Read This One Tip Before Parking Your Car in NYC

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I drove into NYC for the day with one of my girl friends. Her husband carefully checked over the car before we left, and once we were given the thumbs up we strapped her two young kids in the car and headed out for a day of adventure.

Parking is at a premium in New York City, so my friend and I gave each other high-fives when we found a reasonably priced parking garage. We pulled in to the drop-off location, got our ticket from the guy, and were on our way.

The day was a whirlwind of excitement that included pizza, shopping and a bunch of touristy stops.

Bonus Tip: Fun restaurant for adults & kids – Jekyll and Hyde. The food is ok, but the atmosphere with animatronic creatures and secret bathroom entrance (I won’t spoil the fun) is the main draw.

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At the end of the day we returned, exhausted. We produced our dog-eared claim ticket and after a bit the car roared into view from the underground lot. It was parked quickly for us, facing the street and pulled out so far that cars passed mere inches from the front. In fact, no one could walk on the sidewalk in front of the vehicle. At first we were slightly annoyed because there was plenty of room behind the vehicle, but figured it just made it easier for us to pull out in traffic.

My friend and I checked both sides of the car and the rear, and everything looked in order without any dents or scratches. We skipped looking at the front because the rest of the car looked fine and it would have been inconvenient to pass in front of the car because of the traffic going by so close.

After getting the kids settled in with sippy cups and some snacks, we headed out of town to our meeting point with her husband at a restaurant. It was only after we were parked and inside that we realized there was anything wrong. Her husband sat drinking his coffee, and when he glanced out the window at the car he nearly choked. The front bumper was no longer firmly affixed to the car, but dangled askew on one side.

We all went outside to inspect, and best we could figure, there had been some sort of mishap in that tiny parking garage and that was why the vehicle was returned with the front so far into the street. It had purposefully been parked in such a way that we wouldn’t look at the front.

A call was immediately placed to the parking garage, but they claimed not to know anything about it nor remember the vehicle until the numbers on the receipt were recited. Then they mentioned that the parking garage does not accept any responsibility for vehicles and reminded that they had a sign posted that clearly mentioned that they are not responsible for damage to vehicles.

Once we were back home, my friend’s mechanically gifted husband was able to get the bumper back into place without too much trouble.

We were lucky; it could have been a dent or sustained worse damage. If there had been damage that he couldn’t have fixed, they would have had the option to file a claim with their car insurance company. If the car had been a rental, there would have been additional options as well, such as the secondary coverage that comes with some American Express cards as well as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

My one tip to readers when parking in NYC (or any big city) – check your vehicle over completely before accepting it.

We were tired at the end of the day, the kids were tired, and all we could think about was getting home. If we had passed just once in front of the car, we would have spotted the problem immediately.

Have you ever had something similar happen to you?

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  1. lopere

    good reminder!

    • Melinda

      Thanks @lopere!

  2. James

    It’s sounds like you’re friend has a bigger problem. A controlling husband inspecting the car for damage before she drives it.

    • Melinda

      Lol @James. It does come across that way, but we were near the end of a cross-country trip so I think the inspection was more of a safety check than anything else…but only he knows for sure.

  3. TT

    What’s the point of inspecting the car before pickup if they don’t accept any responsibility of damage to vehicles?

    • Melinda

      @TT even if they had a sign absolving themselves of responsibility, I’d much rather deal with a company while still onsite. Kind of like hotels that charge me for a meal I didn’t eat or a rental car company misreading the mileage, when face to face with someone a better/faster resolution can usually be reached than when doing it over the phone afterwards.

      Plus, if I was onsite making a stink about it their other customers might see, and it would be in their best interest to own up and discuss. At the minimum a few photos could be taken for insurance purposes, which would be better than taking them once home.

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