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Urban Legend: NYC Bookseller Has Held Same Parking Spot For 11 Years

Charles Mysak sells books on a street corner. And his car (behind the stacks) stays parked right there.
Charles Mysak sells books on a street corner. And his car (behind the stacks) stays parked right there.

You almost have to read a story with a headline like this:

"Parking 'squat' Bookseller stakes out same spot for 11 years."

It's from today's New York Post and it's the story of how, "eleven years ago, Charles Mysak snagged a primo parking spot on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 68th Street — and he hasn't budged since. The sidewalk bookseller keeps his inventory piled up in the beat up green '94 Civic, held partially together with duct tape, and feeds the meter $36 a day — in quarters — to hold on to the spot."

Yes, he gets parking tickets. The Post says he has about $470 worth outstanding. And he has to move the car once in the morning so that a street sweeper can come through.

But he holds on to the spot.

"In the old days, you could tie your horse to this, and no one would get a ticket," he told The Post. "It's an outrage so much time is being dedicated to taking money from taxpayers — they're acting as predators. We are taxed, bullied and harassed."

A little further surfing shows that Mysak is something of a media star.

There's Jalopnik.com's report about "Manhattan's mysterious book-filled car," which includes a video of the morning ballet as the car gets moved to let the street sweeper pass by.

The New York Times has stopped by to see and profile Mysak twice. In 2005 ("A Sidewalk Bookseller With A Keen Ear For Outrage") and again in 2010 ("In Bookstore's End, No Joy For Sidewalk Seller").

And then there's the 14-minute video documentary about Mysak done by New York University student Alden Peters and posted on YouTube last month.

Is this an "only in New York" story? Or do you know of someone like Mysak where you live?

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