Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lots And Lots

To get to work, FatherBlog has to go through the Lincoln Tunnel every day. If he takes the bus, he has to go through the Port Authority building and walk a few blocks to his office.

He's actually one of the lucky ones. He lives not far from the tunnel on the New Jersey side, which means he's not dealing with the N.J. Turnpike or, way worse, anything that involves Long Island.

Here at HQ, we have a different take on the morning commute. One of the two traffic lights that TB has to deal with to get here can get a little backed up, and each morning people invariably cut through a strip mall to avoid the light.

TigerBlog once had a summer job in New York City. To get there, he would take a bus that would drop him off at 51st and Lexington, and he would walk from there to the office at 68th and Park. As an aside, something else for which there does not exist enough money to get TB to do is work in New York City.

Let's not talk about the actual commute, though. Let's talk instead about parking.

At Princeton, parking has become a huge deal, as more and more parking lots disappear in favor of construction. The impressive new chemistry building, for instance, is almost finished; it was built on what used to be Lot 15 by the armory.

Back in the Palmer Stadium days, TigerBlog used to drive his car into Lot 15 and then under the press box. Fortunately, the stadium did not collapse on his car, which as it turns out, could have happened.

Lot 15 was a big deal for those here at Jadwin, since you could drive through Lot 15 and then park right in front of the building if you had some short term reason to do so. When Lot 15 closed, it wiped out some key football parking spaces, as well as that access to the front of Jadwin.

Now, Lot 20 has gone the way of Lot 15. For those not well-versed in the campus parking map, Lot 20 is the one by Class of 1952 Stadium.

With that lot now out of operation, parking for lacrosse, field hockey and soccer games is more difficult. Lot 17 is the little lot by the tennis courts, and those spaces were reserved mostly for handicapped parking, as well as game officials and such. The majority of fans coming to the lacrosse game this past weekend - and to future events - had to park in Lots 16 and 23, on the other side of the circle.

For the record, while there is immeasurable joy in pulling up to the barricaded parking area and flashing a pass or mentioning your name to the guard and having the seas part just for you, TigerBlog gave up his space in Lot 17 and walked from Lot 16. Or was it 23?

Because Lot 20 was mostly used for parking on work days by University staff, those spaces had to be replaced. Most of the people who used to park there were relocated to Lot 21, the big lot by Jadwin Gym where athletic department staff parks each day.

The result is that Lot 21 gets pretty full pretty quickly. Even Lot 21A, the part of the lot off to the left that is reserved for athletics, is usually pretty crowded, even when Public Safety comes out to ticket those who don't belong.

Every time TB has to park all the way out in Lot 21, even close to FitzRandolph, he thinks of FatherBlog and laughs. On the one hand, it's inconvenient. On the other hand, it's still easier than the walk that 99% of the American work force has each day.

Through the years, there have been some spots around here that have become natural meeting places, but none of them have anything on Lot 21.

TB and women's track and field coach Peter Farrell often joke about how you can tell a lot about people based on how long they're willing to wait for you when you pull into the lot.

And then there are the conversations from parking lot to building, which range from the "how are you? what's new?" type to any number of subjects.

Today, for instance, TB walked in with another member of the OAC, the one who is the big NBA fan. TB asked him for his predictions on the playoffs (Lakers over Magic), where LeBron would be playing next year (Cleveland) and whom the Knicks would end up with (Joe Johnson).

It's, what, a three-minute walk from Lot 21 to the building? People will wait five, 10 minutes for someone to make that three-minute walk with at the end of the day.

Why? Because when you add up all those three-minute walks with the various people who work here, they become a huge part of the fabric of day-to-day life at Princeton athletics.

Years from now, the people who have worked here will remember the great games and the great coaches and athletes first.

The walks from the parking lot won't be at the top of the list, but they'll be close.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's an old saying that all colleges are alike in that the alumni want more football wins, the students want more sex and the faculty wants more parking.

I would imagine that certain members of the Princeton department of athletics might exist at the center of that trilogy, simultaneously hungering for more football wins, sex and parking.

Here's hoping for the eventual expansion of Lot 21 across Fitzrandolph Road, plenty of victories over Harvard and Yale, and, well, you know.