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Best of New York Services 2004

Best Auto Repair

  • Parkway Collision

    Brooklyn, 212-586-7700 or 718-972-7700

    Body Work is the kind of business Tony Soprano might invest in (bada-bing!) and the rest of us hope to avoid. Body shops are located in the worst industrial ghettos (want to drive out to Hunt's Point, then count transvestite hookers on the bus ride back?). And once they have your car, it's either held hostage ("We're waiting on a part, bub!") or, even worse, comes back looking just slightly off. How beautiful is my beloved year-old, dinglessly pristine, navy-blue, beige leather E320 Mercedes wagon? I've heard Ralph Lauren drives its twin. One dark December night, some fiend ran into my Benzo, briefly parked in Noho. The craven hit-and-runner smashed a taillight and the metal around it and fled. Horrified by the gash, I called my man at Mercedes, Kevin Fox, who knows a fine Sancerre, to see if he also knew a fine body shop. My car had to be perfect again. It had to be. "Call Parkway Collision in Brooklyn," Kevin advised. "Fine work, quick, fair prices, and, best of all, concierge service." Brian, one of the owners, said he'd be right over. He wasn't kidding: fifteen New York minutes. I planned to drive to Pittsburgh for Christmas in a few days, and the broken taillight would make the car trooper bait, even at legal speeds. Brian assured me he'd get it back in time and drove it away. The day of our trip, Brian arrived in a Tour de France bicycling outfit looking like Woody Allen playing Lance Armstrong; in the back of the car was his fold-up Kestrel carbon-fiber racing bike. The car was unfinished, but it did have legal taillights. Discovering that I'm a writer, he asked if I'd look over a speech he'd written about a student-essay contest that his company sponsors in Brooklyn: "If I Could Be a Part of a Car, What Would I Be . . . " Winners each get a $50 savings bond. "Thinking about being a car part, they begin to see their part in the community," he said. We made it to Pittsburgh with no trouble (on the way, my 2-year-old decided that if he were a car part, he'd be a horn). The day we got home, Brian took the car back, and a few days later he returned it. It was once again in gleaming, pristine condition. Until two weeks later, when a neighbor who parks poorly crunched it. He freaked at the $400 estimate Parkway provided from e-mailed pictures of the damage (another brilliant service) but realized it was fair after shopping around. Brian biked over, and in a few days the Mercedes was perfect yet again-and the tab was $25 below the estimate. In New York! This morning I found another gouge. I'm going to ask Brian where he got that bike. It's probably the one Ralph rides. óGlenn O'Brien

From the 2003 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine