‘Miss, your car is covered in bullet holes. Have a nice day.’
By Aglaia Davis
On November 21, 2018, I decided to have a “sit down” with a true New York City pimp car – a tinted-windowed, “bullet-hole” laden automobile that has spent “his” life on the Streets of Manhattan – to learn what the burdens and blessings (if there are any) are of “life in the fast lane.”
Q. What’s your name and address?
A. My name is Batmo. I understand that it is short for “Batmobile,” though, frankly, it is a misnomer because I am personally not a Batman fan and neither is my mom [owner]. Little kids stop and admire me a lot because of my license plate [“BATMO”] and Batman symbol on my hood. My address is registered as 225 Central Park West, but the reality is that I am very rarely there.
Q. Where do you spend most of your nights?
A. That’s the thing about life in Manhattan, if your parent doesn’t pay for a garage: You never really know where you will be sleeping. But I have my favorite spots. I actually enjoy being parked kind of far from home, so that not everyone knows me. I can be found anywhere from West 73rdStreet, basically, all the way up to West 91stStreet. But, lately, I have been even further away than that.
Q. What is the toughest part of living in New York?
A. For me, it’s the traffic. I know that sounds clichéd, but it is hard on my system to stop and start constantly. I know it is one of the reasons that I experienced a lot of wear and tear early in my life [Batmo is turning 11 in January 2019]. I really love getting out of New York with my mom on weekends and getting to “stretch my legs” on actual highways. However, I don’t ever get to go over 55 MPH. My mom is very strict about the speed because of the tickets [for tinted windows] in the past.
Q. What is the best part of living in New York?
A. It’s hard to say. This is all I have ever known. I hear stories from cars overnight who are from out of the City, and it sounds like a nice life, honestly. If I had to say, it would be all of the friends I make on a regular basis. A lot of people and cars appreciate and like me for how I look. My mom says she is known by people in her building because of me.
Q. What is on-street parking like?
A. Awful. There is no other way to say it. Sometimes we drive around, or sit, for hours, and that is not an exaggeration. It depends on the day, time, and location, but it can be really brutal. My mom is really good about never putting me in illegal spots, but I get banged up all the time from other drivers. Even though I have all this protection on my sides and bumpers, other cars bang into me all the time parking. It really pisses me off. I honestly dream of the day when I can be parked somewhere in peace.
Q. What’s your favorite story of parking or driving in New York?
A. That’s a tough one. There are a lot of funny experiences when you look like me. One memorable one was when my mom and I were waiting for street cleaning to finish across from the [New York] Historical Society. She had just put on a whole row of new [fake] bullet holes. An off-duty Ambulance was stopped at a traffic light [on Central Park West], and one of the guys got on the loud speaker and announced, “Miss, your car is covered in bullet holes. Have a nice day.”
Q. What is one of the worst stories of parking or driving in New York?
A. For me, it would be the cop stops. I am a very kind and quiet car, despite my appearance. Remember, I was born in Maine. This whole world was thrown at me at 1 year old. Anyway, it’s no secret that I have illegally black windows, chrome everywhere, and that I evidently look like I am about to take part in a major crime. As a result, unfortunately, we have been pulled over numerous times for no reason other than my appearance. I do not like dealing with the police; it scares me. I am an under-the-radar kind of car. For me, the worst of the worst was hands down the night I got towed. My mom left me safely parked across the street from where we live, and she checked on me several times in the days before. Out of the blue and for no reason, a police officer stopped by me one night, wrote a ticket for me, and had me TOWED to a scary place they call the pound. My mom did rush down the next day when she saw that I was gone, but it was the worst experience of my life to date.
Q. What advice would you give to other cars coming to live in New York?
A. Be patient. Develop a tough skin. Do not think that just because we live in Manhattan we have a dream life. A lot of cars I meet are not treated well by their parents. They are left for days or even longer without being checked on. With a few rare exceptions, my mom always comes to check on me – frankly, more than I need or want, because it gets embarrassing. You have to learn to be very independent very early.
Q. What are your hopes for the future?
A. I know it sounds clichéd, but to move out to New Jersey. I have been extensively to both Long Island and New Jersey because my mom rides [horses] on weekends, and I love the State of New Jersey. I am very comfortable and happy there. And it is a wonderful place to live, I hear. I am looking forward to the day my mom moves out there with me.