I love nothing more than a good police drama. My favorite episodes are the ones when a politician or local celebrity goes along for a ride in the squad car.
So being the passive non-thrill seeker I am, I'm going to take this concept down a notch. Instead of a ride-along, I'm going on a walk-along with some of Scarsdale's bravest employees: the parking enforcement officers. After all, I need to be at school for pick-up at 3 p.m. then help with homework and attend the Little League game tonight, so this is about all I can handle.
Actually, since my offers have been rebuffed, I'll merely watch the officers, stealth-like from a distance.
I 'm a bit disappointed my company is not wanted. Come on guys, I was going to buy lunch!
After sizing up the force I realize it has grown since my days as a commuter only two short years ago. I recall a couple of officers I knew well. Both were kind gentlemen who always seemed a little shocked when I said "good morning" or "hello" to them.
You all should try it sometime. Conversing with one of these fine fellows startles them like you just pulled a weapon!
Luckily, they carry guns too -- laser guns! They slide into a cool holster and can be quickly drawn to scan your registration in seconds. These guys have the fastest hands east of the Mississippi! They can issue a ticket in less then 15 seconds. I guess if push came to shove, they could also blind someone with their laser.
How cool would that have been? One of them could have apprehended the La Dentelliere thieves by blinding them with his parking ticket laser!
Also, there seem to be no female officers, or meter maids if you will. They're all meter men. I like the sound of that, because it reminds me of the hit television show Mad Men. Just with not as good-looking of a cast.
The village seems to be really enforcing the parking meters around downtown. The local merchants feel this actually hurts business. I personally look at the quarter as a 25-cent insurance policy against a $20 ticket. The traffic police are also great at issuing a summons to remind you to get your car inspected, or to renew your registration. In Scarsdale the tickets seem to be issued at random.
Over in Eastchester, the parking enforcement officers cruise by the gyms toward the end of each class like clockwork. I think they even download the Equinox schedule to know when those 90-minute classes are ending!
But there's nothing more amusing than seeing someone in an $80,000 SUV arguing with the parking officer about a ticket. It sometimes escalates to name-calling and even some emotional nose-to-nose yelling, like an angry baseball manager and an umpire after a bad call.
As steep as a village parking ticket may be, it's a mere pittance compared to the long-term parking Scarsdale has to offer. A yearly pass for the Freightway garage is now $840. If you don't want to mingle with the commoners you can purchase an annual spot in the swanky Christie Place garage for $1,250. I'm not sure, but I think that also comes with a weekly tune-up and car wash.
The cars parked daily in this garage make it look like storage for the yearly Scarsdale Concours d'Elegance. It must be nice.
Jack Miller, local humorist and architect, writes a weekly Friday column, that features his observations on life in Scarsdale, the realities of the recession, and general musings from behind the apron strings as a new-to-homemaking dad.