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Cars: Not just for transportation anymore

Cars 2 might be raking in the dough at the box office, but for some, cars are becoming more than a mode of transportation.

Early one morning last week I was walking up 5th Avenue (directly across from The Met) and saw a couple sleeping in their car. The woman was in the passenger’s seat curled on her side with a pillow, and the man was in the driver’s seat, titled back slightly. At first I thought they were waiting for the museum to open, but then I noticed the back windows. Pressed right up to them were their personal belongings shoved against the glass for all to see. As I kept walking – along one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan – I realized that couple was living in their car.

Then this week I passed another parked car, this one on the corner of Madison Avenue and East 64th Street (again, not a shabby neighborhood). This car stood out because of the neon yellow and red sign in the back window. As you can see in the photo, the sig

n is not the obnoxious “Baby on Board” variety, but a new type: “NOTARY COPY INTERNET.” It took just one look at the older man sitting in the driver’s seat, his window open, to know that he was waiting for customers. This man was doing business out of his car. And not even a nice car. Aside from it being a GEO (a car they stopped making in the 90s), the front side was dented and the tires looked bald. The license plate, from Connecticut, showed he drove all the way into Manhattan with the hopes of making a few bucks. Yet how much gas did it cost him to drive here?

With people out of jobs, they’re slowly being forced to live and work out of their cars. What’s the solution? I wish I knew, but one thing’s for sure: the state of the economy is driving some of us to incredible extremes.

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