Bad Weather Brings Good Parking
By Ben Fractenberg
WEST VILLAGE — There are few things that truly move jaded New Yorkers. Live music plays round-the-clock, sumptuous meals are available for delivery at any hour and cute puppies are a dime a dozen at the local dog run.
The suspension of alternate side parking rules, however, is another story.
For Manhattanites, a string of consecutive days without the parking rules — 10 and counting as of Friday — is like finding the holy grail.
"I was in the same spot for a whole week," said West Village resident Leslie Green, 50. Green has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and said that’s the longest she’s ever been able to stay in one parking space.
The parking rules have been suspended for a total of 26 days since the beginning of the year, according to the Department of Transportation website — an incredible amount, but still not even close to a record.
The rules were once suspended for 62 straight days in 1978, according to the New York Times. That reported record was due to the combination of bad weather and street sweepers breaking down.
But New Yorkers — and commuters to the city — were plenty pleased with the run they had going this year.
Anthony Ferrari, 53, said he drives from central New Jersey to the West Village during the week. He normally pays $80 a week to park his truck in a garage, but because of the suspensions, he's been able to park on the street.
"I’ve been getting lucky," said Ferrari. "The spots over here are at a premium."
NoLIta resident Quin Murphy, 34, said he was also benefiting from the suspension of the rules.
"I had to stop in TriBeCa and there was a spot I normally wouldn’t be able to get," Murphy said.
The spot was full of snow, which had dissuaded lesser would-be parkers, but Murphy said he couldn’t let the opportunity go and he had barreled his car into the spot.
Blair Bauer, 36, said alternate street parking suspensions have made her a more daring driver.
"It's easier to park in a snow bank and not have to worry about moving your car," said Bauer. "You don't have to worry about getting up in the morning to move your car, as long as you can fit in any nook and cranny."
But some said they couldn’t fully enjoy the newfound parking perks because they were so fed up with the weather and the attending lack of city services.
One Chelsea resident, who would only give her first name, Marilyn, said she moved her car after the second big storm because the plows buried her vehicle in snow. Then came the ice storm.
"Now I'm in a spot where I can't move it."
Marilyn said she'll have to get an icepick to help free her car.
Brooklyn resident Sandy Tran, 32, who regularly drives into the West Village to visit her father, said she was tired of dealing with the elements.
"They need to clean the snow," said Tran, 32. "Parking doesn’t make up for it."
One West Village resident, Charlie (he did not want to share his last name), said he had learned an important parking lesson after leaving his apartment following the first big storm only to find his car buried under a mountain of snow.
"I learned you don’t park on the right side, because that’s where the plows tilt their plow," he said.
While on-street parking may have its hassles, one Upper West resident warned that parking in a garage brings its own problems.
"I didn't get a car until I was 57," said Peter Serritella, 71. "All the money I saved is now going to the garage."