I’m stuck in Tel Aviv right now (more on that later) and, despite all that’s going on, one thing sticks out to me. The cars here look awful. Like they’ve clearly seen some shit. It’s almost impressive, really.
Coming from my normal home base of New York City, this really shouldn’t blow me away. After all, New York is notorious for doling out some serious punishment on cars, whether it’s traffic, bad weather, over-salting, shitty roads, or a combination of all those factors. You’ve seen these cars. I’ve even posted some. They’re survivors, to be sure, but exactly what they’ve survived makes their resilience all the more exceptional.
Tel Aviv, meanwhile, has a mild-to-hot climate, relatively well-kept roads (at least in comparison with other cities around here), and no snow. But the cars here somehow look even worse. There might not be as much rust around here as you’d see in Brooklyn or the Bronx, but nearly every car on the street looks like it’s been in a knife fight. The “Camry dent” isn’t model-specific here. Some cars are afflicted with a rash of faded and scratched off bumper stickers ranging from animal rights slogans to veritable racial slurs, and those that aren’t have seen the wind and dust take away precious layers of clear coat and color.
Now, my exposure is limited. I’m staying with my sister in Florentin, a neighborhood in the gratified, less prosperous, more bohemian southern part of town and we’re not really allowed to leave the 100 meter radius around our apartment right now. In fancier northern Tel Aviv I’m sure people keep their Kia Picantos and Toyota Yarises in much better shape. But until then, these are the cars I’ve got to look at. They’re not pretty, but they do tell a story, and I’ll have more to share with you later as the lockdown goes on.
Meanwhile, which city do you think treats its cars the worst? New York and Tel Aviv are two contenders that I know well enough to bring to you, but I’m sure plenty of you out there have seen your fair share of vehicles brought to their knees by an unloving and callous cityscape. Paris, for example, or maybe somewhere else somewhat less well-known. Let us know about other cities that abuse their automobiles in the comments below, and don’t forget pictures. We have to be able to see just what these cities dish out, after all.