Sunday, 18 May 2014


For one New Yorker, the journey to the Pearly Gates involved a detour to the city’s car pound.

The New York City Police Department towed an illegally parked van carrying a body. The van, parked outside Redden’s Funeral Home on West 14th Street, was to transport the body to Newark for a flight.

But according to the New York Daily News, Paul DeNigris, the funeral director, said he went inside the funeral home to get paperwork and answer a phone call. When he returned, the van was gone — along with the body that was in a white cardboard box, the newspaper said.

“I was just a wreck,” he told the newspaper. “I was frantic. When something like that happens, you go into panic mode.

The corpse was finally rescued after 90 undignified minutes in Manhattan's most miserable locale, trapped amid scofflaws and irate out-of-towners.

DeNigris had parked his silver 2002 Dodge in a "No Parking Anytime" zone outside the funeral home. The body, in a white cardboard box, was headed for Newark Airport and a flight to Miami for cremation.

A funeral van carrying a body was towed from Redden's Funeral Home on West 14th Street. (SMITH FOR NEWS)

DeNigris said he stepped inside to pick up some paperwork, took a phone call, and returned to find ... nothing.

"The car was just gone," he said yesterday.

The NYPD said the van was ticketed at 9:22 a.m. - and then towed nearly three hours later, at 12:07 p.m.

"There was nothing to indicate it was more than just an illegally parked car," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

The terrified DeNigris was at the pound within minutes, explaining his improbable plight and showing his funeral home paperwork.

"I tried not to be too loud," he recounted. "I didn't want to scream, 'I'm the guy from the funeral home with the car with the person in the back.'


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