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Old 10-03-2012, 01:05 AM   #1
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The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in NYC

Hello friends,
I'm currently looking to build a van where I can work and live in the city with the most expensive rent on the planet: New York.

Do you have any advice on a van choice for this idea? I was thinking about a white Chevy cargo van. Possibly the extended version.

The stealth factor would be the most important, so this eliminates the penthouse roof, and may eliminate the fixed high top as well.

This also eliminates aluminess bumpers/cargo boxes, extra windows, even the "sportmobile" logo etc...

So from the outside, this is going to be a very boring looking van.

Any thoughts, comments, experiences on this would be much appreciated.
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:20 AM   #2
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

my first thought would be to
see what is a real common work truck/van
that is everywhere in the city

i might even go so far as to have
a po box address and vm to go
with logo outside the van

HOWEVER not something that would indicate
tools or equipment inside

maybe a discreet laundry pu van
infectious waste products

plain, a bit beat up, no hubcaps
empty, broken ladder racks

maybe even a box van.....
sprinters too new, but dont know if they are common there
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:39 AM   #3
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

If you add a phone number outside the van, just make sure that when someone calls it they don't hear it ringing inside the van at 2 a.m. That might tip them off!

For living space, a box van or Ford extended van would be the best, as they are the most common things I've seen in NYC. Parking would be an issue with both, though, especially the box van. Also, be prepared for the crisis scenario of your van being hooked up to a Parking Authority tow-truck in the middle of the night with you in it!
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

Actually, it's legal to live in an RV on the streets in NYC.

In my neighborhood, the now-chi chi, but once scruffy Village, we always have a few van-dwellers, at this moment there is one in an old high-top, another in a home-build Chateau, and another in a stealthy old Dodge. I know he's there cause I see him every day when I walk the dog, but it looks very much just like an old van.

Better to have no insignia because it's actually not as cool to park commercial vehicles on the street, believe it or not. We have people in rental Class-C's come by for a week or so, Sprinters, you name it, even the occasional Class-A.

There's a guy on the lower east side in an ancient Dodge Motorhome with a white picket fence on the front bumper that says "Free Willie." He has been living there for years. Anyway, it's not a huge deal if you keep to yourself and don't urinate on the sidewalk.

NYC has tons of Fords, Dodges, etc. Seeing a larger number of GMC and Chevy vans lately, too, but that could be in my head.

Anyway, look me up if you make it here. I'll show you some nice places you can park. That's really the ticket - where you park. You can live in a very nice neighborhood, no problem.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

Be aware that the parkways in NY have specific rules about which vehicles can use them. GVW can define use even with out of state plates as I recently found out. I drove a dodge diesel 2500 from Boston and needed to get to Howard Beach and the transit officer at the Throgs Neck bridge checked my registration to get the GVW to calculate the toll and told me I was commercial so stay off the parkways. Had to drive on city streets to get where I was going. To be non commercial in the past a van had to have side windows.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

get the penthouse top but don't put it up
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:32 PM   #7
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
get the penthouse top but don't put it up
I think a window van with blacked out windows would be the most discreet.

Also, check our Colorado camper van. Adding a pop top to a raised roof would allow better headroom while in the city, while still looking like a generic wheelchair van. An SMB-style pop-top would be a good giveaway that its a camper.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:02 PM   #8
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

Quote:
Originally Posted by yfarm
Be aware that the parkways in NY have specific rules about which vehicles can use them. GVW can define use even with out of state plates as I recently found out. I drove a dodge diesel 2500 from Boston and needed to get to Howard Beach and the transit officer at the Throgs Neck bridge checked my registration to get the GVW to calculate the toll and told me I was commercial so stay off the parkways. Had to drive on city streets to get where I was going. To be non commercial in the past a van had to have side windows.
Huh, that's good to know! We often transit the NYC area en route to New England, but have only made one trip up there so far with the SMB. Our Ford EB E250 2WD is tagged as a motor home, though, so I wonder if that would matter.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

Quote:
Originally Posted by yfarm
Be aware that the parkways in NY have specific rules about which vehicles can use them. GVW can define use even with out of state plates as I recently found out. I drove a dodge diesel 2500 from Boston and needed to get to Howard Beach and the transit officer at the Throgs Neck bridge checked my registration to get the GVW to calculate the toll and told me I was commercial so stay off the parkways. Had to drive on city streets to get where I was going. To be non commercial in the past a van had to have side windows.
So what is the max GVW you can have and still drive on the parkways? There's also the height clearance issues for driving on parkways. On Long Island it's a constant headache with trucks hitting low over passes on parkways.

I've been thinking about this stealth living in nyc, I'm thinking the biggest issue would be where are you going to fill up your water tank?
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: The most stealthy van choice for a very extended stay in

Water, dump station and facilities not far off, near Liberty State Park. You'll lose an hour each way doing it.

http://www.libertyharborrv.com/

Water you can probably get easily in Manhattan. For dumping, you'll have to travel.
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