They Are Watching Us All
The Bus Lane Camera Unit
My recent trip to New York City cost me $80 not including the cost of gas, which is a lot in and of itself, and the cost to my nerves and possibly the loss of a few days off my life expectancy, so say it cost me $100 to get to the city and out. Here’s what happened on that beautiful sunny, Thursday in the greatest city in the world and it all had to do with the Bus Lane Camera Unit of the N.Y.C. Department of Finance.
I had never before heard of the Bus Lane Camera Unit of the N.Y.C. Department of Finance but I know about it now because the unit sent me a summons for violating traffic law section 1111-c and title 34 Section 4–12 (m) of the Rules of the City of New York. I wonder what Section 4–12 (n) would be, maybe violation of the law prohibiting operating a car filled with cows and chickens down Fifth Avenue.
Never mind, because I had violated Section 4–12 (m) and the proof came when a hidden camera took a photo of my car and license plate at 3:14:17 p.m. on July 22, on 6th Avenue near W. 14th St. My crime: I failed to comply with bus lane restrictions and I owe the city $50 by Sept. 7 and failure to pay by that date will result in instant decapitation.The notice actually included a photograph of the rear license plate on my car which reminded me of the eight by 10 color glossy photos in Alice’s Restaurant.
The back of the notice says I can dispute the violation and plead my case at one of five Finance Business Centers but I figured that in New York City I had better chances of getting the lead role in “Hamilton” than I did of successfully overturning the ticket before a city employee who was probably fed up with dealing with winy motorists and who took great pleasure in saying that he would not overturn the summons but that I could further challenge the summons in court and I figured winning in court was about as likely as being called up by the Yankees to play centerfield.
This is spooky, in a city of 8.175 million people, they manage to keep track of me and determine that my lousy beat up Honda Civic was illegally traveling in the bus lane, with the words painted on the road, “bus lane,” not “no cars” but just “bus lane” which to me sounds like it’s a lane for buses but not exclusively for buses and it doesn’t sound like cars and other vehicles are not permitted in the lane and what if I was concentrating on driving and not on reading words painted on the road? But that’s me, they caught me red handed and I really can’t imagine standing up to the Bus Lane Camera Unit of the N.Y.C. Department of Finance. I imagine all of the employees were black capes and carry large sickles.
This is how it started. It was a Thursday and I was in the city to pick up my son at his apartment on the west side of Manhattan. But I was a little early and thought I would park the car and hang out until it was time to pick up my son. I stopped at one underground garage and was tipped off to see that most of the parked cars were either Teslas, Land Rovers or Mercedes so I pulled over my beat up Honda Civic which makes entirely too much noise and includes a radio that doesn’t work and I asked the attendant how much it would cost to park and he asked how long I would be and I said maybe two hours and he said $75 and I said are you nuts and he smiled and I pulled away.
So then I was driving down Ninth Avenue looking for another, cheaper place to park and I accidentally got into the wrong lane of no return which leads irrevocably back to the Lincoln Tunnel. I had no way to avoid the tunnel unless I was able to jump the barriers and return to Ninth Avenue but I thought that was probably not a good idea because a ticket for barrier jumping is probably a lot more than $50. So I was in the tunnel again and I thought about just continuing home and calling my son that I would pick him up on Friday but I knew he would be disappointed so I told him I’d be there in a bit. After leaving the tunnel, I found myself driving around Weehawken trying to find the tunnel entrance back to the city, which I finally did and using my E-Z Pass, I zipped through and now I had paid $15 to get in the city the first time and another $15 to get in a second time, which totals $30. And I knew I had to pay the E-Z Pass bill because one time I lost the bill and didn’t pay it and my license was suspended but that’s another story about the naked city.
But I got to the city and parked in front of my son’s apartment building where a sign said “no parking” even though there were cars parked up and down the street. I knew that one time my wife had parked in front of the building and came out a few minutes later to find a ticket that cost $125 and I was in no mood to fool around anymore so I called my son on my cell and he came down and we drove downtown where I found a parking space and we went to a restaurant in Chelsea and enjoyed lunch and conversation and when it was over, I drove back to my son’s apartment where I told him it was great to see him and reminded him to call later that night, which he did. So I drove away and saw the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel was bumper to bumper and I was in a sour mood and my patience was gone and my radio didn’t work so I figured the heck with this, I’ll take the Holland Tunnel and that’s how I came to be driving down 6th Avenue at 3:14:17 p.m. when the Bus Lane Camera Unit of the NYC Department of Finance singled me out from the 8.175 million people of New York City for punishment for the crime of driving in a bus lane and it is something that I will never do again, I promise Bus Lane Camera Unit of the NYC Department of Finance. It reminds me of the time my car was towed in New York City and it cost me a small fortune and I had to give up my first born but that’s a story for another time.