He does not own the barren lot in Long Island City, but tends to it as if he does.
The Unofficial Attendant of an Ad Hoc Parking Lot
Down the street, another private parking lot charged $12 for the day.
In the lot, under a billboard on the corner of Vernon Boulevard and Borden Avenue, Mr. Harte, 71, is home. The blocks around him are sprouting high-rise condominiums like trees. A bagel shop just opened a block away, opposite a crumbling wall with fading paint that reads Cangro Transmission Co. Inc., a testament to the neighborhood’s industrial past.
It is here, on a paved lot big enough for about eight vehicles and next to a construction site, that Mr. Harte squeezes out a meager livelihood. He said he saved a spot every morning for a construction manager who works nearby. In return, the manager has given him food, a few dollars and his business card. Mr. Harte said he hoped the man might even install electricity.