The Tow Pound

Its been about 20 years since I had my car towed. It happened today during my son’s baseball game. The parking spot I used last sunday apparently is a tow zone the other six days of the week. A good reminder to check the signs every time you park

The tow pound is located on the west side highway at 38th street. It in the same place I went to get our mustang 20 years ago

Like many government run operations, its not particularly efficient. The line is long and full of pissed off people. No wonder the workers are behind bullet proof glass. It takes about 45 minutes from the time you arrive until you get your car back if you have all your paperwork. You must have your drivers license, your registration, and your insurance card if you want to get your car back.


It used to be you had to show up with $185 cash to get your car back. They take credit now. That’s progress.

The coolest part of the tow pound is the pier full of cars and tow trucks. Its one of the biggest indoor parking lots I’ve ever seen.


And there are quite a few cars there which appear to have been there for quite a while. I thought the city took possesion after a short time and auctioned them off. Apparently not.



Comments (Archived):

  1. S.t

    “Like many government run operations, its not particularly efficient. The line is long and full of pissed off people. No wonder the workers are behind bullet proof glass…”It’s a wonder why Dems don’t run on a platform of “Universal Parking”, huh?

  2. Spencer Fry

    You have to be particularly careful parking in NYC on Saturday before 7 PM. I’ve learned that the hard way too.

  3. Peter

    Get towed in Brooklyn. No line whatsoever and all they want is a license. (Besides, my proof of insurance and registration are in the glove box — so how could I show them?)

  4. Nate

    Traffic laws are full of perverse incentives. From indecipherable parking signs to photo enforced red lights with dangerously short yellow cycles, it’s good for the city’s bottom line to make everyone into a little bit of a criminal.

  5. obscurelyfamous

    Just want to say that I love blog posts with pictures placed at key places. It really helps illustrate the story.What’s the most baller car you found in the lot?

  6. kenberger

    Fred- this happened to me and my scooter!You have GOT to read my blog post about the whole ordeal:

  7. cortland

    Hey, my Neon! WTF?

  8. simondodson

    in australia its just hand over 400bucks an you can have your car back … * sigh*

  9. JR

    Next time bike!

    1. JC

      Exactly. You live in the city, own a car, and then drive to something within the city? You deserved it so use public transport or your own power. We have enough pollution and congestion problems in this city w/o the residents themselves contributing.

      1. fredwilson

        I use public transportation all the time. I probably ride the subway 40 times a week or more. And I rarely take cabs.I drove my car for a specific reason yesterday morning which is irrelevant to this discussion

    2. fredwilson

      You can’t take half a little league team to a ballgame on a bike

  10. drew

    Peter has a point. Fred do you carry your registration and insurance card with you or do you keep a copy at your place? I think that’s the answer. Crank up the Xerox in case the brownies go after me (or my wife more likely).Hey Mr. EKOLOG how come you are driving up to 38th? Get with the program.

  11. Annemiek

    Nice pictures! It would almost be worthwhile to have your car towed, just to have a nice and spectecular photo shoot…

  12. Respectful

    You have a lot of nerve (and probably legal liability) publishing photos of people here without their approval.

  13. Dan Weinreb

    I would imagine that making things more pleasant and efficient for people who have had their cars towed might be low on the city’s priority list. In fact, maybe they think it ought to be that way, as part of the punishment. If so, there is finally a high utility purpose for the surly, inefficient low-level government bureaucrat.

  14. David

    I just received this joke which seemed quite relevant:A Chinese man walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. He tells the loan officer that he is going to China on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.The bank officer tells him that the bank will need some form of security for the loan, so the Chinese man hands over the keys to a new Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. He produces the title and everything checks out.The Loan officer agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. The bank’s president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the Chinese for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drives the Ferrari into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there.Two weeks later, the Chinese returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, ‘Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multi-millionaire. What puzzles us is why you would bother to borrow $5,000?The Chinese replies: ‘Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there safely when I return.’

    1. fredwilson

      That’s great. I love itFred

  15. dcilea

    I was there about 20 years too, and from the looks of your photos, the place has not changed one bit. I too was amazed at all of the cars on the pier and did the quick math on the revenue they bring from the daily storage fees (let alone the tow charge). It was “cash only” back then. At least the City has improved their customer service by taking credit now.

  16. tourista

    I love that line. This is NYC to a Californian. Five creepy dudes in hoodies and one hot chick in the expensive boots on a cell phone.

  17. TOPP