What does it take to get a New York driver’s license? I wouldn’t recommend looking at the DMV website to find out.
It’s like they’re trying to weed people out. First, don’t follow the Google map directions to the Manhattan office. It will take you to an AT&T store in the Flat Iron District, where there is no DMV, a helpful building security officer told me on Friday. He told me the office is now in Herald Square. What, were there no offices available for rent in the eighth circle of hell? They had to settle for Herald Square?
So I get to the Herald Square location on Monday before 4 p.m. on a weekday, as required. I hand over my paperwork, which I downloaded and filled out. “Social Security card?” the guy asks. “I brought my passport, I said handing it over. “No passport. Social Security Card. Come back tomorrow.” Even though the website clearly says, Social Security card OR valid passport. Of course I’ll just “come back tomorrow,” because it’s so easy to get somewhere before 4 p.m. on a Tuesday, right?
I get there at 3:47 on Tuesday. Hand over my paperwork, Social Security card and Washington driver’s license.
“Passport?” the lady asks me.
For F***s sake!
Luckily, I came prepared with anything they could possibly ask for. I handed over my passport – what do they do if you don’t have a passport? Anyway …
I smile for my picture. She writes something on my application and hands me my papers back with a number. B282. I look at the red numbers on the wall. We’re on B224. It’s gonna be a while.
When my number is called, I go see another gentleman whose wife is expecting, I gathered based on the conversation he was having with the DMV employee next to him while I waited. Again, I was asked for my ID, Social Security card and passport. Again, I handed them over. Finally, I’m handed a temporary driver’s license. The real thing should come in two weeks.
As I left the office, a guy was getting off the elevator. He tried the office doors. Locked. “They close at 4:00, not 5:00?” he asked me. I gave a sympathetic nod. “It took me three tries to get mine,” I told him.
I’m a journalist, content strategist, doting auntie, amateur bobsledder, fitness enthusiast, and wannabe health nut (who loves chocolate and pizza too much to fully commit). I don't want you to think my life is perfect. It's not.