Thursday, September 6, 2007

The West Side's Most Elusive Creature

The opera singer Beverly Sills once said, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Some people may think she was pontificating about how to achieve a successful life through hard work and determination. I think she was talking about finding a parking space on the Upper West side of Manhattan. Now that school is back in session, all of my favorite parking haunts have been stolen. I am exaggerating – it’s actually not bad at all. The most I have ever spent looking for parking is 20 minutes, and, knock on wood, that will be a rare occurrence and I will go back to my five-minute parking search which has up until now always ended with me finding a primo spot.

These parking posts are quite elusive, I find them and they always manage to be a little too small, or a little close to a fire hydrant, or just a smidge into the cross-walk. Given how diligently the police patrol my neighborhood (when in my opinion they really need to be spending their time in parts of the city that really need heavy patrols rather than having their cushy jobs giving people like me tickets for making turns where I am supposed to magically know that turns are illegal despite the fact that there is no posting), I am weary of any parking that doesn’t seem absolutely 100% perfect.

The other real kickers are these crazies looking for parking spaces on the UWS. Yesterday I actually encountered a woman who was STANDING in a parking spot waiting for her friend to come by and park there. Unbelievable. I considered forcing her to leave and give me the spot but she looked like the spiteful type who may key my car the second I walked away. (Not really, but that was the only way I could console myself for letting her take a spot that really should have been mine.

Then there are the people who continually make a right on red, despite the fact that you can’t do that in NYC, all to steal a spot from someone respectfully waiting at the light. At moments like these I say to myself, “that person’s karma has just hit an iceberg.”

I’ve been trying the theory of positive thinking a la the Oprah-recommended book, The Secret. I imagine in my mind a perfectly sized, legal spot right outside my building. I’m not imagining hard enough. I will have to work on that in the coming weeks.

I’ve got a fabulous weekend lined up – I am going to devise a parking space strategy. There are all kinds of different parking hours on the UWS. Some spaces you can’t be in between 7 and 4 on school days. Some don’t allow you to park there between 8am and 6pm. And the list goes on and on. I haven’t found a website that gives details of these parking rules yet – heaven forbid the city government give you that info – it would inhibit the police from giving you tickets that I imagine rack up quite a bit of funds. So I am going to make a list, and come up with a search strategy based upon what time I arrive back in the city.

Sounds like I’m a crazy person right? Though if I consider that it will probably take me about an hour’s walk on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to get all the information on parking in my neighborhood, compared to the 20 minutes per night it may be taking me to find parking everyday, it doesn’t seem so crazy after all. I’m sure that perfect spot is out there waiting for me...

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