28 October 2013

Parking Purgatory

I live in Astoria, which is about as close as you can get to Manhattan without being in it.  Here, there are people who own private houses but not cars.  That arrangement may be unique, at least in New York City (if not the United States) to Astoria and, perhaps, parts of neighboring Long Island City and Sunnyside.

Some of those homeowners rent their driveways to Manhattanites.  Some condo and co-op owners do likewise with their parking spaces. Some Manhattan drivers pay more per month for those parking spots than I paid for my first apartment in New York!

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised:  After all, real estate of any sort is in short supply, and therefore expensive, in the Big Apple.  And New York drivers have long complained about the difficulty of finding parking spots:  Indeed, I've heard some claim that in Hell or Purgatory, one is resigned to wander the streets of this city in pursuit of unavailable places to leave one's vehicle.

As a cyclist, I used to feel so fortunate to be spared from such ordeals.  Note that I said "used to."  These days, I sometimes have as much difficulty finding space on a parking meter, signpost or other immobile object--never mind a bike rack--to lock up my ride as any benighted motorist has in finding a place to leave his or her wheels.

I admit that, as someone who's had bikes stolen and damaged, I am fairly picky about where I park and lock.  If I attach my bike to a meter or post, I prefer not to use the side closer to the curb:  On more than one occasion, I've returned to my locked-up bike only to find that a motorist backed his or her rear wheels on the sidewalk and left me with a "New York Pretzel"--and I'm not talking about those snacks you can buy from a sidewalk cart!

I know that some parking lots allow bikes to park for a fee:  In fact, I've used a couple of them.  But could the day come when homeowners in my neighborhood rent out their spaces to Manhattan cyclists?  And will such spaces cost more than I now pay for my dwelling?



  1. I feel your pain! There are some sections of my town with similar bike parking shortages. I think it is fantastic that so many other people are cycling too, but I wish they'd park somewhere else!


  2. Accordion: I feel the way you do: I'm glad to see so many more cyclists, but I still long for the days when I could easily find parking!

    I have added your blog to my list. Thanks!