MARCH (PARKING) MADNESS: The Ultimate Battle for The Bronx — the 42nd vs. the 52nd!
This is the last of our four borough final matchups in the second round of our annual Parking Madness competition to see which precinct in the city is the most disrespectful of its neighbors (here’s our report on the first round that you might have missed; earlier this week, the 34th Precinct advanced to the Final Four with a narrow victory in the Manhattan final). Check the bracket below to see our progress so far — and please remember to vote: The polls will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday!
We have a barn-burner of a Bronx final for you today, Streetsblog readers: The notorious 52nd Precinct vs. the merely loathsome 42nd Precinct. But as they say, on any given Sunday, even the lowliest squad can beat the defending champs, which is why you have to play the games.
So here we go:
52nd Precinct (Norwood)
Nothing we’ve seen so far in this contest truly prepares one for a visit to the 52nd Precinct station house on Webster Avenue in The Bronx.
The building itself is incredibly gorgeous. It was completed in 1906 in the style of a Tuscan villa (and a particularly impressive one — the building features a 21-foot square clock tower with large terracotta clock faces on three sides). It was designated a New York City Landmark in 1974 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Here it is, in all its glory (right):
Everything about the building’s impressive past is trounced by the way Deputy Inspector Thomas Alps and his officers treat the building, the roadways around it and their neighbors: with utter contempt and shabbiness.
Despite having several parking lots for the officers’ private vehicles — and a Metro-North station and D subway station within walking distance — the only defining feature of the 52nd Precinct is cars. Cars left wherever is convenient for the laziest officer; cars abandoned and junked in bus stops; cars blocking hydrants and curb cuts. Cars cars cars.
Let’s start with a slideshow of all the junked cars right in front of the station house. Often, police officials will say totaled cars need to be kept on hand as “evidence,” but if that’s the case, perhaps those cars could be stashed out of sight so that neighbors don’t come to believe that their local streets are just a junkyard (maybe the NYPD should follow its own “Broken Windows” theory).
In fact, some of those junk vehicles haven’t been moved in months — which means the roadway hasn’t been cleaned in months (it sure looks like it, too). Perhaps cops aren’t responsible for every piece of trash that surrounds the station house, but as city officials whose motto is “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect,” don’t you think they would want to do something about it? Is it too much to ask that they help the neighborhood look its best?
Webster Avenue is a key route in The Bronx, which explains why the DOT took great pains to install and paint a dedicated bus lane that happens to run right past the station house.
But you wouldn’t know it from the behavior of Alps’s cops, who park and double-park in the bus lane as if thousands of long-suffering bus riders (aka the public to which the cops have vowed to protect and serve) mattered less than a police officer’s Shea-given right to have the shortest possible walk to the precinct door. Here are some shots of that:
And this was just obnoxious — couldn’t this sawhorse have been placed anywhere else but where it would block a person in a wheelchair?
But before you immediately vote to send Alps and his cops to the Final Four, they definitely did not bring their A game to The Bronx Final this week, for as Streetsblog readers well know, cops at this station house typically park all over the Moshulu Parkway overpass (and even yell at people for getting in their way).
— placard corruption (@placardabuse) March 4, 2021
Yet for some reason, when Streetsblog observed The Bronx final, here’s what we found on the greenway:
Come on, guys — it’s the finals! Can’t you do better?
42nd Precinct (Melrose)
Compared to the 52nd Precinct, Deputy Inspector Carlos Ghonz’s cops are downright polite in the way they steal public space and degrade their neighbors.
It’s hard to really capture on film how the NYPD has been allowed to basically ruin what could be the very nice quiet neighborhood near Boricua College and the restored old Bronx courthouse. But here’s a quick overview slide show:
And lest you think everything is neat and tidy at the 4-2, some streets don’t get swept because of the space-hogging cops:
It’s very common for cops to block the curb cuts, sidewalks or the hydrants, too. Here are some shots of that:
We also spotted a higher-than-usual number of covered plates or defaced plates — a strategy that many cops use in hopes of avoiding accountability for speeding or running red lights. Here are three:
Over on Third Avenue just to the east of the station house, cops combat park on the sidewalk, leaving not enough room for people in wheelchairs and forcing cyclists into danger:
Note: the squad cars are double-parked into the roadway (all of which is happening across the street from an official precinct parking lot).
And here’s a woman forced to walk in the street:
If that’s not enough, how about an overview — in three photos — of what this once-beautiful area looks like:
But will all this disrespect be enough to get the 4-2 past the powerhouse 5-2? Well, polls are open until Sunday at 4 p.m., so please vote and let us know!
Which Precinct Should Win The Bronx Borough Final?
- The 52nd (Norwood)? (51%, 59 Votes)
- The 42nd (Melrose)? (49%, 56 Votes)
Total Voters: 115