briskly walked block after block up Park Avenue in midtown Manhattan. The energy of the city invigorated me at the early morning hour. Business people stylishly dressed leaving their buildings heading downtown. Taxi's dipping in and out of lanes working to make up time. Parents holding the hands of school children walking them to class.
New York City had jumped a few weeks ahead of Syracuse in embracing spring. Tulips were in bloom. Buds burst on tree limbs. A three day stay in New York was coming to a close. I was retrieving my car from a side street where I had parked for free. Free parking in New York City - it seemed to good to be true.
I had taken a picture on my phone of the precise corner to I would not forget. I was parked near 68th and Madison. As I turned the corner of my street. I gasped. The car was gone.
Just to be sure I walked up and down the street. I distinctly remembered where it had been parked. It was no longer there. Several profanities entered my head. Some slipped out under my breath. What happened?
When I parked the car there I had carefully inspected the complexities of the street signs. I was near the Ukrainian consulate, but did not park in their spots. I was not blocking a fire hydrant. It was not a commercial parking only zone.
There was a restriction for street sweeping between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm Tuesday and Thursday. I could have sworn that's what the sign said. It turns out that sweeping on my side of the street was on Monday. My car had been towed.
I fairly quickly tracked down where the car had gone. The City's system for finding a towed car is quite advanced. It allows you to text information and check online. Smartphones make all the difference.
It took about two hours including a cross town rush hour cab ride and $185 to get the car out of the impound lot on Pier 79 on the Hudson. They also tossed in a $95 parking fine. So much for the free parking.
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