New Book Documents ‘Dibs” Chicago Parking Tradition
Ever since he published his new book, “Dibs Chicago — The Winter Phenomenon of Parking Spot Saving,” at the end of November, the 41-year-old Lincoln Park resident checks the weather incessantly, hoping to see snow in the forecast.
“I never really paid that much attention to the weather,” said Brown, who said a good snowstorm might help him sell more books. “But now I check it all the time.”
Brown’s new self-published book, written with Sandy DeLisle, documents the practice of dibbing, or parking spot-saving, a Chicago tradition that can only be seen after a significant amount of snow blankets the city’s streets.
Longtime Chicagoans know when a snowstorm hits, the shovels come out, and the junk begins filling neighborhood streets, saving parking spots that car owners have spent hours digging out.
City drivers use a wide array of flotsam and jetsam to mark their territory — 5-gallon buckets, trash cans, lumber, large toys, broomsticks and chairs — lots of chairs.
“Most people use chairs,” Brown said. “But this is not a chair book or dining-room set book. We’ve organized the book into chapters with photos of all sorts of stuff used for dibs.”
Dibs likely started after the big snowstorm of 1967, but became further rooted as a Chicago tradition after the Blizzard of ’79.
Brown first experienced this quaint practice about five years ago, not surprisingly, just after a snowstorm.
“I was in a horrible mood, stuck in horrible traffic one day during the winter of 2007,” Brown said. “I was driving along North Avenue and was detoured onto side streets. I started noticing objects placed in shoveled spaces along the road.
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