The Gestapo has entered Livingston

I was psyched when Sweet Basil’s moved from West Orange to Livingston. I actually wrote a whole piece on it when I used to have my Essex County Daily Page on Facebook. I really love their brunch on the weekend and their lunch during the week is pretty great as well. HOWEVER, I am finding it quite a fete to actually sit down at this restaurant ever since the Gestapo has moved into the their parking lot. I would seriously be shocked if you have not yet encountered the experience I am about to delve into. I have had issues in the past but today was the icing on the cake.  Let me walk you through my afternoon pre-lunch and you tell me if you think this is okay.

I am going to set the stage: I pull into the parking lot. There are two empty spots but they are the “Bank” spots. Fair enough. The bankers need to park and I wasn’t risking it. I noticed someone in back of me pulling into the “bank spot” and does not enter the bank. The woman inside of the bank starts banging on the window, screaming “YOU CANNOT PARK THERE”! So this woman who pulled into the spot, turns around and screams “GOD DAMN IT, I AM GOING TO BUY 1 BAGEl, 1 BAGEL!!!! I WILL BE RIGHT BACK!” and storms away. I am laughing only because of how ridiculous this entire situation is and I wonder how many times that woman bangs on the window a day.

Image 5

I pull up and now notice for the FIRST TIME the Bagel store NOW has 3 designated parking spots for their store!


Image 14



Image 13


PLUS there is a woman outside patrolling the parking. She is making sure whoever parks in the “bagel spot” is coming in to buy a bagel. The woman from above who wanted to buy a bagel couldn’t even park in the bagel spot because they were taken! Now can you understand how mad she was?! I can!! (this is the lady bagel patrol below…she is very busy)

Image 11


Next door to the bagel shop is the nail salon. They are patrolling the lot as well!!! They are not happy!


Image 12

Now I am shit out of luck. There are no spots in this lot and I am supposed to meet friends in literally 3 minutes. What to do? I decide to drive over to the Precious Cargo parking lot. There are a TON of spots and I am going to eat lunch and come right back. I park my car. I notice there is a man sitting in the car next to me.  He is dressed pretty nicely and looks like a normal enough guy. I get out of the car. He gets out of his car. He turns to me and says, “If you are going to “that” restaurant in the other shopping center you cannot park here”. My mouth is now on the floor. “Excuse me”,  I said. Now this other woman gets out of her car and starts walking towards the other shopping center. He stops her as well and I walk away.

I am now fuming so I walk into Precious Cargo, collect my thoughts, get my shit together and decide to move my car. I walk back to my car and “that guy” is sitting in the car next to mine (see the brown car below) waiting for people to park there! Image 6

I decide to move my car to the back of the parking lot. There are 20 spaces open and Gestapo man can’t see me. I mean since when is it illegal to park in a parking lot!? Who is this guy anyway? Does he own the building? He is the mayor? WHO IS HE?

Here is where I move my car:

Image 9

Look at that..tons of spots! Now the tricky part. I have to somehow sneak through the back of the other shopping center so he can’t see me. I now feel like Macgyver. I find this path:

Image 8

I cut through these bushes which leads me to the other shopping center (where the childcare center is). I turn back to make sure Gestapo does not see me and I see him talking to two people who are trying to park in that lot. I make a run for it and wind up in front of Sweet Basil without getting caught! Doesn’t this sound just ludicrous?? As I am writing this, I am laughing out loud thinking how absurd it was that I had to turn into Jack Bauer in order to eat lunch!

I walk into Sweet Basil and I run into the woman Gestapo man cornered when I ran into Precious Cargo. She says to me, “Did the Gestapo get you”? (she was the one who gave me the idea for the title of this article!) I tell her how fumed I am and that this has got to stop. I understand the other businesses in the strip need parking for the patrons, I get it. I do think the onus is on Sweet Basil to figure something out as it is diminishing my dining experience there.  I am a huge fan of Sweet Basil. It is one of few lunch places I rave about in Livingston but something needs to be done. I do not want to have to come up with a 15 minutes clever plan in order to sit down for lunch.  Are you with me? I can’t be the only one, right?!



Share Your Thoughts

  1. Do i dare give my secret.. park on concord which is the block just across frlom shop rite. Much closer and no restrictions….

    July 18, 2013 • 10:06 pm •
  2. Amy

    Thank you!!

    July 18, 2013 • 10:08 pm •
  3. Take a Guess

    This has Plotkin written all over it!!!!

    July 18, 2013 • 10:13 pm •
  4. R Lynn

    The same exact thing happened to me – and the
    Nasty man asked me if I was OK with my car getting
    towed, so I got back in my car and parked in
    Shop Rite – but it’s quite challenging crossing
    Livingston Ave… I’d like to know if all of those empty
    spots are ever used????

    July 18, 2013 • 10:21 pm •
  5. Andrea

    In defense of the other businesses (which I don’t even patronize) sharing the lot with Sweet Basil’s (which I do patronize), they risk losing customers who can’t find parking because of all of the Sweet Basil’s customers filling the lot. So I can’t blame the shop owners for being territorial over at least a few spots for their customers.

    Like you, I’m a big fan of Sweet Basil’s…loved them in WO & was thrilled when they moved to Livingston. It’s the best restaurant in town, IMHO. I was going to tell you to park on Concord, but Rebecca beat me to it. It’s no secret, though. That’s where the hostess at Sweet Basil’s told me to park when I couldn’t find a spot to park a few months ago. If she told me, I’m sure she’s telling others to park there too. So now Concord is my fall back for parking whenever I go to Sweet Basil’s…until the residents of Concord start getting pissed about all the overflow cars parking there and petition the town to restrict parking on their street. But until then, it’s legal and very convenient (actually a little shorter distance than the parking at Roosevelt Plaza).

    July 18, 2013 • 10:32 pm •
  6. Francine Green Roston

    Parking Police, Meter Maids, Space Sheriffs….do you really need to use ‘Gestapo’?! I know you can say I have no sense of humor…but I could say you are supporting the trivialization of the Holocaust…not necessary…

    July 18, 2013 • 10:52 pm •
  7. Jen

    He got me parking at sushi samurai! I had taken my stroller and baby out of the car and was all set to go. But the. He stopped me and said “you can’t park there if you’re going to sweet basils.” I said “how did you know where I was going?” He said he had been watching me looking for a spot. He says he owns the whole plaza (where sushi samurai is). He said it wasn’t fair for me to take a spot away from someone who wants to done at sushi samurai. But their parking lot had TONS of empty spots! And I pointed that out to him! He just told me to get back in my car and get my car out of there, in a very nasty tone. Even after I told him I was a frequent diner at sushi samurai. And I agree with the other commenters – the hostess told me next time to park in concord. Good blog

    July 18, 2013 • 11:02 pm •
  8. Jennifer

    I park on Concord also and take the walk…but this situation has got to change. I’m so not “that” person but maybe they need Valet or something?

    July 19, 2013 • 7:21 am •
  9. Marina

    My daughter goes to the day care that is in the parking lot next door and I cannot tell you how frustrating it is when all the patrons of sweet basil are speeding away because they are told not to park there, with 2 yr olds being picked up! Furthermore, I don’t know if u know this but sweet basil refuses to make any deals with the parking lots next door to them, such as where precious cargo is! I am really not a big fan of theirs, they told my father one time that they can not chop his salad because they don’t have a cutting board large enough! My dad has dentures!!!!! He couldn’t chew it, so I no longer am a fan! Oh by the way it was the owner that told him that! But in all seriousness they refuse to make any deals with the owners of the buildings next door!!! Which is shitty because these are their customers!

    July 19, 2013 • 7:39 am •
  10. yesterday Concord was COMPLETELY taken crowded with cars…..there were no spots! . boycotting Sweet Basils until they change something. i drove around for 15 min and then finally parked in shoprite…….

    July 19, 2013 • 7:55 am •
  11. Amy

    You all make great points. I knew I wasn’t alone in my frustration. I feel for the other shop owners and understand their struggle. As I stated in my blog, the onus is on Sweet Basil to remedy this situation. If SB has the opportunity to buy spots in the adjacent (vacant)lot then shame on them!

    July 19, 2013 • 8:49 am •
  12. Danielle

    I have to say I agree with Francine. I love reading your posts and know that you’re Jewish, but I was really put off by the use of the word Gestapo. I know what you meant, because it probably does feel like that, but it came across as distasteful. Just two cents from a reader who enjoys your blog!

    July 19, 2013 • 10:47 am •
  13. Amy

    Thanks Danielle. Obviously I meant NOTHING like that… When I ran into the woman in SB and she called the man that it was exactly how he was acting. I understand your point.

    July 19, 2013 • 10:58 am •
  14. Adam

    Did you also vent to the writers of Seinfeld when they featured the “Soup Nazi” in an episode? I’m betting you didn’t and I would even go so far to say it’s one of your favorite episodes. Get real people…

    July 19, 2013 • 11:16 am •
  15. Adam

    Whether or not the empty spots are ever used isn’t really the point. But if 15 patrons of Sweet Basil’s take up 15 available spaces in another location, where would the patrons, patients, staff & employees for that building now park? The specific use of a retail space is governed by the zoning ordinance of each township. In Livingston, for every 3 seats in a restaurant, you need one space. However, if the lot is shared by other establishments in the same building, you also need to factor in the required spaces for those uses as well. I’m sure the owners of the neighboring buildings have had their share of issues attempting to get zoning approvals for applicants looking to lease space in their buildings. In consideration of that, why should they tolerate the overflow of a use that obviously should have been met with some common sense consideration. I’m sure these other owners have more important matters to attend to. At least the owners are asking the patrons of Sweet Basil’s not to park in their lots, I would think they can just tow vehicles if they wanted to.

    July 19, 2013 • 2:47 pm •
  16. me

    As a Jewish person I have to say to those people who were offended by the Gestapo comment to lighten up!!! There is absolutely NO reason that should offend you (unless of course you are the Gestapo man or his family). The writer wasn’t putting down Jewish people. Adam I agree with your reference to the soup nazi. People used to call the old owner of the bagel shop in that strip bagel nazi. TAKE A ZANAX AND RELAX. By the way Concord is a good idea.

    July 19, 2013 • 4:08 pm •
  17. Mrs. "Gestapo Man"

    As the “Gestapo Man’s Family” (and by family, I mean wife), I am offended. As a FORMER subscriber of your blog and a resident of your beloved town, I think you could make better use of your time. Ever think to yourself for one minute…gee, maybe these people are just doing their JOB. Oh, that’s right they must be nobodies. I mean, let me take their photo and post it on the internet. They would never be classy enough to read my blog and actually see that I have mocked and belittled them for doing their job. Actually, monitoring parking lots is not ANY of their JOBS. Unfortunately, due to someone’s slip in the zoning department, Sweet Basil’s must have been allowed a location with nowhere near the amount of parking spaces they legally require. So, instead of patrons like yourself finding LEGAL places to park nearby, you are illegally parking in unauthorized spaces causing the tenants/doctors/shops of these spaces to complain and therefore, take action, such as having the parking lots monitored.
    As a mature, intelligent woman, the ideal thing to do would be to find an alternate solution such as Concord but instead you have taken the low road and have photographed, belittled and name called.
    Lastly, he didn’t have to be so nice as to ASK you to move. He could have waited until you walked into Sweet Basil’s and had your car towed.

    July 19, 2013 • 10:00 pm •
  18. Provocateur

    OMG Mrs. Gestapo! Life must be hard for you! Lighten the f-up! The blogger isn’t belittling – just using some humor and corroborating photos spotlighting the situation. Perhaps without the photos people would question her veracity. Free country = free speech. But I guess everyone better run their thoughts by you to make sure everything is devoid of humor and or provocations to render any article or blog completely sterile. Good Grief!!

    July 19, 2013 • 11:19 pm •
  19. Steve Silberfarb

    Enjoyed your piece about your parking adventure. Good writing, good humor and good story. I admit I didn’t like the Gestapo reference. I didn’t like the “soup Nazi” reference in Seinfeld either. It’s not a federal offense or anything, just my opinion.

    What I really don’t like are the comments attacking Francine, the commenter who didn’t like the Gestapo title. She has the same right to express her views as anyone else (by the way, free speech is a constitutional right the government can’t prohibit. The prohibition does not apply to non government entities). She was hardly acting as the thought police, she was merely stating that she didn’t find Gestapo funny. I agree. Take it or leave it. Surely she can say what to her is funny and what isn’t without being told a. she’s not legit unless she told off Seinfeld; b. to get real; c. to lighten up; d. there’s no reason to be offended unless she is Gestapo man or family; e. take a Xanax; f. she’s the thought police removing humor and rendering articles sterile.
    Really? Shame on you who made those comments. By all means disagree with her (or me for that matter). You’re fine with Gestapo. Great. I disagree with you but respect your opinion. She’s not fine with Gestapo. Surely her opinion can be respected as well, even in disagreement, and disagreement needn’t be disagreeable especially in terms of attacking her.

    July 20, 2013 • 7:54 am •
  20. Really?!?!

    Clearly, Provocateur, your name proves to be most appropriate, seeing that that is exactly what you are. Last time I checked, freedom of speech also allowed an individual the ability to respond to someone else’s viewpoint, regardless of whether or not they concur with that individual. And no, I would not be amused either if some blogger decided to take a photo of my husband in his car (with license plate in range) and placed it on the Internet for the world to see because she is offended that she has been asked to move her car, thereby making her late for her most important luncheon with friends. People in the world have real problems and I have no sympathy for this person and her so-called issues. Let that be the worst of this woman’s obstacles in life. P.S. The fact that she took the time to take and then post all of these pictures to make her point is utterly ridiculous. She must have a little too much time on her hands! Oh, the woes of a Livingston housewife…no empathy here!

    July 20, 2013 • 2:18 pm •
  21. Anonymous

    These responses to blogger are just so…predictable.

    July 21, 2013 • 8:34 pm •
  22. Ben

    It sad to read this. That someone has all this time to write this blog. First I can tell you how you can solve this problem is that you get a J.O.B. Instead of having rush to meet your friends to find out what time is tennis tomorrow. Also taken pictures of people without even asking them. How about someone finds out where you live and take pictures of you and start posting them on the net. How would you feel. You make it sound like the world is coming to any end. C’mon lady if your going to blog. Blog about the dressing in the salad and what color tennis shoes you bought.

    July 23, 2013 • 1:12 pm •
  23. Staci

    What the h**l is wrong with you? You entitle one blog the Running of the Jews and another uses the word Gestapo in its title? I guess you (and granted some of your other readers) think it’s funny to reference the German secret police noted for it brutality toward Jews (and non-Jews) in some silly parking lot story. It’s not. If you want to write about your life, great, freedom of speech and all that, but could you PLEASE stop making comments and entitling your posts with words that speak directly to the hatred of Jews. You are Jewish and I feel as if I can safely assume you are not a Jew hater but, as you know, they are still out there and you are not helping. Please.

    July 23, 2013 • 4:45 pm •
  24. Robin

    Anytime we use Holocaust imagery and analogies to describe banal situations we do a disservice to the memory of all those who perished during one of the worst chapters in humanity’s history. Instead of using in your blog the word the lady used to describe the parking situation, it would have been a “teachable moment” for you to kindly remind her that the memory of the Holocaust should be sacred and any other word would have been better than using the word Gestapo.

    July 23, 2013 • 6:11 pm •
  25. Provacateur

    How come if someone is meeting someone for lunch (as opposed to high tea) the assumption is that the person doesn’t have a job? Maybe she’s sharpening her writing skills to be a published author. Seinfeld certainly is enjoying his $ from commenting on the banal absurdities of things like lack of parking spaces. I’m sure those commenting for the blogger to get a JOB do humanitarian, life changing work i.e. bringing clean water to impoverished areas in sub-Saharan Africa, or vaccinating children in India against Polio. With the continued scarcity of jobs, how do you know she isn’t taking a respite from her 30 month job search to have a meal with friends? Seems like there is some major stereotyping about the people who inhabit Livingston. Meow!

    July 24, 2013 • 2:05 am •
  26. What about riding a bike to lunch?

    July 24, 2013 • 4:24 pm •
  27. Amy

    Funny, I just bought a new helmet…

    July 24, 2013 • 4:29 pm •
  28. Concord

    I live on Concord – as long as you don’t block my driveway (and some of you have in the past), it’s all good.

    July 26, 2013 • 12:00 am •
  29. Dana

    The comments are the best part of a blog. Amy, you need thick skin for this – hang in there! I don’t know amy and I don’t live in Livingston but I don’t believe her posts are intended to offend or disrespect. I give her a lot of credit to write a blog (it’s a new platform for all of us) and share her perspective and information with her readership. Blogs unit people with a common interest and what I like most about Amy’s blog is that she writes about what we are all thinking privately in a silly moment in our daily life. I am a stay at home mom and I have lunch with friends too. It takes my friends about four weeks to find a date and time that works for all of us because life is busy and then we cancel and start over to find another date that works. I treasure those moments when I can meet a friend and disconnect from the stress of life. I have been actively looking to return to work for five years and it has been a nightmare process. So lunch with girlfriends can be a treasured moment in life and I want an f’n parking spot! The article was funny and it’s those frustrating moments that create the humor and bring out the best in all if us. Life is stressful lately. We need each other we need laughter!

    August 8, 2013 • 9:57 am •
  30. Amy

    Thanks Dana! You rock!! Couldn’t have said it better myself. By the way – my skin has grown very thick in the past 5 very short months this blog was launched! I wrote a posting on shiva that I haven’t launched yet…can’t wait for those comments :)!

    August 8, 2013 • 10:01 am •
  31. Jamie

    I just came across this article and have never seen so many of politically correct,  crybaby c*nts in my life. Lighten up,  dummies. The author is obviously writing with humor and it should be taken as such. If you don’t like it,  you’re free to eff off. 

    January 11, 2015 • 11:40 am •