The streets are so overcrowded and there is such a shortage of parking that you would have to be crazy to try to try driving yourself around. Cabs, subways, and buses are far faster, cheaper, and easier to take than your own car.
It's quite common to find people in the city that don't have a driver's license and have never owned a vehicle. Think I'm kidding? Not at all.
It took like three different people before I found one that could give me directions to their place. Of course none of them spoke English as their primary language so it took a while to understand what he was saying. But eventually I had my directions and I was on my way.
You have to remember that at the time there were no GPS units and the trucker's atlas wasn't detailed enough to get you where you needed to go. I stopped and bought a detailed folding map of the city which later came in handy, but nothing could have prepared me for the mess I was about to get myself into.
I had two deliveries to make in Queens. How lucky. Pffff.... I remember I came into the city from the west across the George Washington Bridge. At the time there was a huge sign almost immediately after you crossed into the Bronx that read, “Low clearance ahead – all trucks must take next exit”.
Ok perfect – I was a nervous wreck to begin with and now ten seconds after crossing into NYC I was faced with a totally unexpected situation. I didn't even have time to ask what the deal was on the CB. The next exit came up and I took it....
......straight into the dead center of the Bronx.
I got to the stop light at the end of the ramp and there wasn't a single sign explaining what the hell I should do now. I looked above at the expressway going overhead that I had just exited from and saw truck after truck continuing on. I was the only one that had gotten off at the exit.
WHAT THE HELL?
Ok, I figured the sign was old and should have been removed and I was the only one that didn't know that at the time. So I'll just get back on the expressway and continue on, right? Wrong.
There was no on ramp to get back on. I was going to have to find my way around the Bronx and get back on track toward Queens. I was nearly certain I was going to throw up. This could NOT be happening.
I wandered a bit and can't remember what road I was on but it was a four lane highway and I came to my next realization about New York...SOME of the bridges are marked a foot lower than they really are.
Apparently it's to compensate for the snow and ice that may build up under the bridge in the winter. Problem was some bridges were marked with their real height, some were marked a foot shorter than they really are, and there was no way to tell which was which.