Where to: learning to drive in NYC
January 29, 2011 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I am learning to drive. I need good places near NYC to practice.

After years of being that annoying person who drinks very little but can't be the designated driver because she doesn't know how to drive, I am finally learning how to drive so I can get an internship (which won't require driving on the streets).

This weekend, my boyfriend and I are driving up (he's doing this part of the driving) to Rockland County so I can practice. Can anyone suggest slightly more local areas (I live in Riverdale, BX) where I can practice? I am still in the phase of really having absolutely no idea what I'm doing in a car so I am looking for places that are basically empty of cars like parking lots early on weekend mornings or office complexes that are similarly empty.

Thank you and watch out for a green Toyota with a nervous person inside (I really wish that the US had the giant red L sign thingie so I could put on in the window to warn people off).
posted by sciencegeek to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cemeteries, which also have the added feature of being relatively snow and ice free on the roadways as they cater to their most common visitor, older people visiting deceased loved ones. Look for the biggest cemeteries on the map.

This was my dad's favorite place to teach and I did the same with my kids, waving at my dad's final resting place as we drove by.
posted by readery at 7:29 AM on January 29, 2011


High school parking lots on weekends. Especially Sundays.
I took both of my kids to the local high school to teach them. Lots of space to do anything. Doubleplusgood for learning a clutch.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:52 AM on January 29, 2011


I learned to drive in the parking lot of Scarsdale's high school.
posted by dfriedman at 8:17 AM on January 29, 2011


Jones Beach, you will find large empty parking lots. and a nice two lane highway with not many cars. This is were my Dad took me when I was learning. Afterwards if it is not too cold you and your boyfriend can take a walk on the beach.
posted by tman99 at 9:10 AM on January 29, 2011


Parking lots, definitely. Though I don't think there will be high school lots all that close to you - maybe Yonkers, though?

The parking lot for the Elizabeth, NJ, Ikea (among other gigantic big box stores) is HUGE and never even close to filled to capacity. Though driving to somewhere like Scarsdale might be closer to you.

Maybe something on the Jersey side of the GWB?
posted by Sara C. at 9:12 AM on January 29, 2011


Scarsdale is definitely closer to Riverdale than Rockland County.
posted by dfriedman at 9:37 AM on January 29, 2011


Once you get beyond the parking lot stage, Riverdale is great. I learned to drive in the North Bronx, its not as bad as many other parts of NYC but still challenging enough to make you a good driver. Believe me I know its nerve-wracking, but you'll thank yourself later. When I got to college, all the suburban types who learned to drive on wide empty streets without lanes were pissing themselves as soon as they had to get anywhere near the city.
posted by tempythethird at 10:55 AM on January 29, 2011


If you're willing to cross the Hudson and go 50 miles north, Bear Mountain State Park, at the top of the Palisades Parkway, has an enormous parking lot that's empty during the winter. Beautiful country.
posted by KRS at 12:42 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lots of great ideas. One thing, I don,t think that I am allowed to drive out of state - so NJ is out.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:04 PM on January 29, 2011


IKEA in Red Hook has a good parking lot for learning to drive - just get there before it opens.
posted by valeries at 3:16 PM on January 29, 2011


Ok, two days of Palisades mall-associated commuter parking lot have happened. No one cried although I did try to herd some seagulls who looked somewhat annoyed. Also, there are some feral cats living by the dumpsters.

Redhook, Jones Beach: less convenient to get to than Rockland County.
Bear Mountain: really far away
NJ: actually possible with an NY learner's permit - there are magical rules involved with this that I need to read carefully.

So far, Scarsdale and local cemeteries are sounding like good ideas.

Now I just need to find out where to take the five hour class.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:58 AM on January 30, 2011


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