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.

lexus_no_standing

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:

biz_cards

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:

handwriting

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

biz_card_palm_card

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With the release of Transportation Alternatives’ new report on parking placard abuse and the introduction of City Council Member Daniel Garodnick’s bill to add scannable bar codes to official placards, the push is on again to curb the flagrant exploitation of parking privileges. Despite the substantial reduction in official placards by the Bloomberg administration in […]