2005-08-17 / Book Review

Book Review

by linda j. wilson


The Feder Guide To Where To Park Your Car In Manhattan (And Where Not To Park It!) Downtown Edition by Erik Feder, Rhythmo Productions, Long Beach, New York, 2005; 416 pp.; $17.95.

We usually review books by Queens authors, but we’ve made an exception for The Feder Guide To Where To Park Your Car In Manhattan (And Where Not To Park It!) . Scores of our readers drive into Manhattan every day and we’re sure this book will prove invaluable. Although the Downtown edition of Where To Park Your Car In Manhattan covers only 30th Street to Battery Park, more editions covering more of Manhattan are in preparation and we hope that author Erik Feder will extend his efforts to other boroughs, especially Queens.

Erik Feder for many years was a freelance video editor and a drummer/percussionist, working and performing all over the island of Manhattan. Taking a short break from the windowless room where he was working on one particular video editing job, he went out to the street. As he tells it, “I was out there for about a minute when I noticed a traffic cop walking up the street along a row of parked cars and slapping parking tickets—bam, bam, bam—on each one. In about three minutes I saw five parking tickets were given out. At that time this added up to $275—now it would be $575!”

Someone should write a book listing street parking regulations so that people could plan ahead and have a better understanding of where they could and couldn't park, Feder thought. He wrote The Feder Guide to Where to Park Your Car in Manhattan (and Where Not to Park It!) after collecting his share of parking tickets and having his car towed on several occasions and doing extensive research to find out that no such book existed. Where to Park Your Car in Manhattan was conceived, researched, compiled, designed and edited solely and entirely by Feder, who also designed the cover and created the Web site. He taught himself the software programs to complete most of the design and layout work from his office on Long Island.

Where to Park Your Car in Manhattan divides Downtown Manhattan from 30th Street to Battery Park into three segments, Downtown West from West 30th Street to White Street, Downtown East from East 30th Street to White Street and Downtown South from White Street to Battery Park. Every parking regulation on every street sign is listed, from 30th Street on the North all the way south to Battery Park; from the East River on the east across Manhattan to the Hudson River on the west. The guide also contains information for more than 150 parking facilities in the same area of Manhattan, hints to help find the best and worst places to park a vehicle in Downtown Manhattan, tips on what to do if a vehicle is towed or ticketed and easy-to-read street maps of Manhattan broken down into sections.

Black strips running down the sides of each page of the book help readers identify which chapter of the book they are reading. With a quick glance at the strips, a reader can easily locate a desired section of Downtown Manhattan. For example, the strip down the left side of page 240 reads “East 30th Street-White Street” in reverse lettering; the strip on the right side of page 241 reads “Downtown East Street Regulations” On each of the two pages are listed streets in the area bounded by East 30th and White Streets. Canal Street between Bowery and Chrystie Street has no standing any time on north and south sides of the block. Other segments of Canal Street have two-hour metered parking; Where to Park Your Car specifies where and at what times these regulations are in effect. Each of the sections containing street parking regulations begins with a street map.

Where to Park Your Car in Manhattan begins with an introduction that gives helpful hints on issues like parking meters and reading street signs, offers tips for what to do if a car is missing, towed or ticketed and lists Manhattan street parking violations and their accompanying fines.

The Street Parking Regulations section of the book lists the actual parking regulations for every street in Downtown Manhattan listed as the east, west, north or south side of a given street. Streets that run north to south or south to north list the parking regulations governing the East and west sides of the street; streets running east to west or west to east list the parking regulations governing the north and south sides. Some streets have many regulations on them and some regulations may apply to only part of that street. If a regulation is listed under a given street, at least some part of that street will be governed by that regulation.

Parking regulations that specify when and for how long a truck or commercial vehicle may park while loading and unloading that pertain to trucks and commercial vehicles are also included in this guide.

Smiley faces and frowney faces are found at various points in the book. “A smiley face next to a street listing indicates that at least some part of this street is a very good place to park your car because it is legal to park there at least 20 hours a day. Smiley faces most often are found on streets that have alternate side of the street parking regulations. These are usually designated so that on the north or west sides of the street it is legal to park a car on all days except for a listed duration of time (two to three hours) on Mondays and Thursdays. On the south and east sides of streets that have alternate side of the street parking regulations it is usually legal to park a car on all days except for a listed duration of time (two to three hours) on Tuesdays and Fridays. If timed right, these spaces can be good for two to three days at a time,” Feder explains.

He adds: “A frowney face next to a street listing indicates that this street is a bad place to park. These usually are found when both sides of a given street are regulated by ‘No parking anytime’ or ‘No standing anytime’ signs. Therefore, a frowney face on a given street means you should never park on that street.” While frowneys indicate that cars shouldn’t park in a given area, in some cases trucks and commercial vehicles may still be able to load and unload in these areas.

At certain times it is legal to park on a street that carries neither a smiley nor frowney face indicator, but there are substantial amounts of time where it is not legal to park on that particular street, so use caution. Such streets, while potential places to park, probably should not be considered for very long periods of time, and rarely overnight.

More than 150 parking facilities in Downtown Manhattan are listed in the Parking Garage section of the book, also grouped into Downtown West, Downtown East and Downtown South sections. Locations, contact information including phone numbers, rates and hours of operation for each parking garage are listed.

Research for Where To Park Your Car In Manhattan began in 2001; a major part of this research involved driving on every street in Manhattan and notating the street parking regulations on each sign. Numerous spot-checks and revisions are a regular part of the ongoing research that provides the up-to-date information for this book. It can be accessed at www.federguide.com, where the book can also be ordered.

This next edition of Where to Park Your Car in Manhattan will cover the entire width of Manhattan from the West Side to the East Side, starting at 30th Street and going up to and including 124th Street. It is scheduled to be published this fall. Feder plans to publish similar guides for other cities in the United States and possibly for others abroad.

Where to Park Your Car is a must-have for anyone who drives in Manhattan. With continual updating through the Internet eliminating the need to constantly purchase updated print copies an added attraction, the book will remain useful and practical for many years to come. Feder has performed a great public service with this book. We can only hope he will, as he says, publish the guide for the rest of Manhattan and then survey parking regulations for the rest of the city. Drivers throughout the five boroughs will bless his name.

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