Sunday, January 6, 2008


I experienced something of an epiphany today, the Feast of the Epiphany: The revocation of parking permits, even though I don't have one, is going to affect me profoundly. Already one person whose parking permit's days are numbered has asked my advice as she contemplates joining the ranks of the Alternate Side Parkers. So I am going to suffer from the inevitable trickle-down of these permits' being revoked: more competition for my space.

For whom the bell tolls, indeed.

When I first started this blog, almost exactly a year ago, I had some idea that people would be curious enough to try to find out where my favorite blocks are by studying the clues—no way I was going to tell. I have been very careful to keep the clues vague: lots of blocks in Manhattan have a hotel on the corner or a view of a skyscraper, or a barbershop and a Chinese laundry, or are within walking distance of a river. But it seemed to me glaringly true that there was zero interest in this game. So I thought it wouldn't matter if I got a little careless. Then I thought, Nah. Good thing.

My best hope is that having had a permit will spoil these people for the alternate-side routine, the way keeping your car in a garage would spoil you for parking on the street. If it happened that I got crowded out of the city (and it will, it will), I'd probably park in Rockaway. My car is in such bad shape right now that the woman who sold it to me, who used to let me park in her driveway, has said outright, "I don't want to see it." I figure I'd have to pay at least $100 a month (the lowest I've found in the city is $275 a month, and that's only if you pass the Morgue) and commute to my car by A train.

I can imagine that if you didn't have a car in the city, you couldn't work up much sympathy for someone who does and who is losing her parking privileges. But just because a person lives in Manhattan doesn't mean she's not American, and that she doesn't think of having a car as an inalienable right: the pursuit of happiness. It's hard not to take these things personally. The Times ran a piece yesterday: Pairing Down Parking Permits, and Raising a Fuss. It also published the definitive clip-and-save version of the Alternate Side Parking Calendar. (You have to go to this page and look for the place to click on the calendar; I attempted to copy and paste, as a reader service, but somehow I got last year's calendar, which would have been a disaster.)

On the plus side, the Smart car has now come to New York, the little Fortwo that you can park à Romano: perpendicular in a parallel parking place. Somebody really ought to write a song about it, along the lines of "Funiculi Funicula": Parking, Parking, Who will win the race? Parking, parking, Smart car finds a space! We park it here, We park it there, We park it long, we park it SQUARE...Joy is everywhere, we park it here, we park it there.


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