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PARKING MADNESS 2021: A Lower Manhattan Clash to Settle it Once and For All

12:01 AM EST on March 11, 2021

It’s Chinatown vs. Tribeca in this Lower Manhattan clash.

This is the latest more first-round battle in our March (Parking) Madness competition (polls close on Friday at 5 p.m., when we can all go and get a socially distanced beer)!. Polls are still open in yesterday's Western Queens slugfest (here).

Two Lower Manhattan station houses are vying for a first-round victory and a place in the Manhattan finals as the worst abusers of public space!

Both the First Precinct of Tribeca and the Fifth in nearby Chinatown are obviously in it to win it, parking on sidewalks, in crosswalks, and in front of hydrants — endangering the very residents they were sworn in to protect and serve.

So let’s get to it:

First Precinct (Tribeca)

Placard abuse and illegal parking is notoriously rampant in Lower Manhattan, where municipal employees working in city buildings attempt to get away with parking illegally simply by sticking a placard — or anything that vaguely shows their connection to city government — on their dash. And that includes New York’s Finest in the Ericsson Place station house.

The men and women in blue have for years parked their private vehicles and squad cars on the sidewalk, and directly in front of “No Standing” zones outside the station house, forcing locals to squeeze past them as they walk to and from the subway, and to and from storefronts on the same block, including a school.

The cops have so little mercy for the space around them that they even dangerously park in the vehicle lanes drivers speed past as they exit the Holland Tunnel.

And it seems the First Precinct officers aren’t just stealing space from their own community, but from the state as well. About a dozen private and squad cars were parked on gravel behind a fence clearly marked “No Trespassing — Violators Will be Prosecuted. The Port Authority of NY & NJ.”

But the menacing doesn’t stop there — the problem is compounded by the nearby NYPD Transit Bureau District 2 on West Broadway just blocks away, where cops there also park wherever they please, forcing even more locals to slalom around them to get where they’re going.

Squad cars from the nearby NYPD Transit Bureau District 2 park illegally on West Broadway. Photo: Julianne Cuba
Squad cars from the nearby NYPD Transit Bureau District 2 park illegally on West Broadway. Photo: Julianne Cuba

It seems safe to say that Capt. Thomas Smith's squad will be very, very hard to beat in this first-round battle. But who knows...?

Fifth Precinct (Chinatown)

It seems the officers of the Elizabeth Street station house have no shame in stealing space from the community they're supposed to serve —  at least four cars that had been involved in crashes and supposedly subject to investigation were just dumped on the street in illegal spots.

One of which was a blue BMW with temporary plates, with its front grill clearly bashed in.

And right outside the station house, cops put out orange cones to block off part of the roadway for cars that weren't there, while other private cop cars and squad cars were parked on the sidewalk.

In terms of the geographical area around the station house, it seems Fifth Precinct officers don't take up as many blocks as others, but they still unnecessarily steal precious sidewalk space from the community — like the metal barriers meant to designate the roadway a car-free street during certain days and hours that for some reason sat in the middle of the sidewalk.

Why are these on the sidewalk? Photo: Julianne Cuba
Why are these on the sidewalk? Photo: Julianne Cuba

And the precinct is also home to a now infamous car, boasting three bumper stickers affiliated with white supremacy. The gun enthusiast was parked in an illegal spot with an NYPD placard in its dash.

We wonder if Capt. Paul Zangrilli has had a word with his officer here. After all, the NYPD is supposedly cracking down on cops who adorn their vehicles with symbols of the very terror groups they're supposed to be fighting.


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