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#FAKECRACKDOWN: One Day After NYPD Towing, Placard Abusers are Back in Downtown Bklyn

12:01 AM EST on November 18, 2021

Illegally parked cars are the scourge of Downtown Brooklyn — even one day after an NYPD towing crackdown. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Sisyphus, meet scofflaws.

The NYPD's Tuesday crackdown on illegal and placard parking under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in the scofflaw paradise of Downtown Brooklyn failed to stop the abuse, as scores of car drivers left their vehicles illegally on sidewalks, plazas and even on the exit ramp of the highway on Wednesday — and a little-known city policy may indeed be making the problem worse.

How Streetsblog covered the story this week.
How Streetsblog covered the story this week.
How Streetsblog covered the story this week.

Streetsblog counted 70 cars in all, parked, bric-a-brac under the highway around the intersection of Tillary and Navy streets — one day after the NYPD's 84th Precinct and the agency's Transportation Bureau boasted of towing away seven cars and ticketing 15 others in the one-day sweep on Tuesday (see Streetsblog's coverage, right).

No one should be surprised that the NYPD has failed to end the scofflaws' reign of tyranny, said the keeper of city’s seminal placard abuse watchdog account, @placardabuse.

"It's nothing more than a fake crackdowns," said the watchdog, who requests anonymity because of prior intimidation by the NYPD. "This is a normal NYPD practice to mislead the public and shape media coverage with a false narrative.

"There's a reason we had to make #fakecrackdown a hashtag," the relentless chronicler of illegal parking added.

Council Member Steve Levin, who just one day earlier was praising the NYPD for its effort, was peeved when Streetsblog reached him on Wednesday.

“There absolutely must be a sustained enforcement effort by the NYPD so that the parking scofflaws in Downtown Brooklyn know that there will be consequences if and when they break the law by parking dangerously,” he said.

The NYPD said it agreed.

"The NYPD will continue the enforcement this month," said agency spokeswoman, Sgt. Jessica McRorie.

One of the scofflaws who parked his pickup truck on the sidewalk of Tillary Street on Wednesday was a firefighter who said he needed to park illegally because there was "no other place" to park. He said that he had called in sick that day, and, per FDNY policy, first had to report to the main Fire Department headquarters in the Metrotech office complex in congested Downtown Brooklyn so he could be examined.

He said all firefighters must report to the Metrotech HQ if they call in sick or have sustained injuries.

"Imagine if you live in Suffolk County or upstate and you're sick or injured?" he said. "You have to drive here. You can't get on three trains just to report to Medical. But then you get here and there's no parking."

The sidewalks and plazas where illegal parkers take refuge are roughly three blocks from the FDNY headquarters — and of the 70 cars we spotted, 26 had FDNY placards.

The FDNY press office confirmed that under city policy, "sick and injured members must report to the Bureau of Health Services at FDNY Headquarters to be evaluated," a spokesperson said. "Parking is not provided."

The issue of illegal parking in Downtown Brooklyn is not merely a matter of disrespect for rules and uglifying a neighborhood with cars scattered about like in a tsunami video after the floodwaters have receded; it's also an issue of basic safety.

Of the 70 illegally parked cars Streetsblog spotted at the Tillary-Navy intersection (and along the BQE exit ramp), 44 of them — or 63 percent — had been slapped with at least one serious moving violation. And 28 of them — or 40 percent — had multiple moving violations.

Those reckless drivers include:

    • One car with 22 speeding tickets (six issued this year alone).
    • An NYPD-placarded car with 12 speeding tickets and one red-light ticket.
    • One car with 11 speeding tickets.
    • One car with eight speeding tickets.
    • One FDNY-placard-bearing car with seven speeding tickets (and the vanity plate WK1SRT).
    • Another firefighter's car with six speeding tickets and three red-light tickets.
    • Two cars with seven speeding tickets.
    • An FDNY-placarded car with six speeding tickets and two red light tickets.
    • One car with an FDNY placard (and a thin blue/red line sticker) with six speeding tickets and one red-light ticket — five of the speeding tickets were issued this year alone.
    • Another car with five speeding tickets.
    • One car with four speeding tickets and two red-light tickets.
    • A car with an NYPD vest with four speeding tickets and one red-light ticket
    • Another firefighter's car with three speeding and two red-light tickets.
    • An FDNY-placarded car with three speeding tickets — all of them obtained this year. (That was the guy who spoke to Streetsblog.)
    • Another firefighter's car with four speeding tickets.
    • One FDNY-placarded car with four speeding tickets and three red-light tickets.
The owner of this car with the NYPD wool cap on the dashboard has Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The owner of this car with the NYPD wool cap on the dashboard has a Connecticut license plate ... and two speeding tickets. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The owner of this car with the NYPD wool cap on the dashboard has Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Many of the illegally parked cars had impromptu placards such as NYPD vests, hats, notebooks or even a hand-written note claiming that the car's owner works for the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (that car also has one red-light ticket, though the infraction is not visible to a passer-by). Others had temporary paper license plates from Texas, which may or may not be part of the ongoing fake plate scam.

Tuesday's one-day crackdown stemmed from a City Council hearing last month where Levin and colleague Bob Holden of Queens publicly upbraided the NYPD for allowing so much illegal parking in such a high-profile area.

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