Friday, March 30, 2007



While I was enjoying my free parking spot yesterday, the Mayor’s aides were no doubt directing his attention to a piece on the Times Op-Ed page by Donald Shoup, the professor of parking studies at U.C.L.A. O Times, how could you? What Shoup says makes so much sense that I don’t dare repeat it here. Once the Mayor gets wind of Shoupism, it could put an end to alternate-side parking culture forever.

Let me say right up front that I feel guilty as hell for having a car in New York City. I don’t need it, it takes up valuable real estate, it pollutes the environment, and I squander hours a week either sitting in the car or plotting where to sit in the car next. But I can’t help it. I need the car to get out of the city; I adore occupying valuable real estate; I’m not the worst polluter around (the car is, after all, a Honda, and I don’t drive it to work in Times Square); and I’ve spent some very happy hours daydreaming in it.

Once, when I was still fresh in New York, my brother and I were in the back seat of a car driven by a man whom a friend of our older brother had met in a Learning Annex cooking class. In short, he was not our kind. The car was not a Cadillac, but neither was it a Hyundai. As we cruised down Macdougal Street, looking for a parking spot, he took a sudden right into a parking garage, and we lunged forward and screamed, “No! Not in there!” as if he were driving into the mouth of Hell. The horror!

Maybe it’s inbred. (Would a Gypsy pay for parking? I don’t think so.) Shoup cites George Constanza, of “Seinfeld,” who said, “My father never paid for parking, my mother, my brother, nobody. It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?”

Makes sense to me.

Since the Mayor's terrible error in not suspending alternate-side parking when there was a winter storm, he has seemed really afraid of offending the parking public. He was suspending alternate-side right and left, east and west, if there was so much as a flurry. We can only hope that he didn't read the paper yesterday.

No comments: