Everyone knows driving on the George Washington Bridge can be nerve wracking. There’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, and Big Apple drivers can be insolent and insidious. During the pinnacle peak hour the traffic notoriously backs up several miles in Jersey taking over an hour to go over. The massive GW bridge is literally a steamy double-deck parking lot. It’s complete chaos with a commanding view of the Manhattan skyline and the churning Hudson below, that looks so inviting now.
Traffic was flowing and I was happily on schedule to deliver my Convoy load to Fresh Direct in the Bronx. After passing Vince Lombardi, the flow suddenly slowed down to an agonizing crawl. I tried to cross over so I could enter the main toll plaza in the EZ Pass lane. All of a sudden, my oil pressure needle took a nose dive and my 18 wheeler came to standstill. To my dismay and the angst of others, I wasn’t just blocking one lane, but two. Cars were honking and fussing – causing quite a stir. I met eyes with a mad trucker who yelled obscenities like I did this on purpose and then sideswiped my side-view mirror to teach me a lesson.
I turned on my hazards then calmly got out and added a gallon of motor oil. Switched the key and the ole beast started to crank but it wouldn’t rumble. My starter and alternator seemed fine. Radio Free Brooklyn was blaring and my AC was still pumping out chilled air. More than likely, low oil pressure caused my stall. But it was something more complex that won’t let me get off this bridge.
I called a tow truck company in Hackensack who informed that on the GW Bridge, only the Port Authority can tow me off. It’s the busiest bridge in the world, and they wanted to ensure the operation was conducted smoothly. That’s great – everyone knows that Jersey likes to keep their lanes open. Gov Chris Christie taught them this.
Where would they take me – Fort Lee or over the river to the Big City? Sure enough, within minutes that seemed like eternity, the port authority police showed up to rescue me. They were kind and efficient, and I got the ride of my life right off the double deck suspension bridge. Even though there are 14 lanes ( 7 west, 7 east) on the GWB, I felt terrible about blocking two of them. I got towed to NYC. 178th W and Broadway was an ideal spot to hang and the NYPD wouldn’t harass me here.
The Port Authority surely had saved the day. I then called the towing company back who informed me that it would be several hours before they could send someone. July 4th was around the corner and it was the peak of rush hour. Without a running engine, I had no AC so I had to find a good spot to chill.
If you’re gonna be broken down in this mad city, this is perhaps the best spot to be. Thankfully, NYC had recently entered Phase 2 where battered sidewalks had morphed into outdoor cafes. Since I had just arrived in the blistering Bronx, I was hit with the irresistible aroma of curried goat stew smothered in cilantro . I followed the scent to a counter-service Dominican eatery that offered many meat dishes with a heap of rice and spices. I enjoyed the Oxtail stew with Moro rice at La Casa Del Pollo. A mother sitting at an-appropriately distanced table was enjoying mofongo with pork and plaintains. The meal was thick and heart warming, and now I was ready for an after-meal concoction. New Yorkers appeared to be getting on with their lives, despite the pandemic and economy.
The delay of baseball season definitely made an impact amongst Yankee fans and those who made a living supporting them. Down the street was lively Terravita which offered empanadas, tostones and the creamiest happy hour smoothies. Since I won’t be behind the wheel of my truck, but a passenger in the wrecker, a drink or two would do the trick to calm my nerves. Then amongst the chatter and cheers, of da Bronx, I got a call. The wrecker would soon arrive.
I had two things to accomplish. Deliver the trailer to Fresh Direct. Then tow the bobtail to Truck King in Hunt’s Point, Bronx.
Then came the question of how long I would be stuck in New York City. Would this be a quick down and dirty, or would I be stuck in the shop for an extended repair? Everyone knows this is one of the most expensive cities in the world – not a place to break down in.