No. 1: Every middle school in Westchester
Yes, you must get your tween to trumpet lessons, your kid to karate, and your beloved to basketball camp. But guess what? So does everyone else, and they’ve beaten you to the parking lot after school because you thought you had time for a Starbucks run. Hey, don’t blame them—you’re the one who needed a double shot. But why can’t they make these parking lots a little bigger so we don’t have to circle and circle like vultures with dementia. Answer: because that extra space is needed for a fourth soccer field!
No. 2: Jefferson Valley Mall
Actually, we appreciate the wide-open lots at the Jefferson Valley Mall most of the year. Spaces are plentiful; run-ins with fellow shoppers are few—that is, until the holidays. It’s during the post-Thanksgiving blitz that the pavement flows red…and green with stroller-pushing, bag-carrying, parking-spot-seeking beasts who would rather dent their front fenders on the side of your car than let you take their spots. Hey, it’s the only real mall in North County, so we understand—ya heathens!
No. 3: New Roc City
There are plenty of parking spaces here but getting in and out of the parking lot is more frightening than anything playing on the movie screens inside. The ramps are narrow and steep and the turns are blind. Oh, and the parking spots are on some weird M.C. Escher-designed angle that forces you to back up because your car can’t actually cut the corner sharp enough to make it in on the first try. And people seem to pop out from behind cars so quickly that they must have been sent by a tort lawyer looking for a quick buck.
No 4: White Plains Train Station
“Permit Parking Only Until 10 AM!” Is there a more maddening sign in all of Westchester? Yes, we get it: we need to free up space for those unlucky sorts who have to drive, to take the train, to inevitably take the subway, all in order to do…work (you know, when you put it like that, what the heck are you all doing?). But, come on, leave some spaces for the rest of us who just need to catch a lift into the big city before mid-morning. The spaces are empty anyway, so you can imagine our frustration when there are cars in the 10 remaining spots on the roof that have so thoughtfully been set aside for us.
No. 5: Pleasantville
If there ever was a misnomer for a town in Westchester when it comes to parking, this is it. The parking police in this not-so-pleasant ville must be paid by the ticket, and must be paid well, because they are so quick they can ticket you in the time it takes to get from your driver’s seat to the meter. And don’t be fooled: all that on-street parking near the diner and the train station is a trap. It looks so good, but as soon as the meter starts to blink red, you’ll be wishing you had parked in Valhalla and taken Metro-North.
No 6: City Center
You know what makes parking more fun? Speed bumps placed in the parking garage so everyone has to stop after going 20 feet (though this does slow you down from the maximum 10 miles per hour it would be possible to go on a jam-packed 500 foot piece of concrete). But fear not, after you get past the first part of the City Center parking garage obstacle course, you must partake in the meter run—you know, the dash from your car to the pay machine near the entrance before the parking police ticket your car. It’s like a mad video game!
No. 7: Westchester Airport
Yes, we picked on them last year. But guess what? We’re doing it again. (See Andy, this is what happens when you don’t listen.) Get this: You go away on a nice four-day trip, but decide to leave your car at the airport, because, come on, this is the ’burbs—that’s what we do. You come back, and you go to pay what has to be 20 or 30 bucks you owe for parking, right? Wrong! You’d have been better off parking at LaGuardia. LaGuardia! Four days at HPN will run you almost $94. At LGA—$90. And the longer you’re away, the bigger the gap becomes. Oh, but there’s a bus from the White Plains train station you say. Hah! See above.
No. 8: Yonkers piers
We’re ashamed to admit it, but yes, we have sinned. You see, we may have stolen a car once. Granted, it was out of pure necessity, and was, in fact, our own car, but we still feel bad. But we had no choice: it was 30 degrees outside, snowing, and, while we had insouciantly flung our keys to the cheery chap offering to remove from us the burden of parking, now, our keys were at the end of a six-motorist standing traffic jam. So, while the valet was out helping one of the other patrons, we snuck to his podium, snatched our keys, and took off. What? We still left a tip.