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One of the perks of being the top dog in a city is a primo parking spot at City Hall. Or at least it used to be. For Svante Myrick, the new mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., the nice parking spot is a perk of the past. Upon taking office in January, Myrick promptly bucked tradition and gave up both his car and his parking spot, opting instead to take advantage of a local car sharing service. And in a move right out of Park(ing) Day, he’s converted his now unused parking spot into a tiny public park with seating and planters.
It’s the sort of unconventional move you’d expect from a mayor like Myrick, who at 25 is one of the youngest mayors in America. When he first announced his parking space-to-park conversion in May — on Facebook, naturally — he invited locals to “stop by and hang out!” And the young mayor has been hanging out, frequently meeting with community members in his new mini-park. The parking space is technically still his, and the sign above his spot still stands, reading “Reserved For Mayor” with a caveat added below: “And Friends.”
Nate Berg is a writer and journalist covering cities, architecture and urban planning. Nate’s work has been published in a wide variety of publications, including the New York Times, NPR, Wired, Metropolis, Fast Company, Dwell, Architect, the Christian Science Monitor, LA Weekly and many others. He is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities and was previously an assistant editor at Planetizen.