It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood – Department of Parking Furniture


It’s been snowing so much lately that, with today’s onslaught, every time I look out the window I just start laughing. Up and down the street I can see that some of our neighbors have already driven off, their neatly cleared spaces set with parking furniture.

Only when I saw articles in the national media talking about parking furniture as a Chicago oddity did I understand that everywhere else, this is not a thing. Apparently in no other place do people routinely clear their parking spaces and then reserve them with personal possessions.

Really? You people in the rest of the world, do you not understand how smart this is? Only the most heartless bureaucrat would fail to see the underlying human issue here: I cleared that space – as long as there is snow on the ground, my labor confers possession on me. Steal my space, and you steal my miserable bone-chilling labor.

These days I may be a disinterested observer, with dedicated parking, but I still support these emotional rights.

In the City That Works, parking furniture is the castoff that works. Children’s outgrown plastic picnic tables, big buckets,  baby strollers without wheels, torn suitcases, dead box fans, cracked trash cans, ingenious arrangements of lumber and rope, broom handles, bricks, patio tables, hard-used mops with gray swollen heads, chairs that all have one thing in common: that look of who gives a damn, set it out in the street. The most fun piece of parking furniture I saw this weekend was a plastic front-porch Santa, lying on his back, his face anxious, working that post-holiday gig.

Of all the placeholders I’ve looked at this season, these chairs, photographed last night, are my favorite. If only there were a filing cabinet.

BTW, friends in far-flung places getting ready to message me about your sandals and short shorts: all this is worth it to live here.

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2 Responses to It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood – Department of Parking Furniture

  1. Dominic says:

    A couple cinder blocks stood on end holding a sign saying: “PARK HERE AND FIND THESE HAVE GONE THRU YOUR WINDSHIELD”

  2. Chester Kaczynski says:

    Re: parking furniture. I’m not sure if things have changed, but when I was young the 1967 snowstorm turned Chicago into Tombstone. There were no snowblowers, you plowed your parking space out by muscle n blood, skin and bones. Throw it on the parkway? Puhleeze! You couldn’t bc it was already piled so high with snow you had no choice but to discreetly distribute it in the street throughout like dirt from The Great Escape. But, once accomplished you staked that claim like a gold mine. Who’d a thunk shoveling a 6 x 18 spot would be such a task, but was it ever. So, I get it. And whoa be the stranger that DARED park there glibly proclaiming ‘public domain’. Well, Public domain my ass. Where I lived if you parked in a marked spot you could rest assured that car would be piled with snow, topped off with garden hose water and by morning be coated like an ice-igloo with a SIGN on it . Yes, stealing a claimed spot brought out THE UNFORGIVEN in most, and more, everyone understood it. It was actually a pleasure watching offenders chip away at their ice entombed vehicles. The moral of the story was… Let a dibbed spot be. People remember. Today’s problem is likened to knowing the protocol for breaking down the dibbed spot… Similar to knowing its time to turn the damn Christmas lights off.

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