The Dog Jumps

Ask yourself and keep on asking until you find the answer...

This XKCD cartoon a pal sent me sums this whole thing up:

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Now rounding in 3.5 years and it took 45 minutes to get my car last week out of the 1450 Garden St, Hoboken, NJ garage in the “luxury rental” building Park & Garden, which is built by the same people who have moved onto 900 Monroe aka Vine and are building the new Gravity Vault (or have been approved to).

If you are wondering, “why did you go back?” It is because after a few months, I heard that it was better and I am not enjoying paying for parking after (in addition to) buying a parking spot in 2009 – and I’m a fool.

If you are renting into Vine on 900 Monroe ask carefully about the parking experience at Park and Garden. There are many people who I encounter, as we live next door, who are beside themselves over what is happening with their parking. Some have just given up, like me.

I am looking into my options, but they are obscured because the builder sold the building to the REIT of ALF-CIO (who hasn’t responded to my repeated pleas for help), and is still sort of managing it (the exact mechanism unclear to me), but Unitronics is “working” on the robots, with Impark staffing the garage. I think…I am reasonably certain these are the players, but the roles might be different.

I find the term “working” kind of funny, because I see them back there pushing the robots around by hand when a car gets on them. I don’t know what to make of this, so is it really that bad that they have a few guys pushing the cars around? Strange. Perhaps the kind of construction in big scale robotic factories is different, I am no expert, just guessing.

I spoke to a few people in the area and they recall the issues at the other robotic parking garage near here and how it took years for it to work right. What this makes me think is that all the parties involved here are just not owning up to the facts: the Unitronics garage at 1450 Garden will not be right until 2018.

When the garage damaged my new car, I got an email from Lawrence Bijou:

I learned about it when you notified the parking engineers. Certainly Unitronics was not forthcoming when the damage occurred which adds insult to injury. The system as explained to me was put on manual at the time. One of the engineers pressed the wrong button and the door as it was descending scratched your vehicle. Unfortunately that engineer did not notify his executive of the accident.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out how to characterize this kind of behavior, but I’d say given the sums of money involved, it is not exactly kosher.

It is a real mess, and in the end, after this one last try, I am parking back at my 300$/month spot and working on what I can do to get all these players to take this seriously. I’ve given up on recovering the reduced sale price of my condo because of all this, which just bums me out.

It is too bad all these players wouldn’t respond above-the-board over the pat 3.5 years. It only take a small effort to do something right sometimes.

This is a copy of the note I sent to all my fellow residents a while back:

Hello-

Please forgive the intrusion into your inbox.

My 5 month old car was damaged today in the automated parking garage at Park and Garden.

I write to you today to warn you about my experience with the new parking system and garage at Park and Garden.

I’ve been patient, like many of us, as the building of the new garage took about three years. Three years of paying for parking after being told that the parking would be back years prior, delay after delay, and it is likely many of you on this note know exactly what I am referring to.

We’ve been told that this would happen, and I was given a discount on my purchase price to cover paying for parking. To be clear what they gave me was over 9000$ short of the actual cost. 9000$ dollars they essentially took from me because they were unable to estimate the construction timeline properly.

Then, as most of you know, they opened the garage at Park and Garden. I have had to wait 15-20+ minutes to get my car out, I’ve had the system “fault” and not been able to park at all. I’ve been in long lines as the garage was not able to take cars in. The list of issues is extensive.

And then today, after waiting much longer than the 90 second we were promised, my car appeared and it was covered in chunks of concrete, dented, and the paint damaged – the hood, quarter panels, grill, and beyond, all damaged. I started to lose my temper, but realized the parking attenant had nothing to do with this, and apologized. I took photos and alerted everyone I know that is involved in this debacle.

I got a reply from them that they were working on the concrete in the garage and some of it fell on my car. As I think of this, there is no polite thought that comes to me head. The G rated version is: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!

Like many of you I work long days and I have felt that the QA, testing and deployment of this garage had been completely outsourced to me. Then this happened. I cannot belive this is real. It is amazing.

I have an appointment on Monday to have the car looked at to see how much it will cost to repair it, and I have returned to the pay parking garage next door as a monthly.

Meanwhile, despite attempts, Bijou maintains this is just working out the kinks and they’ll pay one more month for the other garage. To their credit they have offered to pay for the repairs to my car. Kind of them, however, I have not been able to think of something that will persuade me to return to the garage, ever. Why would I? How can I be sure something worse wont happen?

To add insult to injury, we have been told many times there is a backup generator system to allow us to get our cars out in a power outage. However, when the power fluctuated this evening, the garage became inoperable. Imagine what might happen as we try to evacuate in the next Sandy!

This means I am paying 300$/month for parking, not able to use my parking spot for fear of more damage and the exhaustion precipitated by dealing with all the issues. It also seriously impacts my resale value, and the increasing bad press will impact yours as well. The cynic in me believes that they are counting on this fact to keep us silent.

I find this situation untenable and I communicate with you, my neighbors, to alert you that if you are having these issues, you are not alone.

Thank you for your time.

Please drop me a note if you’d like the excruciating details of any of the above. I know the builder only has rentals and commercial properties now, so perhaps it doesn’t matter as much. But with parking in Hoboken at such a premium, I cannot imagine this is all going unnoticed.

The Passing of Ellie

You might know well, after looking at this blog, that Ellie is my Husky, or more to the point of this post, was. She had a series of strokes today and as a result the compassionate thing was to euthanize her. The need to make this decision for an animal that depends upon you is heavy and it was the concern of everyone involved that she not suffer. I am deeply appreciative of my mother, who tended to Ellie in old age. My mom was a trooper in helping Ellie up and down the steps, nearly weekly vet runs, and all the various chores involved in taking care of such an old dog. I do not know what else to say, except two core concepts to what it means to be me:

  1. Dogs give us this micro view of our own lives – reminding us always of the joy in the world, and the limit of our time here, which remind us how important it is to love as much as we can. This is why I love this article: The last word: Why old dogs are the best dogs
  2. In order to take on love you need to embrace the totality of the experience, which can, in this case, end in sadness. I wish there were a word for this sense I have, but I think of it like ying and yang makes a the whole.

I suppose if you read this or see my annoucements of her passing, and you want to do something, hug a dog, child, person or otherwise that you love.