(Photo by Ray Johnson)
I had to perform an urgent errand for someone whose Volkswagen needed a current NY State Inspection. Time was of the essence and so I rushed out – for what I thought would be a futile effort – in search of a reliable service center that could “see” the car without an appointment and near closing time. It seems to be the rule that arriving after noon at a service center means an absolutely mandatory visit the next day without even so much as a quick look-see.
Well, not-so at Bay Diagnostic. When I saw the tiara-like letter-cutout sign, I figured I should check it out. I pulled right into the shiny, clean garage port feeling like George Jetson pulling his aerocar into the sterile Spacely Space Sprockets factory.
See what I learned about Bay Diagnostic after the jump.
As I jumped out of the car and into the customer waiting area, I was greeted with smiles by the two owners, Jordan and Allen. I told them that the soon-to-expire car inspection was within days of being a ticketable offense. While I was speaking, one of the men quietly slipped into the garage area to check if there was time, and came back as the other was saying honestly, “I can’t say for sure that we have time to do the inspection, but let’s check.”
They told me that they will have time and can get started right away. I gave permission to go ahead with the job and milliseconds later, the mechanic from inside the garage appeared, politely asking, “Do you have the car key?”
Finding reliable, efficient, honest, trustworthy auto repair service that doesn’t cost you your first-born is practically impossible – everyone in the world (even where they have no cars) knows that! Everything was working out so smoothly that my heart began beating wildly with excitement. Could it be that after years of traipsing all around Brooklyn and Queens (occasionally New Jersey, too), getting references from friends, and researching about all car repairs — yet, still having to pay thousands for doubtful repairs and horrible service — that I had found the hidden treasure right there in my lovely Sheepshead Bay.
Telling myself to take it easy, I took a moment to get my heart rate back to normal, then started the interrogation of the owner. Within minutes, he had explained that he specializes in foreign cars (such as, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo, Saab, Mini Land Rover, and Jaguar), but can absolutely fix your Ford. He explained that the repair shop was originally at Avenue U and Ocean Avenue for close to 23 years and moved to 1717 Gravesend Neck Road (between East 17 and East 18 Streets) about three years ago.
He responded to my comment about how nice it was to be able to sit in such a comfortable and clean waiting area by saying, “I keep my home very clean. I spend more time here than I spend at home, so I keep it just like I do my own home.” It was not just the waiting room that was spic and span, but so was the garage (notice taken that there were no Playboy-style calendars hanging).
He noted that the reason why I didn’t see big, metal chunks of unusable car parts strewn about the work area, is because this type of clutter gets taken away as part of the service shop’s donation to families in need – even welcoming anyone with similar items laying around their yard to bring it in for the pick-up team.
A friendly customer kept me company as I tried to contain myself at the thought of – maybe, possibly – having found my treasure of a service center. The owner willingly obliged to my request to take a few pictures and politely requested that I not step on the chair (I’ll do anything to get you guys a better snapshot angle) for my own good.
The job was done so fast that I didn’t even have time to run to the cash machine, and made up the full amount of $37 for the inspection using a lot of singles and a couple of dollar coins – not that they don’t accept credit cards, just that I had the cash.
The entire transaction, including photography session and conversation, took about 40 minutes. I was so distracted with the thought that this could be a practical joke with me on nationwide TV and everyone laughing and saying, “Can you believe that someone can be such a monkey when they find a good mechanic?”, that I jumped into the car and didn’t even remember to check to see if the new inspection sticker had been put on.
Later, I saw stuck right there on the windshield – proof positive that this Volkswagen and Bay Diagnostics passed inspection with flying colors.
Figuring this could all be just a dream, I couldn’t sleep, lest I wake to some opposite reality. But, I’m tired, and need to sleep. So, when I wake up – please, please, let this dream be true that my search for a truly decent mechanic has ended — right here in Sheepshead Bay.
The owners are professionals and have developed their business with an internet presence and printable coupons. Feel free to check their links to a video interview that one of the owners, Jordan Lee, did for The Auto Channel Aftermarket Business Magazine, as well as a cable TV advertisement.
1717 Gravesend Neck Road
Brooklyn, NY 11229