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THE AMATEUR PARKER …


ot Day, and Take Our Daughters toWork Day. If only we got all these days off we could really enjoy them.


Awhole slewof days are dedicated to parents: Mother’s Day,


Father’s Day, Parents Day, Grandpar- ents Day and, would you believe, Mother-In-Law Day, of all things. The children get the really good days that are guaranteed to come with gifts, can- dy and costumes, such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter. And it’s not just enough to have a


day anymore – we’ve got whole months devoted to things such as deaf history, alcohol awareness, older Americans, the environment, diversi- ty and breast cancer. But I’m not arguing that these issues do not deserve a month of action, reflection and commemoration. The older I get, the more some


holidays seem worthwhile and others create anxiety instead of enjoyment. I think we all have our own ideas about which holidays are great and which absolutely suck, so I will keep my opinion tomyself, in this instance, and say that the days might be different for everyone, but the pain is the same. Imaginemy surprise to read about PARK(ing) Day – held at


the end of September. I wouldn’t have thought about it myself, but itmakes sense, what with all the other special days out there, that there would also be a day for parking. Instead of a holiday that relives soggy memories of parking days of the past, or vigi- lantly proclaims parking the next endangered species, this one is about having fun andmaking the world a better place. According to www.parkingday.org, “PARK(ing) Day is an


annual, worldwide event that inspires city dwellers everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good. Citizen activists around the globe turn parking spaces into mini-parks for a day to demonstrate the need for more urban green space. The annual event is organized online, but staged offline in dozens of cities on every continent around the world. It’s a demonstration of the power of social media and international collaborative activism…and a great way to have fun and relax.” In addition: “The name ‘PARK(ing) Day’ is a registered


servicemark of Rebar Group. Founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Rebar is an internationally recognized art and design studio oper-


46 NOVEMBER 2010 • PARKING TODAY • www.parkingtoday.com


Happy Parking Day T


BY MELISSA BEAN STERZICK


HERE ARE DAYS FOR EVERY- thing these days. It’s not just Memorial Day anymore – we have Secretary’s Day and Boss’s Day, Earth Day, May Day, National Coming Out Day, Patri-


ating at the intersection of art, design and activism. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat…at least until themeter runs out!” What you do is turn ametered parking spot into a park for as


long as you can get away with it. There are permits to be had, licenses to procure, and even a manual and manifesto to be pur- chased from the founders. Parkingday.org also sells T-shirts and has an interactivemap for parkers to post locations. The first PARK(ing) Day was


held in San Francisco in 2005. Ten rolls of sod, a bench and a potted tree lasted two hours, and then the meter ran out and everybody went home. According to parkingday.org, last year, citizens of the world celebrated the day with 700 mini-parks in 21 countries.This year, the group report- ed, there were first-time parks in Paris, Tehran and Hangzhou, China, to name a few. There were many inci- dents where participants were forced off their spots by aggressive and envi- ous drivers or misguided and con- fused city officials. In general, the holiday was carried out peacefully, the group said. I can only guesswhat PARK(ing)


Day participants did around the world. San Franciscans, growing sus- picious foliage on their spots. Parisians, French-kissing and eating


baguettes. NewYorkers, praying that cab drivers didn’t run them down. In Southern California,we borrowedwater from Colorado to irrigate our PARK(ing) Day landscaping. The idea of turning a parking space into an actual park, how-


ever impermanent, is a good one. For example, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, parking lots in my city are turned into farmers markets.Vendors roll out their awnings and tables and put out the most beautiful produce. The popcorn stand fills the air with a nutty scent, and the strange steel-drum guy provides the backgroundmusic. I go every week. I appreciate the novelty of PARK(ing) Day and have many


ideas about things Iwould do with a parking spot if Iwere to par- ticipate some day.A putting green, lounge chairs and a wading pool, picnic table and industrial-sized trash can.You could even go so far as to hire somebody tomake balloon animals or tell for- tunes.You could dress in formalwear and play the piano, hold a teeny-tiny soccer game, put on a fashion show. In a parking spot. The possibilities aremind-boggling.


Melissa Bean Sterzick is an Amateur Parker and PT’s proofreader. She can be reached at Melissa@parkingtoday.com.


PT


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