry less than legal minimum insurance, if any. Also tends to take vacations in native territories after a fender bender.

And of course, what guide to driving in New York City would be complete without a Baedeker for the roads? The cognoscenti prefer "The Roads Of Metro New York" along with its' complementary site "The Crossings Of Metro New York". The webmaster also has sites for Boston and Philly which are worth visiting. Needless to say I've got my own user's opinions of various roads and crossings, which one day may make up a related article. Examples would include:

Clearview Expressway Speed trap. Utility severely impeded by dead-end at Hillside Avenue.
Sheridan Expressway Why bother?
Richmond Parkway See observation re: Sheridan Expressway


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