By Eric Boehm
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
But parking your tires, your Ford or your Honda with a Massachusetts license plate on the streets of New York overnight certainly won’t be free.
At least that’s the idea behind a proposal to ban overnight parking for out-of-state cars in New York City. Michael Miller, a Queens assemblyman, wants to tow away any cars left on city streets between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. that don’t have a New York license plate.
Because no one from outside New York State ever visits the Big Apple and spends the night, right?
Tourists could be in for a rude awakening when, upon awakening, they find their car is missing. Instead of spending the day at one of New York’s famed museums or attractions, they’ll be navigating the depths of the city’s impound lots and forced to pay at least $185 to get their vehicle back.
Nothing like really getting the local experience, am I right?
But Miller has his reasons for pushing the proposal — and like many nanny state ideas, it all boils down to making sure everyone is paying their tribute to the taxman.
“By registering out-of-state, you are either committing fraud by not registering your vehicle in New York state or you are avoiding paying state Department of Motor Vehicles fees,” he told the New York Post, which reported on the proposal this week.
Miller said his proposal would allow out-of-staters to purchase an “exemption sticker” to protect their vehicles from the city’s predatory tow trucks.
AAA says the policy would be “shortsighted and unfair” because it would prevent some people from coming to New York City and spending the night.
It could also be another blow in a long-simmering conflict between the city and private rental services like AirBnb, which has been banned in the city but continues to operate. Tourists looking to spend the night in The Big Apple will now have an added reason to find a hotel with a parking lot or garage, rather than leaving their car on the street while sleeping in an apartment.
Regardless of the consequences, there are plenty of reasons to dislike the idea that one car is “legal” while another is “illegal” on a public street, based simply on the words and colors printed on a small piece of metal.
For his effort to give out-of-staters another thing to worry about when they visit New York City, Miller is this week’s winner. His prize is a very expensive trip to New York’s dingiest impound lot — under the Bruckner Expressway in a particularly unpleasant corner of the Bronx.