Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Eyes on the Street

Car Dealers Turn Northern Boulevard’s Sidewalks Into Vehicle Showrooms

1:05 PM EDT on July 8, 2015

Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

As a matter of practice, car dealerships along Northern Boulevard, one of the most dangerous streets in Queens, illegally use its sidewalks and curb lanes as a showroom for vehicles. NYPD doesn't enforce against the appropriation of sidewalks and won't answer questions about it.

Streetfilms' Clarence Eckerson recently walked down Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights and found cars for sale blocking the pedestrian right of way, including the very crosswalk where a turning truck driver killed 8-year-old Noshat Nahian in 2013.

Nahian was walking to PS 152, the school where, later on, Mayor Bill de Blasio chose to first announce his Vision Zero initiative and signed a package of street safety legislation. While the city installed pedestrian islands and banned turns after Nahian was killed, it hasn't managed to keep the sidewalks and crosswalks clear of cars for sale.

The crosswalk where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was killed is blocked by a car dealership using it as a display space for its latest models. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
A car dealership displays one of its latest models in the crosswalk where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was killed. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

The issue is common all over the city, but has long been a particular problem on Northern Boulevard, drawing the attention of local advocacy group Make Queens Safer.

"Nothing can flare a temper as quickly as having to walk around parked cars on the sidewalks," said Cristina Furlong, a founding member of Make Queens Safer. "To me, it says that I’m low priority, residents are low priority -- but worse than that, that these dealerships are above the law, and act so blatantly because they know they are untouchable by law enforcement."

Muni meter? Sidewalk? Nothing can stop this Northern Boulevard car dealership from displaying its wares. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

East of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Jackson Heights, the 115th Precinct covers Northern Boulevard. West of the BQE, the 114th Precinct covers the north side of the street and the 108th covers the south side. Towing illegally parked cars isn't unprecedented: Last month, the 104th Precinct began towing illegally parked vehicles on sidewalks outside an auto body shop on Flushing Avenue.

DOT referred all questions about the issue to NYPD, which has not replied to inquiries about Northern Boulevard. In the meantime, car dealers on Northern Boulevard continue to be above the law.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Adams Caves to Opposition, Abandons Bus Improvement Plan on Fordham Road

The capitulation on Fordham Road is the latest episode in which the mayor has delayed or watered down a transportation project in deference to powerful interests.

September 22, 2023

Friday’s Headlines: Yes He Said Yes He Will Yes Edition

That headline above is a reference to the last line of James Joyce's Ulysses, which we won't pretend to have read. But we have that ... and other news.

September 22, 2023

Madness: Port Authority Will Spend $8M to ‘Study’ Widening Outerbridge Crossing

Will this $8.3 million find out anything we don't know about induced demand?

September 22, 2023

Study: How Low-Income People Really Use Micromobility

Shared bikes and scooters are meeting low-income people's basic mobility needs — but they're not being subsidized like it.

September 22, 2023

School Bus Driver Hits Cyclist, Injures 3, On Major Brooklyn School Bike Route

The crash happened on the route of the weekly Bergen bike bus.

September 21, 2023
See all posts