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Welcome To The Unhinged Madness Of Street Parking In New York City

Low-key street parking in much more sedate Marine Park out at the end of Brooklyn
Low-key street parking in much more sedate Marine Park out at the end of Brooklyn
Photo: Raphael Orlove

You might think that street parking in New York City is terrible, and that it should be fixed. Haha. Rookie mistake. It being bad is actually good.


At least that’s the logic in a new piece that The New York Times ran today about proposed resident-only parking in upper Manhattan. The idea is to save parking spaces for locals rather than out-of-towners trying to dodge paying for parking farther down in the borough. Before weighing in on whether or not that’s a good idea, you need to hear about how much everyone has lost their minds.

The proposals drew criticism from nonresidents like Oscar Lopez, 28, who drove his white BMW with New Jersey plates off the George Washington Bridge on Tuesday and immediately began looking for parking. “This is a public street, and if I spend an hour looking for a parking space, I have just as much right as anyone to have it,” he said.

Other drivers opposed what they saw as an effort by the city to regulate parking. Kevin Sacco, 66, a commercial artist in Morningside Heights who had parked in the neighborhood Tuesday, said that securing parking spots was a vital part of New Yorkers’ hustle, and government should not get involved.


Yes, yes. It’s not sisyphean labor endlessly circling your block for hours each dreary morning, cursing under your breath that you were late for work an hour ago, hallucinating that you saw a spot open up a minute ago. It’s hustle.

It’s fairer to say that hunting for street parking is something of a hobby for the underemployed. Go to the Upper West Side on an alternate side day and you’ll see the entire neighborhood break into a mad scramble, which is how I think most of the residents stay entertained.

The Times also cited a retired 73-year-old professor who mostly lives out of state who was happy to explain what it really means to be a New Yorker and how this is all necessary:

“I know some people feel that New Yorkers have more of a right to New York City parking spaces,” he said. “But New York thrives by having people who drive into the city to work, too.”


I myself am anti resident-only parking, as it doesn’t really fix the whole root of the problem. (Borough Park, for instance, is a pain in the ass to street park in but has nothing to do with out-of-town commuters.) Moreover, I’m the kind of moron who has also duped himself into thinking that this is good, this is a kind of punishment that I endured and everyone else should suffer through as well.

Read through the whole NYT piece, it’s a good one, and welcome the madness.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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David E. Davis

Welcome To The Unhinged Madness Of Street Parking In New York City

Welcome to the joys of trying to park in South Philly after a snowstorm.Do you guys have parking chairs too?