By Alyssa Pinsker
I’ve lived in New York almost all my life. Most new transplants to the city revel in not needing a car to get around. But as a city person, for me it is the opposite: I delight in the treat of owning one. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark makes it easier than ever to step out of the big-city-no-vehicle mindset and embrace car ownership. Not only is it easy to park, but maneuvering through city traffic is a breeze. Here are the top 11 reasons why having a car in the city rocks:
1.Street cred. Most newcomers to the city don’t have cars, but native New Yorkers who live in the five boroughs, including Manhattan, do.
2. Live like a local. Not being dependent on public transit means you can live in some great places in the city that might not be right next to a subway station. Location, location, location? When renting, you can consider apartments in places in true outer boroughs, which are beautiful, green and considerably much less in rent. Marine Park? Fresh Meadows? No problem.
3. Brunch across town? The infamous Park Slope to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, commute takes 45 minutes and dips into Manhattan and back. Meet your friends in 15 minutes on the BQE gliding across your streets of choice. Ditto the commute from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side (or vice versa), where there’s no crosstown subway.
4. Impress your dates—or your friends—by actually “picking them up.” In the Big Apple, this phrase usually means to meet a pal on foot and walk to public transit together. Pick up a date in your Spark and they'll think you'd brought them flowers. Give friends a lift and they may send you thank you notes for weeks!
5. You don’t have to ship your flea market finds and other large shopping purchases. Take home your goodies and save yourself an exorbitant fee. No ferries, cabs or rides needed.
6. Taxis are only a bit cheaper than “car services” here. The next time you take a car service, ask the rate. I know I'd pay about one-fifth of the quoted price—including gas—if I took the wheel as my own luxury driver.
7. Choose from more work and school location options. Your commute will often be half the time. And if there's traffic? See below.
8. Traffic is a valid excuse for lateness, or a break to meditate, listen to books on tape and not have to people watch on the subway. Sometimes people-watching takes its toll, and commuting in our own comfy space sounds divine: Latte at our side, speakerphone on, music playing. Take the scenic route.
9. Take a weekend trip upstate, or see your friends and family back in your hometown. Whether you visit some old pals hours away or are able to drive home in the case of emergency, you can do that easily and bring all your goods, including your pet, with you.
10. Travel more frequently with your loved ones. The fun of a road trip with up to four friends and their luggage far outweighs the hassle of planes and trains. And playing, "I Spy" identifying farm animals is a nice break from life in skyscrapers.
11. Bring your MP3s and have a blast with a road trip to the beach or cross-country! You can’t blast your music on a plane or train.
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Alyssa Pinsker is a writer and driver currently living in New York City who has lived and loved in three continents and 30 countries. She has written features and reviews for The Huffington Post, Time Out New York, New York Magazine, New York Post, New York Daily News and more. She is currently at work on a memoir called Girl Gone Global. Follow her on Twitter @Girl_GoneGlobal.