Parking Postcards, NYC

If you live in Manhattan, own a car and can barely afford a parking-spot sized space for your head much less for your car---then you most often enjoy a bi-weekly ritual that some people might only refer to as the 'Street Cleaning parking shuffle' or 'Musical Chairs for Cars.'

That is, two times a week you wrest your head from your twin bed in your tiny studio, grab a coffee and maybe the paper, and sit in your car and wait, keys in the initiation.  It’s one of the two-hour time slots each week when NYC Dept of Streets and Sanitation is scheduled to clean the street where you manage to regularly park your car. You and your other fellow street-parkers will wait until the street cleaner is about to pass you by and pull out, slaloming your car into the space left empty by the car directly in front of you.  All the while, you must fend off the parking sharks double-parked on the opposite side of the street, waiting to snatch up your current spot or your dedicated, soon-to-be spot.  If precisely orchestrated and if executed aggressively, each driver manages to avoid the dreadful process of finding a replacement spot.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case—it is NY after all.

A friend sent me this email last week, detailing this exact misfortune:


so this morning I was up at 9:30, talking to a couple of guys who were parked in front and behind me, mostly on my iPod.

the street cleaner comes, and I pull into a driveway, and this taxi driver steals of one of three spots, and I get fucked, as I’m the only one without a spot. one of the guys start yelling at the Taxi guy, telling him it’s not nice what he did, and all of them actually pull up from their spots, purposely blocking the taxi guy from fully getting into his(my) old spot. The guy won't leave, and my car is stuck in the driveway. And he won't get out, cause he thinks we're gonna kick his ass, and we're at a standstill for like 15 mins, before I talk to him through a cracked window for a while, and he agrees to pull out only if I take the spot behind the guys, not my old spot. So I drive in reverse, parallel park when everyone moves up, then after the taxi guy leaves, they all move back to their spots, and I to mine(why we didn't just stay in our spots I don't know) while one guy barks orders calling me chino and telling everyone to reverse and parallel park in the street , all the we're blocking the entire street cause the other side is already double parked. And that my dear is the inefficiency of our this city.

Parking just shouldn’t be this fatiguing.