Ten minutes. What's up with that? I think that it took me longer to walk there and back.
I decided that it was high time that I surrendered my Massachusetts driver's license in favor of one from the Empire State. I went through the rigmarole of getting my Social Security card reissued (I must have had one before this, I have a Social Security number after all, but I've never seen an actual card in my name before last week.) Prior to Monday, I would have said that the Social Security Administration's Brooklyn office had the market cornered on efficient bureaucracy, but you, NYS DMV, have got them beat hands down.
I await the results of your institutional photography skills.
I went prepared for a long wait. Indeed, when I stepped inside I noticed a few poor souls perched on those light-wood benches in the middle of the room. I walked up to desk number one (the desk where your paperwork gets a cursory review for completeness, and you get directed to the correct line), and I was told to go see the guy at the camera immediately--where there was no line. The camera guy quickly looked at my documents, made some scribbles in a red marker pen, and took my photograph (I hope that my hair was okay). He then gave me a printed receipt with a number, and told me to sit on a bench and wait for my number to be called.
"Ah, ha!" I said. Here's the wait. How much knitting am I going to get done? What's blinking on the board up there...K42. What does my ticket say? K42. Hey, that's me! I was summoned to window 16 without a chance to sit down.
At window 16 I was relieved of $45; my passport, Social Security card, and Massachusetts license were all scrutinized for authenticity. More scribbles were made on my application form. Stamps were used. Getting a driver's license is a serious business these days. I remember when my 16-and-a-half-year-old self showed up at the RMV (it's a "Registry" in Massachusetts, compared with a "Department" in New York) with little more than a copy of my birth certificate and some form that got stamped by the registry cop who administered my driving test. When I officially moved to Rhode Island in 1997, all that I needed was my valid Massachusetts license. When I moved back to Massachusetts, the RMV simply took my Rhode Island license and reissued my yet-to-have-expired old license (yeah, that was some good record keeping there--move to another state and they forgot to cancel my file.) Heck, I applied for my passport with less documentation than what I needed to show yesterday morning.
Anyway, I was done at window 16 in about five minutes. The entire transaction took (and I am not making this up) less than 10 minutes. I left with a paper receipt, a temporary license, and a promise that the real license would arrive in my mailbox within two to four weeks.
So obviously, I am one of a select few eligible to operate a motor vehicle under the flag of New York State. And I don't even own a car! If I did, though, I am disappointed to report that this registration is already taken: