Space Saver Season Begins with Aggressive Note in Southie

An unfriendly reminder appeared on 311 today that street justice still reigns in Boston.
space saver letter

Photo via 311

Right on schedule, it looks like space saver season has arrived. The first major storm of the year brought with it this prime specimen of passive aggressive note-writing, discovered on I Street in South Boston and posted on 311 this morning.

Here it is, in all of its Southie glory:

I took down your license plate number… take my spot again and I will key the shit out of your car & slash all your tires. this is your first warning. DO NOT FUCK WITH ME.

The note (which looks a lot like one discovered in Somerville last year…) was shared via the app used to report issues to the city, by someone who appears not to have gotten the memo about the way things work in winter in Boston. Whether you like it or not, those who fail to follow the unwritten rules of the space saver in these parts should be prepared to tango with deeply vengeful neighbors willing to threaten or inflict harm on them and their property. It may not be pretty, but much like the nonsensical swarming of grocery stores for French toast ingredients and the jamming by TV reporters of objects in the snow, space saver street justice is a cherished tradition around here, city ordinances and Globe columns notwithstanding.

Boston technically bans the use of space savers unless a snow emergency has been called—a rule that has been enforced by DPW workers prowling the streets scooping up savers and heaving them into hilarious piles. Included in last year’s haul—among the beach chairs and parking cones—were cutouts of Gronk and Napoleon. And, in defense of this 311 user, there was no snow emergency declared this weekend. But in the season of hot cocoa, cabin fever, and unyielding rage, the space saver code of conduct is violated only by the deeply foolish. This particular spot-taker should be thankful they heard from someone only willing to threaten to destroy their car, rather than someone willing to do the deed.

So let’s all take the opportunity to welcome our new neighbor, and let this be a reminder of what’s at stake when you roll the dice with a pre-shoveled space. If we all keep our cool, and if we all follow the rules, maybe we can make it through the winter with our cars un-keyed.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com