The challenge of finding the perfect partner is matched only by the challenge of finding the perfect parking space in New York City. Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld") reads Andy Raskin's essay, about the search for love and parking in Chinatown.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love the pod cast supported by produced by the island at W B. You are faster. from the New York Times and W B. U Boston! This is modern love stories of love, loss damn, I'm your host, Magneto Chakrabarti, finding the right partner can feel impossible but not as impossible as finding the perfect parking space in Manhattan. Andy Raskin describes the search for both in his essay the Hunter Gatherer Parking Division,
it's red by Jason, Alexander of Seinfeld fame? He was one of our first and favorite readers for modern love, so we asked him to come back and record another s. For us here is Jason from us a date with Tracy. I'm taking her to the some hay rice shop in Manhattan. Every long I went family has a favorite restaurant in Chinatown and, as is the sum Hey Rice shop, you're, going to love this place. I tell her when I was a kid I used to order, ciao my fun and smear it on the plate with ketchup, Tracy beams at me from the passenger seat, She clearly lacks that I'm already sharing family stuff. I wait for the pedestrians to clear before turning off canal onto mocked at bared. I take a left
is the restaurant. I say you want to get out and I'll go park now says Tracy I'll help. You find a spot. Okay, drive to the end of bared. But there are no spots Bowery. I swing a right and if people another right there's what looks like a spot, but closer. I notice a two pronged fire hydrant protruding from a brick wall. Nothing on pal. I try to reassure Tracy, we'll find one I'm not worried. She says I have really good parking karma. I hate that expression to me such an attitude of the levels, the Coon sensibility,
about parking that has been refined and obsessed over and passed down through the male line of my family for generations. I inherited it from my father. One of the all time Great Chinatown Parkers for Richard Raskin, a parking space was not some gift from the gods, not in any way dependent on personal good luck. Rather, it was the direct result of hard work. carefully homes, skills and yes, raw talent, my dad didn't look for parking spaces. He hunted them down the ability to find one was to him the measure of a man
sons in many cultures, learn how to behave as men by observing their fathers, often in rituals. That may seem odd to outsiders. There is a tribe in new guinea, for instance, where the fathers gathered together and masturbate into a river while their adolescent male offspring watch in a do. similar wax. I learned from the backseat of my father's nineteen. Seventy seven Chevrolet Caprice classic that Raskin men find good parking quickly. As we approach Elizabeth Street Tracy is telling me about how her sister used to live in little ITALY, I'm having a heart. I'm listening to her, though, given the weight of the decision now facing me circle around,
Bayard Bowery Pelham, not worth mulberry loop again or chance it near the police station. I make a left and sure enough. Elizabeth Street is police cars triple part all the way up the block. I my arm on the window and tap rhythmically on the steering wheel, trying to draw attention from the fact that I am soon sheepishly heading back to Bayard. Tracy is still talking, and I pretend to follow along Luckily, she doesn't seem to have grasped the truth, which is that I'm not half the Chinatown Parker. My father was when my father didn't see a spot. He made
spot and his car was easily several inches longer than my toys. Celebre good think Tracy never saw his parking I'll, never forget it. First, he would get quiet. Then his eyes would squint disease scanned each block for the Tell tale signs of a future space a tale, light glowing red car door flying open the sound of an engine. Turning over sometimes my sister or, I would say, there's a spot, but my father wouldn't even slow down here, since sculpt out that it was a no go because of a driveway or a hydrant tension in the car would build. We thought we might never find a spot, then suddenly
My father would flick on his blinker and start backing into a space, so tiny the rest of us never sought. We were always skeptical at first This isn't a spot. My mother would say shaking her head, it's a spot. He would assure her he would always find some way till wedge the car and sometimes he'd, go out for ten minutes. I remember the look of pride on his face. When he was done- and I knew he had accomplished something very important. My mother post parking suddenly appeared calmer as if thinking I am very glad. I married this man. When Tracy and I get back to where Pell Mell Maud, I spy and old chinese woman laden with shopping bags, whose breaking formation with the crowd on the sidewalk she is reaching for her keys,
I run the stop sign and hover behind her. She gets into her car and I wait for her to pull out, but she just sits there. She doesn't even start the engine. I pull up to her winds, point over my shoulder with my thumb and raised my eyebrows, the universal gesture for you getting out, but she just stares at me. Do the gesture again and this time she does the wave off head shake cheese. I say I continue along MOT, Tracy looks concerned. I suspect she is starting to put it all together. She is thinking if this guy can't find a spot now. How will he provide for me if we take things further What if we have kids what if we take them to Chinatown they'll, probably starve to death, while these bozos circles around I'm already
halfway to worth street when, in my rearview mirror, I see that if lady pulling out of her spot. Damn I scream bag was playing me. Tracy tries to calm me down Andy. Maybe we should just put it in a lot. Oh, my god, a lot. Why doesn't she Just drag me out of the car and castrate me: listen, my father never paid for spots, never
on the rare occasions when it didn't look as if he was going to find a spot within a reasonable amount of time. He would drop off my mother, my sister and me at the some hay right shop and he would go park by himself. Of course, a few minutes later, when he joined to sit the restaurant, he would walk through the door with an unmistakable swagger. You found a spot, my mother would say: he'd curl is upper lip and give her a quick, not the kind of not given by under bosses on the sopranos to tell Tony that they have killed someone. It was the that says it's taken care of I'm just going to circle around a couple more times I say the Tracy trying to sound calm. years ago, while visiting my paternal grandfather at his retirement community in Florida. I recorded him telling me his life stories. He related tales.
How he invented a new way to cool ice cream trucks and how his father came to America after deserting the russian Army, but he really came to life as he was telling me about the parking spot he found while on a date with my grandmother one thousand nine hundred and thirty I borrowed my mother's one thousand nine hundred and twenty one Ford coupe. He said
one time I took Sylvia into Manhattan and I parked that Ford Coupe on thirty fourth street. In case I didn't understand the significance of that location. He added right next to Macy's. If it's the money Tracy says to me now we can split it. I cannot believe she thinks this is about money. I have a good job. I can't afford to put it in a lot believe me, but the idea of paying someone to park my car, I mean
What kind of loser pays for parking in Chinatown? Do I look that pathetic? I'm on Pelican, but now the idea of paying for parking is out there and it spreads through me like a cancer, I'm considering it and what it will mean for me for my future for my future with Tracy, then I see the spot with a hidden fire hydrant again, and I realized there may be enough space. I pull in the front of my car is a few feet from the hydrant. I decide it's an acceptable,
you can't park here, Tracy says you're too close to the hydrant. Don't worry about it. I say in Chinatown. If you can't find a spot, you make a spot. Tracy rules arise, but I withdraw the key from the ignition to get out of the car and Tracy slams her door shut. You would rather park here and possibly get in the way of a fire truck rescuing someone then put it in a lot yeah Tracy looks into the distance, you are so self centered, I'm starting. Get the feeling that I will never meet her sister, who lived in little ITALY. Maybe Tracy is right. Maybe I am a little too close to the hydrant. My.
Father, surely would have found a better parking spot. Even my grandfather would have put me to shame parallel parking, his bar of nineteen, twenty one Ford coupe in bustling pre war midtown, but in one respect Tracy has it all wrong? I am so the ah.
instead of self centered. The only thing I have been centering on is how to impress her and take care of her, which is to say I have been trying to be a man and in my tribe, when it comes to parking, a man takes charge. A man finds spots, the Jason Alexander Reading, Andy Raskin essay, the Hunter Gatherer Park, division, the will catch up with Andy and Jason after the break. The
I love felling. My boyfriend and I often play falling, be together by together. I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes, when I open up scowling d- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own- I feel a little betrayed in ferry. We may have happened I have one friend who I will say in the screenshots, from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p, o t jack finally hit nice,
I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games. Andy says that to the best of his memory, he did not get a ticket the day that he parked a little too close to the fire hydrant and after his piece came out. He heard from others who understood the struggle to find good parking, and many people told me that They also related to this idea that other cities, or even other parts of Manhattan or kind of like the the minor leagues and then, when you got to Chinatown, it was like breaking into the big leagues and certain blocks within Chinatown, maybe like the all star game
even though Andy successfully found a spot on that date with Tracy their relationship didn't last, but a few months after his modern love s, it was published. He went on a date with a woman named Emily. On this day we went to a sushi restaurant and I got a spot right in front of the restaurant and she looks at me and she goes well. This is a really hot spot the spot is really turning me on and I knew she was joking can. I knew she was kidding and seed recipes, but it didn't matter like I. Actually. I still felt like yes- and I felt you know it like a man about three years Andy and Emily got married Even today, I still feel the pressure all the time. whenever we go out and not just when it's the two of us when it's with other people or we have a son or son
Hence they still still bring it up. Just still that, while this is the great spot- and I still feel great about it- Andy hasn't thought much about what it will be like when his six year old Son is old enough to drive, but he says he does not want to pass on his obsession with parking. I think the parking kind of represents a lot of things that I or maybe other people, to put pressure on ourselves to somehow measure up against some idea, that we have from parents some way that were supposed to be in a way that the peace, I think is about how that conversation in your head can cut you off from other people, people who you might want to get close to and realizing that was a big step. For me.
Andy Rascal he's a messaging strategist in the tech industry, where he helped CEO tell the story of their kind. and just so. You know, he's not exaggerating. Andy gave us that actual Boarding of his grandfather bragging about his parking skills. One time I remembered to Macy's and parking: that's one thousand nine hundred and twenty one Ford on 34Th street right next to place. We've got more in a minute. I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play stalling me together by together. I mean
next to each other of playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in ferry may have happened, I have one friend who I will say in the screenshots, from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it J, a c k, p o t Jack nice.
I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, here's Jason Alexander! It's so funny that character that Redskins talking about is so much like my dad, my uncles. It's that New York, New Jersey, second generation, jewish, italian, irish, scottish immigrant, that really parking your car in Manhattan was a badge of honor, and when I was a kid I saw my father lift my mother's nineteen. Fifty seven dodge dart one end of the time over a four foot snow bank. So I knew my father was sort of preternaturally strong and he had gotten his car into one of the spots where there was really just a few atoms of air on either side of the of the fenders, and I said dad did you like just park it outside that spot and push it sideways and fit it in
like a click of black into his spurs, I'm telling you the whole thing was almost biographical and the men, and I heard it I went. I know these guys and I can do their story. Eighty again to Jason, Alexander for so brilliantly reading. This week's piece Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times you sort of trapped in a sense of manhood, but as this essay reveals he's completely aware of it, that doesn't save him from it, though me and still he's still going to feel a total charge and feel macho. If you can find a spot.
And he's going to feel like he's an embarrassment if he can't the modern love is a production of the New York Times. And W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, directed and edited by Jessica, Albert Caitlin, O Keefe John parody and AM receivers, says additional sound designed by Paul Vikas. The idea for the modern podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin, Iris, Adam as our executive producer. Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times, an adviser to the show music for the pod cast. He courtesy of a piano. I magnet uncle birdie, see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.