A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 28: Perils of the Urban Curb

July 24th · 4 Comments

At 80th and Lexington, immobilized behind a garbage truck, I drum my fingers on the dashboard and contemplate the cruel irony of the term “parking space.” To park there must be space, and in Manhattan there simply is none.

The last 45 minutes I navigated this loaner car every block from 65th to 85th and from Park Avenue to the East River, twice, craning my neck for a telltale taillight, but no one, anywhere, is leaving, and not a even a small questionable crumb of a spot is left over. Cars are wedged in bumper to bumper, forever.

The worst insult, however, is the giant, luxurious stretches of open curb, found at strategic intervals on every block, like punchlines. This is the Realm of the Fire Hydrant. Put your ride within 15 feet of one and get a $115 ticket.

Upon approaching one sees the space, but not the hydrant. Hope blooms; maybe you are just about to win the parking sweepstakes. Then arrrgh! Another hydrant! Why does this neighborhood need so many fire hydrants? Would a fire really be so bad?

When the ashes cooled, just think of how much parking there would be!

Tags: Sights & Scenes · The Rat Race · Urban Survival · Why I Hate This Town

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Les // Jul 25, 2008 at 12:49 am

    …the parking there can’t be worse than your old neighborhood…

  • 2 Dan // Jul 25, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    No worse than San Francisco, and at least there are cabs and subways to get you around. I love that they still have those signs up.
    One night years ago while looking for parking near a nightclub on the lower west side, we found a long open block that appeared to be available for parking at that moment – at least, that was our translation of the 20 or 30 posted signs all noting different time and day restrictions. A passing traffic control truck was stopped at a light alongside us, and we inquired “can we park here?” The driver kindly answered “you can try.”

  • 3 sam iam // Jul 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    yeah…get a motorcycle. they fit anywhere.

  • 4 sam iam // Jul 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    and boy, do i hate those mind-control signs. “yeah, I’m thinking about it, punk, thinking about parking RIGHT UNDER your crummy little pissant sign. Now what happens? Is Big Brother coming for me?”


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