Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Truth about NYC Parking...Revealed

A few months ago, I was spending a lovely weekend in Queens (per usual) when I decided to take an afternoon excursion to Continental Ave. to make a quick return. I parked, fed the Muni Meter ticket machine and placed the parking tag in my window. I figured an hour would be enough - I really was only returning something.

Perhaps I should have factored in that my return was at Sephora.

Which of course means that my hour was equivalent to five minutes.

Naturally, I looked at my phone after what I thought could have been no longer than 20 minutes, and realized I was 10 minutes past my meter's expiration. Grabbing my bag which contained more items purchased than returned, I ran to the street only to find a traffic-enforcement-man writing a ticket for the Volvo. I ran up to him and pleaded, but of course, he had already picked up the pen and started writing on his ticket pad, which is apparently an equivalent material to the stone slabs of the 10 Commandments. The traffic violation can NOT be erased nor discarded once written into that sacred pad, how could I have not realized that?

As I was huffing and puffing to no avail, a man stopped at the nearby traffic light saw my dilemma and said, "Hey, just wait until someone comes back to their car and ask if you can have their ticket." Confused, I just stared. He continued, "If you turn in a parking tag that expires after the time on your ticket, they won't debate it."


Even the officer had no response to this man's brilliant idea - he merely shrugged and slapped the ticket on my windshield.

Well, I took the stranger's advice and waited outside my car for a few seconds when I noticed the lights go on and the engine start up in a car two in front of mine. I approached it to find a woman and daughter, both with their windows open. Trying not to alarm them, I asked the woman if I could have her parking tag and briefly explained the situation. "As long as I don't have to be involved, sure, here you go," she said as she handed me the tag.

Wielding her tag, which expired an hour later than the time written on the ticket the officer had written me, I had a plan. A few days later, I sent in the traffic ticket along with the parking tag, proving that my meter had NOT yet expired and my ticket had been wrongfully administered. For any non-New Yorkers reading this who might not get it: the parking tags printed at the meter do NOT show any information other than the time of expiry, the date and the meter number. So all parking tags printed by one meter will read the same, the only variable being the hour of expiry, depending on how much time was purchased.

Along with the ticket and tag taken from anonymous woman and daughter, I sent a letter to the NYC parking enforcement office explaining that the officer had made a mistake and must have misread my parking tag.

A few weeks later, I received a letter from the City of New York Parking Adjudication Office saying that they had "reviewed my request" and were offering me a lower fine, $26.00 rather than $35 or $40 (can't remember which, but their offer was about $10 less than the original ticket.) The letter said that if I agreed to this concession, I should send in a check along with the letter, but if I did not accept it and felt I deserved further concessions, I should "do nothing." I would be contacted within the next four to six weeks about whether I would need to appear at traffic court or my ticket would be revoked.

So I did nothing.

Well, sure enough, a few weeks later I received a letter from the same office which said the following:

"This is a determination following a hearing-by-mail on the parking summons listed above. Respondent's general denial of the facts in the summons is supported by documentary evidence. The violation is dismissed. Total amount due = 0."


So what's the moral of the story? If you live in New York City or often drive into it's five boroughs, don't be afraid of city parking. And if you do get a ticket and think you have a chance, fight it. And don't give up. Imagine, I could have conceded to the reduced fine and paid $26, fearing that I might have to appear in court or perhaps even pay a higher fine. Instead, I did nothing. Literally. And look what happened. All thanks to the anonymous man and his drive-by advice and the anonymous woman's willingness to part with a worthless little piece of paper that came out of a Muni Meter.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ed2010 Beautifies

So I went to this Ed2010 Beauty Editors event in the city a few weeks ago and a story surfaced on the site, sent to me by dear Ms. Marano with an e-mail saying, "You're like, so famous." Kidding, she was, of course. But, still kinda cute that I was up there with these other lovely gals.

I don't at all remember saying the second quote the reporter has me down for - perhaps I just erased that moment from my memory. Anyway, next time all your journos and writer folk are browsing the site's famous "Whisper Jobs," pop over to the Events page and see my mug :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

NIN+JA 2009 = Rock God Central

I can't believe almost four months have passed since I made this post. Four months ago I found out that Trent may be making his last tour for...who knows how long...and a few months after that I found out that a big reason was probably because of his new fiance.


OK - I didn't mean that. She's probably a lovely girl - surely she wouldn't have landed Trent otherwise. I was just bitter that I may not see them in concert again...indefinitely.

But I don't think that will be the case. I'm sure that at some point, maybe 5 years from now, maybe 10, Trent will come back to the stage, happily married, maybe with a child or two in tow, and blow us all away like he always does.

But I digress. It was about four months ago that I found out about the NIN/JA show, and last night I saw it. Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction: a reunion tour 18 years in the making. It was back in 1991 that the two acts were together for the first Lollapalooza concert, a festival I attended last year to see NIN (who else) headline. While NIN has stayed on top of the music game since that first fest in Chi-Town, Perry Farrell's band has not fared as well, for whatever reason. Last year, the two old friends decided to bring back the early 90's magic that brought to life what is now one of the biggest annual music festivals in the world. And what a power lineup the two of them made. They rocked Jones Beach like few others could and every fan (old and young, polished and scrubby) was in their grungy glory. Last NIN show for a while or not, this was the definition of a concert worth the price of admission.

One thing I realized after seeing the show is that Trent knows his fans better than they know themselves. He declared a break not only because he needs one, but because we do. As much as I loved seeing him and the rest of NIN perform last night for the umpteenth time, it became obvious after seeing Jane's Addiction follow them, that it's time for the NIN fans to let Trent go for a while...to find some new music to get obsessed over.

As you may all know, I'm already doing that. My recent (albeit short-lived) passionate obsession with YYY was one of my obsessive spurt. The Foals was another. And then there's TV on the Radio. All worthwhile obsessive spurts though. And ones that put a refreshing spin on my musical tastes. It became painfully obvious at last night's show that not every NIN fan has moved onto new musical discoveries. In fact, it seemed that lots of them haven't moved on from 1991 at all.

Seeing Jane's Addiction take the stage after Trent gave me that sort of enlightened appreciation for all things NOT Nine Inch Nails. While Perry Farrell's energy is almost the polar opposite of Trent's (this NYTimes reviewer pegged it when she called him a "fidgety ringleader), it was still as attractive to me or perhaps even more so than Trent's. It's time for us to give Trent a chance to enjoy life - even if it is with a woman that is not me.

But really - his long history of anger, depression, doubt and angst gave us (or me anyway) years of definition via music. Listening to the band perform Terrible Lie last night, I was transported back to seventh grade, my bedroom, a cassette player Pretty Hate Machine on tape, me listening to it secretly, feeling rebellious as I fell more and more in love with the darkness and intrigue that is Nine Inch Nails. It sounds cheesy but NIN came to define much of my adolescence, and obviously resonates with many people in the same way. But we have all grown up, and so has NIN. Every time I see any concert I'm reminded more and more of how important music is in the world, in life. It would be a crime to only really know one band.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pizza Hints

These are the kinds of "hints" I get from a certain someone periodically throughout each day. But I must admit, I often give in since they are too enticing not to try. What do you think of this recipe?

I've made pizza a few times - the dough is the hardest part to get right. In fact, every time I've made it, I've done it almost exactly like this recipe states - yet it always comes out soft and thick as opposed to thin and crispy. I'll give this one a try and see how it goes.

Any pizza makers out there have any advice?

Work and Make-Up-dates

Hi all. Sorry I've been MIA lately. Work and makeup and boyfriend and life in general seem to have taken over my ability to write a blog lately. I'm trying to be better now.

I have so many updates I can't even wrap my head around where to start. Right now I'm trying to prepare stories for boutique DESIGN and get ready for the next two days of being in the city on appointments, seminars, etc. So I guess for starters, before I drive myself mad thinking about everything, check out this picture of Nia from the photo shoot we did yesterday with Kent.

Isn't she gorgeous? We did several different looks on her. A few beauty looks, one pretty crazy/dramatic look and then a fashion shot outside. Tell me what you think.

Later I will give you something more juicy, I promise. But for now, just stare at Nia...she won't mind. Well, her picture won't, anyway.