Parking Enforcement: "a conspiracy against the laity, going back to, you know, medieval times."

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What's he gonna do with all that junk in his trunk?

Sometimes I think parking enforcement in Washington, D.C. is awful. And then I'm reminded of New York. Via The New York Post, the true tale of a man whose book-filled, duct-taped Honda has been parked at the same Upper West Side location for 11 years:

Eleven years ago, Charles Mysak snagged a primo parking spot on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 68th Street—and he hasn't budged since.

The sidewalk bookseller keeps his inventory piled up in the beat up green '94 Civic, held partially together with duct tape, and feeds the meter $36 a day—in quarters—to hold on to the spot.

Traffic agents paper him with parking tickets for overstaying his welcome, and he's even been towed once or twice, but the defiant Mysak, 60, continues to hold on to the spot he first claimed during the Clinton administration.

Mysak tells Jalopnik that "As far as I'm concerned, most parking enforcement actions are predatory in nature: they're anti-business, anti-commerce, and by definition, anti-New York." He gets along with most street cleaners just fine. The parking cops, not so much:

His relationship with the NYPD Parking Enforcement squad, however, is a little more strained. "I pulled up to a burrito box… While my wife was in the car, a marshal pulls up, boxes her in, calls the tow truck, and holds us up for around $700. We eventually paid, but it's the principle of the damn thing."

More here. The New York Times profiled the Playboy-selling, Mencken-quoting Mysak back in 2005. 

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  1. He’s like the perfect Libertarian presidential candidate: fooking nuts.

    1. You’re allowed to say “fucking” here. This is a libertarian site.

  2. New York City is a shithole.

    Period; the end.

    1. I enjoy visiting NYC. And I enjoy leaving it at the end of each visit.

    2. Having lived in New York City for a decade and continue having an apartment there I can assure you that it is not. It is a surprisingly livable and vibrant place with very low crime rates.

      1. The entire city? Admit it, you’re with the Chamber of Commerce.

        In Chicago, it was pretty clear that they intentionally underreported crime by defining away certain unreported or unwitnessed crimes as noncrimes. Even though they know that most crimes fall into those buckets.

        1. Lived and worked in Manhattan so I’ll say that at least that Island — 3/4 of it at any rate — is a pretty decent place to live….

    3. New York City is one of the few places in the United States (and probably one of the few places in the world) where one can go out at any time of the day or night and find something to do without having to go very far. That is incredibly appealing, and I would take advantage of it were my entire life not tied to Boston.

      What other places can claim this? Hong Kong and Tokyo off the top of my head. Where else? Is this true of Moscow or London?

      1. I have to admit, other shittiness aside, being able to pickup food at 2am does have a certain appeal to it. Then again, I have a kitchen in my house. Laundry machines too.

        1. squarooticus, Huey Lewis made the same observation and from what I’ve seen, I believe ’em.

        2. I’ve done 2am food runs in Las Vegas, Denver, and Miami.

      2. Geeeez, I don’t even have to leave my digs to find something to do.

        Same with food; I try to shop no more than once a week (I hate shopping) but plan for 2 or more weeks in advance.

        That way I always have a choice of what to eat.

        Mind you, when good company graces my abode we pig out and order in.

        One must, after all, have one’s priorities right.

      3. Yeah, well, I live in NYC currently and I agree with P Brooks. This place is a fucking shithole.

      4. It all depends on what you like to do. I live in NYC, and I don’t feel that way at all. If I could live in the mountains of Wyoming, I would have something to do every day: hiking, climbing, rafting, gliding, whatever.

        In NYC, however, I have almost absolutely nothing to do. I hate all nightclubs and most bars. When there is something I might ordinarily be interested in, it’ll usually not be worth it because of severe overcrowding. (For instance, the Big Lebowski cast Q&A on Monday. Ugh.)

        Aside from my primary reason for living here — work — the only benefit to me personally is the food selection, but now that I’ve traveled around a bit, I’m not even that thrilled with it.

  3. How is he getting towed but still retaining his spot? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

    1. It’s a one-hour meter. After he gets the car back, he just brings it back to the spot and waits for someone playing by the rules to leave.

      1. Then this story is misleading. I was expecting continuous occupation. I feel cheated. I am also ignoring the actual point of the article.

        1. I don’t know what the “actual point of the article” is. Someone please tell me how this is supposed to make me feel.

          1. how this is supposed to make me feel.

            Confused and conflicted.

  4. Eleven years ago, Charles Mysak snagged a primo parking spot on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 68th Street — and he hasn’t budged since.

    I confess to being mildly curious as to the mechanics of this, but not nearly enough to click on a Post link.

  5. Q: Why are people in NYC so pissed off all the time?

    A: You would be too if the light at the end of the tunnel was New Jersey.

    1. Ok, what’s the deal with New Yorkers and New Jersey jokes? As a non-NYC resident (I know, it’s hard to believe) I really don’t give a shit about some stupid rivalry between two states that I… well, don’t give a shit about. Yet almost every New Yorker I’ve ever met outside of New York insists on telling Jersey Jokes as though everyone they interact with is a) from NYC and b) cares.

      I don’t fly to New York and tell about of Chicago Southside jokes, so why must these people insist on imposing their local humor on the rest of the country?

      1. Impose? Seriously?
        Then you assume I’m from New York?

        Take some mede, Dude.

        Wow.

        1. Nothing against you. This joke was entirely appropriate. NYC article, I would expect a Jersey joke. I’m speaking generally here. But this raises another question.

          If you’re not from New York, why are you telling Jersey jokes?

          I’ve come to the conclusion that someone who tells a Jersey joke is either:
          a) From New York and wants you to know they’re from New York
          b) Not from New York but wants you to think they’re from New York

          In either case, it looks a lot like narcissism to me.

          1. Or maybe I heard the joke, thought it was funny, remembered it, and pass it along when I think it’s appropriate.

            Though I could see what you mean. I have a coworker who manages to mention she’s from NYC whenever possible, as if we’re supposed to be impressed.

            1. well, she’s probably a heroic 9/11 survivor.

            2. I have a coworker who manages to mention she’s from NYC whenever possible, as if we’re supposed to be impressed.

              Every person I’ve ever met from New York does this.

              1. How can you confirm this? Just curious, because I live in NYC and travel as far and often as possible, and I have never, ever met anyone from NYC in another country. Most people I meet in NYC seem to think that it’s the best place on earth and would never agree to leave.

                1. She says she grew up there and claims to visit family there. Comes back with pictures. I have no reason not to believe her.

          2. Now if I say “What do two gay guys do on their second date? What second date?” do you think I’m telling you this because I want you to think I’m gay?
            Or if I say “A baby seal walks into a club. BAM!” do you think I’m telling you this because I want you to think I’m Inuit?
            If I ask “If a man speaks in a forest, and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?” do you think I want you to think I’m a woman?

            Seriously dude.

            1. Now if I say “What do two gay guys do on their second date? What second date?” do you think I’m telling you this because I want you to think I’m gay?

              No because gay jokes are funny everywhere (that one’s a good one btw). Jersey jokes are only funny in New York when told by New Yorkers to New Yorkers because they reinforce the cultural boundary between NYC and NJ. They doesn’t make sense outside of that context, but for some reason New Yorkers tend to think they do.

              Or if I say “A baby seal walks into a club. BAM!” do you think I’m telling you this because I want you to think I’m Inuit?
              No, but by my logic you might be using it to state your position on environmentalism.

              “If a man speaks in a forest, and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?” do you think I want you to think I’m a woman?
              No, because this joke serves to reinforce the difference between masculine and feminine, which is applicable everywhere. What I’m saying, is somebody telling a Jersey joke outside of the NYC, to a non-NYC person would be like telling this joke to an asexual alien who doesn’t understand the concept of sex.

              1. Maybe there have been enough television programs set in NYC, and enough New Yorkers spread across the country, that New York humor can be understood by people who aren’t from there.

                1. Well, speaking for myself, I understand that New Yorkers don’t like people from Jersey (ironically because of all the Jersey jokes I hear). I get that, but it doesn’t make the joke funny to me.

                  I also understand that the English don’t like the Scotts. I understand that, but just because I understand it doesn’t make it funny to me either (because I’m not English or Scottish, nor have I ever lived there).

                  A joke is only funny to the extent that people can relate to it. Any comedians on here care to back me up? My point is that Jersey jokes only relate to people from New York and Jersey, and therefore are not funny to everyone else, but for some reason New Yorkers (or people who wish they were New Yorkers) tend to think otherwise.

                  1. ChicagoSucks, I do stand up but sadly can’t back you up here. For many years, I could have- Jersey jokes were basically the province of people from the states that bordered it talking about what a shit hole Jersey was.

                    But now, we have an entire television genre telling us how shitty Jersey is. Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Housewives of New Jersey etc. So, I think at this point, many more people can relate to New Jersey because they go, “Ha! Jersey! That place on TV where everyone is a boozed up Italian American with a fake tan and takes steroids!”

                    Similarly, if they started to run 5-6 shows about how bad the Southside of Chicago is, I think jokes from there would go mainstream.

                    1. That’s fair. Maybe I’m just that out of touch with pop culture.

          3. I am from Philly PA and we tell plenty of Jersey jokes. The state is after all, a joke.

          4. I’m not from New York, but I’ve been to New Jersey. I fucking hate New Jersey (mostly because of their exits though, which dump you in the middle of somewhere you don’t want to be and won’t let you back on the freeway).

        2. Take some mede? As in Persian? Are you suggesting that he procure an Iranian prostitute? What do you mean?

          1. Maybe he meant mead. Inspires men to great valor in combat and feats of creative ingenuity.

            1. Something not quite manly about fermented honey, regardless of how many Renaissance festival fans drink it.

              1. Mead is manly if you collected the honey yourself.

                If you bought it, not so much.

              2. I generally agree, however I would never question the manliness of a giant viking, donning a dozen dead animals and carrying a 6′ broadsword. For all I care, he could be sipping an appletini.

              3. Something not quite manly about fermented honey, regardless because of how many Renaissance festival fans drink it.

      2. Ok, what’s the deal with New Yorkers and New Jersey jokes?

        It makes them feel superior. Like when libertarians tell Arkansas jokes.

        1. Arkansas is no New Jersey.

      3. stupid rivalry between two states

        Wait…New York and New Jersey are in different states?!?!?

        What the fuck?!?!

    2. Hahaha

  6. when im back in town this fall, im gonna buy a book fm this guy.

  7. Well, those guys really seem to know what they are talking about . Wow.

    http://www.total-anon.at.tc

  8. “As far as I’m concerned, most parking enforcement actions are predatory in nature: they’re anti-business, anti-commerce, and by definition, anti-New York [anti-life].”

    Fixed it.

    Now he’s an objectivist!

    1. Bloomberg has The Anti-Life Equation?

      BLOOMBERG IS.

    2. And if roads were privatly owned would there be indefinite free parking everywhere? Doubt it.

      1. Did you miss where he pays $36/day for the spot? Its the hour limit that’s netting him the tickets.

  9. “By feeding the meter all day, he knows he’s violating section 4-08(h) of the traffic rules, but says those laws are an ‘infringement of his freedom’ and that the city’s enforcement is ‘Draconian.'”

    Last I checked, he didn’t own the parking spot. The owner of the spot, in this case the city, can set up whatever rules they’d like. If the metered spots were owned by a private company, like they are in Chicago, they would do the exact same thing.

    1. Here’s the problem: the city for political reasons cannot and will not price the spots at market value. Ideally, the price for parking spots would be set such that there was at all times at least one space free. But the city can’t do this, so instead of using market rates to deal with the scarcity problem they ration by imposing limits on how long you can park there.

      Why, you may ask, not eliminate the time restrictions and just price the spots appropriately? The answer is that this is infeasible politically because poor people could not afford the $25/hour spots near Wall Street would charge. But that answer looks at only the downside for poor people: what is left unsaid is that they would be able to park on the many, many nearly-empty streets in Manhattan all day for weeks at a time without having to pay much, if anything.

      1. Poor people don’t drive to Manhattan and park. Heck, poor people in Manhattan don’t have a car, period. Politically it’s not an issue because most of the parking spots in the city are taken up by relatively well off people that own cars or B&Ters; that don’t have a vote.

        1. Sorry, by “poor” I mean exactly those people who can’t afford to live in Manhattan and own a car: that is, people who would be middle class anywhere else.

          1. *cough* Queensites *cough*

      2. poor people could not afford the $25/hour spots near Wall Street would charge

        What are those losers doing in a decent part of town? Probably up to no good, terrystop those poor bastards!

        1. What are those losers doing in a decent part of town?
          Shining shoes?

    2. Wouldn’t a private company like a guy who puts in the maximum amount of money each day? Otherwise, the spot might be empty once in a while and produce less revenue.

  10. Meh, you guys are all dicks.

  11. This story raises a question for me:

    How the hell does he make enough money off of that pile of second-hand books to live anywhere, much less NYC?

    1. No idea. Also that $36/day is about $13,000/year just in parking meter fees.

    2. He probably has a rent-controlled apartment he’s lived in since 19-godonlyknows.

    3. Second hand book stores spend way more then 36$ a day for rent…

      And their location probably is less optimal then his for foot traffic.

      1. If he were selling pirated ebooks he wouldn’t need a car or a parking space. Wouldn’t that be the ideal anarcho-libertarian solution?

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