I’m fine keeping the past in the past when things are moving forward. However, because it’s come up a few times in the past couple of weeks, I want to address the misconceptions people have about my views on parking. It’s been something that makes it into a lot of posts as a nudge or a punchline that has really never been explained.
It all really started when I said the parking situation at Dinosaur BBQ was “atrocious” and when I re-emphasized this in a summary paragraph at the end of the write-up. 81 comments and an old man puking on the floor at the All Over Albany 3rd Anniversary Party later, there’s still a lot of confusion over my criticism of the parking there or anywhere.
I wasn’t born yesterday. I understand that, unless there are acres of private property surrounding a restaurant, parking may be limited. My thing about Dinosaur was that the parking situation there is just silly. If your lot is full at 3:30PM on a Tuesday, it doesn’t bode well for a busier time when people will be taking their families to eat and when people will be looking to enjoy happy hour specials. It was brought to my attention that the Uncle Sam parking lot that’s somewhat adjacent but quite a distance away is open to the public after 5 PM, and that’s one of those, “Fair enough” things. If I don’t know that, which I didn’t, (and I visited Downtown Troy quite a bit as a graduate student), how is the family of five driving from Rotterdam to sample the greatest BBQ </sarcasm> ever conceived going to know that?
So after you circle the only lot you’re sure you can park in for a while, you realize nobody’s exiting the restaurant (because the service is slow) and you drive under the Green Island bridge to the area by Brown’s. Many of the parking spaces there have signs that indicate your car will be towed if you are not there for the offices that are nearby. How is anyone supposed to know those spaces are safe after 5pm? Maybe a few signs around Dinosaur’s parking lot indicating that there are additional parking options nearby could help alleviate frustrations. (Also, having consistent food would help too, and is probably more important, but I digress)
Enough about Dinosaur BBQ.
I had an email exchange with someone that indicated to me that he’s under the impression that if the parking isn’t ample, I will not enjoy a place. This couldn’t be any less true. The example I’ll mention is The Wine Bar on Lark. Parking to eat there is literally the most frustrating thing to me. The blocks surrounding the restaurant are always full when the restaurant is open, and it’s usually prudent for me to park a few blocks away (like near Bombers, where the parking seems to be categorically less frustrating) and walking. Any frustration experienced by the parking at a place like this is immediately redeemed by the quality of the experience. Some things are worth the trouble, and that’s the point.
I’d like to think I’ve calmed down a lot when it comes to parking. I mean, just a few weeks ago, during a trip to Cheesecake Machismo, I encountered the most frustrating parking situation of my life. People were double parked in front of viable spaces and the cars that were legally parked were not at all parked in any kind of orderly fashion. I wound up having to circle the block and try again a bit farther away, and I wasn’t even phased. I just wanted my damn cheesecake, which I knew was going to be great.
I know a lot of this sounds like someone who’s used to the rural areas where the parking is ample no matter where you go, and that’s what I am, and so are a bunch of other people who are curious to try something. That’s why I mention it in cases where it’s important. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ll go anywhere, try just about anything (except cauliflower), and I’m not afraid to mention when I think the experience isn’t worth the effort.