Friday, February 01, 2008

New York City - You're Welcome!

In January, I fucked up!

I got 4 parking tickets. That is a record for me.

It is not as frustrating as the month where a truck or similarly wide-bodied assailant knocked off my driver's side, side-view mirror and then I got TWO tickets for "missing equipment" sandwiched around a trip to a mechanic who kept forgetting to order the replacement mirror.

It is more frustrating than the time I went on vacation with my car parked legally for the six days I was away only to return to find the car towed a few blocks away to a new spot (a parade that wasn't posted anywhere sprung up on Graham Ave. and necessitated involuntary car-movings) on a street with street-cleaning scheduled before I got back. I explained my position in the email complaint field of the nyc parking ticket site and my ticket got blown away.

It is also not completely undeserved. For one of my tickets, I alternate side of the street parked for the three hours that the Thursday side was illegal (11am - 2pm) and didn't get down to move my car until 2:03pm. Those three minutes cost me $115 for double-parking. I appreciated the discipline of the parking ticket writer who noted that s/he wrote the ticket at 2:01. I imagine her standing there at 1:59, looking up and down the block and savoring the feeling of impending municipal revenue generation.

For another ticket, I parked 12-14 feet from a hydrant. I thought to myself: I think you have to be over 10 feet away from a hydrant to be legally parked. That was for another $115.

In my old neighborhood I used to park at the corner of Manhattan and Withers, right between the actual corner and a hydrant about 25 feet from the corner. My car was never more than 10 feet away and I never got a ticket. Standards for tickets change in different neighborhoods. In Williamsburg, where it is easier to park, they support your shady, subjective calculations. In Carroll Gardens where I live now, they are trying to make my mind melt out of my ears.

My last two tickets were of the smaller more reasonable 45 dollar amount - both for being in the way of the weekly street cleaning in my neighborhood. The thing that makes these tickets so special is that I got them because I had no other option. If you wait until 1am to park in my neighborhood, you will literally find nothing for a 15 block radius. As it is, I usually have to drive over to the fringe of Red Hook to find a spot if it's in any way late.

These 45ers were incurred because I literally didn't know where to go to find a spot once I'd passed the 1am time limit for reasonable parking. So I parked in illegal spots down streets I hoped the parking ticket police would not travel. Sometimes I get away with these illegal spots and sometimes I do not. In January, I did not.

There used to be a block of Columbia Street in Redhook where someone had knocked down the sign telling you illegal times to park. But The Man put the sign back up. I would like one day to be the kind of guy who both knows how to knock down signs and get away with it. Do I need a blowtorch? Jackhammer? Or just more natural strength?

Anyway - in February I've turned over a new leaf. No new tickets. Last night I went two blocks further into Red Hook to where I found a legal spot. It took me 22 minutes to walk back to my apartment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that PVB is 1 big racket!!!at this point, i say they are abusing and harrassing the public, and we have no one to protect us. they can do what they want and if we dont pay they mess with our credit reports so forth. that is total abuse and harassment in my eyes!!!!!when and how do we fight back????

5:42 AM  

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