A Car Lost in Brooklyn
December 4, 2011 4:28 PM   Subscribe

A friend who is in the midst of a serious study cram moved his car in Brooklyn and now cannot find it. Can anyone think of a way to go about finding it?

The car is an older car that would be easy to spot from a distance. Things we have tried so far:
- Riding around the general area on bikes trying to find it.
- Talking to the local police precinct (no help whatsoever)
- Calling 311
- Checking the impound lots to see if it had been towed
Any help would be appreciated. He would have a hard time paying any fines that he would be charged, so the sooner we found ti the better.
posted by quine's_gavagai to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How do you know that it wasn't stolen? Some older models are much easier to steal and a thief might've been tempted.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:31 PM on December 4, 2011

If you plug his license plate into the NYC online payment system, you can search for parking tickets or towed vehicles (or other violations). It should tell you the approximate location of your most recent ticket if there is one.
posted by argonauta at 4:34 PM on December 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

A shot in the dark, but did he do any sort of geotagged activity around the time he parked it? Did he just happen to take a picture of something before or after parking it that would have a geotag?

Does he remember where it was originally parked before he moved it? Maybe starting there would lead one in a logical route. In other words, was it a one-way street, so you know he went in Direction A, at which point he could only turn down routes B, C or D.

Does he remember anything from the walk back that would give any guidance?

Outsource: find some local kids, and pay them $5 bucks to look for it, and offer $20 if they find it?
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 4:44 PM on December 4, 2011

When something similar happened to my brother, he finally consulted a psychic. He found the car right away. Sounds ridiculous, I know!
posted by coolsara at 4:46 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Has there been construction, filming or any other kind of street closure in the area that he parked in since he last used the car? It may have been moved to a nearby street by the city if so.

This happened to me in DC last year, and my car was moved to a block that I never park on - I would have assumed it was stolen if a friend hadn't mentioned this possibility.
posted by ryanshepard at 4:58 PM on December 4, 2011

Your car will get a parking ticket after a week or less because of alternate side parking. Use the payment site above and you will find it. (put in the lic plate number)
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:00 PM on December 4, 2011

Ask him how far he walked after parking the car.

Whatever time he gives you, double it.

Get Google Maps out, and draw a circle around the destination. The radius of the circle is 4 mph times the time he spent walking to the destination.

Now, the car is either inside this circle, or not. But now you can search more thoroughly, because you can focus on it in a comprehensive, block-by-block manner.

If you don't find it this way, it was towed or stolen.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:51 PM on December 4, 2011 [15 favorites]

From experience you may have to wait up to 24 hours before anyone can tell you it was towed. There was an...incident...with our car back when we lived in the city and it was towed but everyone involved including the police though it was stolen until the next day when it showed up on the on-line tow-report system.
posted by Captain_Science at 5:56 PM on December 4, 2011

Why did he move the car? Can you check his credit/debit card statements and see if it jogs his memory, perhaps something like "Oh crap, I forgot I moved my car back to _____ station because I needed to buy a coffee at the bodega on that street". Receipts in his pockets?

Was this an instance of "I forget where I parked but it should be around here", or "I know I parked here and now cannot find my car"?
posted by amicamentis at 6:40 PM on December 4, 2011

Seconding that it can take some time for a towed car in NYC to get put into the system. In my one experience it took about 6 hours until someone could confirm my car was towed and tell me where it was.
posted by HabeasCorpus at 7:29 PM on December 4, 2011

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