Street Cheats: Who Needs a Placard When You’ve Got Law Enforcement Swag?

Sometimes you don't even need a placard! Photo: @placardabuse
Sometimes you don't even need a placard! Photo: @placardabuse

One of the dirty secrets of New York City’s parking placard system is that you don’t even need a parking placard to get in on the action. You can park illegally and police will turn a blind eye if you can show them just about anything that demonstrates — or merely implies — proximity to law enforcement personnel in your private life.

Equipped with a business card or two, you can drive around some of the most congested streets on Earth and conveniently deposit your Lexus SUV or Audi convertible wherever you wish, heedless of parking rules. The streets of Manhattan are your oyster.

The watchdogs at @placardabuse recently uncovered a cache of dashboard swag in a no standing zone on West 55th Street, right down the street from Midtown North headquarters. It’s a good introduction to this brand of placard corruption.


One of the patterns you’ll notice is that these street cheats like to cover their bases by dropping more than one name at a time. The Sergeants Benevolent Association card of unknown vintage is a nice extra touch:


It doesn’t even have to be printed — handwriting the name, rank, and precinct of a law enforcement officer on a slip of paper will suffice:


Don’t carry just any police union palmcard, carry a palmcard that says, “I operate on police officers”:


  • Daphna

    It’s not just swaq that shows some connection to the NYPD that works. Along the median of Adam Clayton Powell, where there is no stopping anytime, people park their cars and leave a variety of items on the dashboard that seem to be enough for NYPD not to ticket them:
    1) reflective vest
    2) parking placard for SUNY, often expired, often or a location outside of NYC
    3) a paper of some sort indicating a police station somewhere in New Jersey
    4) handicap indicator from somewhere-or-other, often expired
    5) a variety of fake and handmade parking placard type things

  • Fool

    Ban Police Unions.

  • com63

    Is there anything stopping me from making my own placard and putting it on the dash? Is that against the law? What about if I bought a reflective vest and did the same. Seems like one way to fight this would be to simply blanket the neighborhood with fake placards in every single car. Then they would have to crack down and come up with a way to validate real placards.

  • com63

    Maybe it is, but this article doesn’t cite the actual law violated. If I made a placard that says MYPD, I could probably argue it is not a forgery.

  • Ben

    lol forego our first amendment rights if it means disenfranchising those i don’t like!

  • Andrew

    Cute idea, but I think the (real and fake) placards out there today already block enough bus stops and crosswalks and bike lanes and sidewalks and hydrants that I wouldn’t want to encourage even more motorists to join the bandwagon.

  • Placards anise will cost $ 1.5 billion a year when new tar riffs are in place .

  • Seems to be the only way .. it worked with UBER

  • cjstephens

    I am Spartacus! I am Spartacus! And I am going to park wherever I please!