Monday, September 04, 2006


The street in front of the studio building is a wide market street allowing end in parking on the opposite side. The surrounding blocks are largely empty of residents or businesses, as they have been for decades. Right across Spring Garden is a giant Mayan inspired brick pile: a printing plant abandoned for many years. There was a windowless '59 El Dorado hard top smashed in it's loading dock, with printer frames scattered around and chunks of spalled concrete like a set from the Planet of The Apes T.V. show. But we had PARKING, then. Everywhere. At any hour one could drive up to our building and park right in front, or at least in sight of, the door - Rock Star Parking; just like on Starsky and Hutch. You'd empty your car of change, CDs, gloves, jackets, umbrellas, and visible packs of chewing gum, then race across the crack vial littered asphalt moonscape to the spider webb shattered laminated glass lobby doors, and safety. Days were planned to ensure departure before darkness or with another inmate standing sentry between the proud limestone columns of the porticoed entrance. Recently, the printer's has been repurposed as city offices and some sort of tax payer subsidized job training center for folks supposedly poor and disenfranchised enough to need a boost, but who somehow manage to drive cars nicer than any I've ever owned. They've taken all the parking spaces.

Additionally, the surrounding fields, once closely covered with three story brick row houses but for over twenty years luxuriously vacant and overgrown, are being redeveloped as luxury condominiums. The floor plans verge on disfunctional,
the elevations flat and cheaply detailed, yet they will sell. The project is dubbed "Spring Arts Place" in honor of the painters, sculptors and wood workers it is driving away. Ground will be broken in October. Typically in such cases, a chain link stockade is raised around the site, enclosing sidewalks and the parking lane for the construction's duration. The exclusion zones do not seem to facilitate construction, but rather provide spots for the construction workers' New Jersey tagged F150's, Durangos and Escalades. No provisions are made for displaced pedestrians, let alone the battered Honda Civics, Toyota pickups and ancient primer gray painted Volvo station wagons of grievously inconvenienced art industry laborers.

We are well skilled at squeezing cars in to spots scarcely larger than the hoopties we drive, but must now further hone our parallel parking chops to meet the pressures of increasingly diminishing supply. As good at it as I am (and I'm awfully good) I don't think I'll be in the parking scrum as before. The eight turns of the wheel bumper kissing maneuvers executed with the former car just won't do with the new (to me) near-luxury-segment-kinda-nice-and-not-all-fucked-up-yet albino leopard. I'll need to exercise considerable restraint.
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