January 20, 2022 By Floyd Gripman

I Heart NY

Over a 45-year career selling tires, New York City was part of my sales territory several times. The first few trips to NYC, customers included J.C. Penney in Manhattan and a large wholesale tire dealer in Brooklyn that bought private brands. To work with them, I would fly into Newark Airport and take a cab into the city via the Lincoln Tunnel.

Later, when my responsibility included all of the state of New York, I frequently had to drive to the customers’ locations. There were a few customers in Manhattan or the Bronx, but our largest customers were on Long Island. Based on previous experience, I had learned to avoid driving though the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. From the south, I accessed Long Island via either the Outerbridge Crossing or Goethals Bridge to Staten Island and then via the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Queens to the Shore Parkway and Southern Parkway. These were relatively stress-free drives past JFK International Airport to Long Island.

If traveling to Long Island from northern New Jersey, my choice was to take the Washington Bridge to the Whitestone or Throgs Neck Bridge. Both connected to the Cross Island Parkway, which circled the outer edge of the Bronx and connected to the Long Island Expressway. Thus, avoiding much of the congested part of the Bronx.

On one trip, I had urgent calls for customers in Lyndhurst, NJ, and then to a customer in Islip on Long Island. According to my shiny new GPS, the shortest route by far was via the Lincoln Tunnel. I decided to trust my newest travel assistant. Unfortunately, at the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel, the turn recommended by my GPS was blocked by a police car. I soon found myself maneuvering between delivery trucks, speeding taxis, and tourists gawking at high rise buildings in mid-town Manhattan. I was very happy to have this shiny new GPS to help me find my way out of this terrifying situation. After being directed to several turns, I came to the panic-stricken realization that I was back where I started. The high-rise buildings of Manhattan were blocking satellite communication with my GPS, and I was driving in circles. Much to my surprise, I finally found my way to my Islip Long Island destination. And only an hour late. And to this day, I have no idea how I got there.


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