By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“Check us out and unzip yourself,” says an ad for the new Brooklyn-based car-sharing service, Carpingo, which launched last week.
“We’re a hometown local service," owner Gil Cygler, a board member of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, told the Brooklyn Eagle. "We’re from Brooklyn, we want to cooperate with the local merchants and the local community.”
Carpingo, which celebrated its launch last week in a ceremony outside Borough Hall, has cars — all 2012 mid-sized domestic and foreign models — in 13 Brooklyn neighborhoods.
Which brings us back to the zip.
“We’re not really taking Zipcar on," Cygler said. "Zipcar is a fine company."
Cygler's father Samuel Cygler founded All Car Rent a Car, a major player in Brooklyn car rentals, in 1979, and Gil joined the business after graduating from the NYU School of Business.
Carpingo, which is based in Park Slope, has 12 offices and a staff of 100. There is some managerial overlap between the two organizations, but there are important differences — you can’t rent a car by the hour from All Car, or other conventional rent-a-car companies.
“The economy is changing; we’re living in a very different world,"Cygler said, explaining why he entered the hourly car-sharing business. "People have iPods, they want things instantaneously.”
Reminded that Hertz, Enterprise and other national companies are also getting into the hourly car-sharing business, Cygler said that "through All-Car, we're already competing with them."
The neighborhoods currently featuring Carpingo garages are Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Fort Greene, Greenpoint, Kensington, Midwood, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Williamsburg.
“In the brownstone neighborhoods, you have much less of a sense of car ownership than in this southern part,” Cygler said. “We also want to tap into the college market.”
Director of Marketing Nathan Isherwood said the number of locations is expanding.
Cygyer grew up in Flatlands, still lives in that neighborhood and graduated from the Yeshivah of Flatbush and NYU. In addition to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, he sits on the executive board of the Brooklyn Chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Jewish Community Center of Canarsie.