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March (Parking) Madness: It’s Time for the Bronx Borough Final

We're down to the Hateful Eight! This is the first episode in our borough final round. Over the next few days, watch and enjoy as we whittle down to the Final Four. First up: A battle in The Bronx. To see how we got here, read the previous bouts here. And don't forget, polls remain open in our last first-round contest, pitting two Queens precincts. Vote here.

The contest so far. Click to enlarge.
The contest so far. Click to enlarge.
The contest so far. Click to enlarge.

The battle for Boogie Down bragging rights is on!

These two precincts fought hard to earn their slots in the Bronx Borough Final, with the 47th Precinct in Wakefield and Soundview's 43rd Precinct merely edging out their first-round rivals:

    • The 47th bested its southern neighbor in Morris Park's 49th by a narrow margin of gaining 54 to 46 percent. The Wakefield outpost of the NYPD blocked so much adjacent sidewalk that it even overtook the 49th's egregious parking on lawns.
    • In the southeastern part of the borough, the 43rd pulled ahead of Throggs Neck's 45th more clearly with a 58 percent to 42 percent margin, setting itself apart with its rampant bus lane blocking and occupying space of the public housing complex right across the street.

Cops at neither station house improved their shoddy records from our first visit to the blue-collar communities they are supposed to serve, with rampant illegal parking still the norm. Experts are closely watching this Bronx brawl, to see who will advance to the next stage.

43rd Precinct (Soundview)

The 43rd Precinct's station house on Story Avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan
The 43rd Precinct's station house on Story Avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan
The 43rd Precinct's station house on Story Avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan

Officers under the command of Deputy Inspector Carlos Peralta matched their first-round performance from two weeks ago with just as much egregious bus lane hogging on Story Avenue this week.

Right on the block where the precinct sits, the red bus-only paths are overtaken by personal vehicles of the cops, along with their FDNY colleagues at the firehouse next door.

The pair of wrecked cars and the Dumpster where still dumped in the lanes right outside the station house as well, as was a big bin belonging to the firefighters up the block.

One of New York's Bravest chose to park his car in the bus lane right next to a hydrant. We'd point out the irony, but another firefighter did the same thing just around the corner the last time we visited.

That's the spot! Photo: Kevin Duggan
That's the spot! Photo: Kevin Duggan
That's the spot! Photo: Kevin Duggan

The disregard forces buses on the busy Bx5 line to weave into regular traffic, while riders have to step out into the street to get on at a bus stop that shares the block.

The route connects to several subway lines on the far side of the Bruckner Expressway for this community, which ranks 43rd out of the city's 59 community boards for bus speeds, even though most households don't own a car.

The officers still take up illegal parking spots inside the low-rise Clason Point Gardens public housing complex across the street, and a patch of lawn facing the road was again occupied by a vehicle, this time a different car without front plates.

The driver had a rear vanity plate that read RDOPAQUE, with two thin blue line stickers, showing 16 violations, including three for speeding and four for running red lights.

Another driver parked in a police-only space around the corner on Metcalf Avenue (with South Carolina plates!) had a whopping 18 speeding violations, eight of which were just last year, as well as running a red light and blocking the 14th Street busway.

Despite the plates from the Palmetto State, almost all those violations were in The Bronx.

As we found last time, bad driving is not an isolated incident at the 43rd. Out of the 62 vehicles whose plates we ran two weeks ago, four of them had been caught speeding 10 times or more in recent years, and another 13 have been hitting the gas too much five times or more.

47th Precinct (Wakefield)

The 47th fortress-like outpost on Laconia Avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan
The 47th's fortress-like outpost on Laconia Avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan
The 47th fortress-like outpost on Laconia Avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan

This precinct appears to have taken no notice of our first round of parking madness two weeks ago, because the Boys and Girls in Blue led by Inspector Osvaldo Nuñez have decided to continue with business as usual.

That means taking up entire sidewalks around the Laconia Avenue station house with combat-parked cars, despite having an entire parking lot to themselves across the street.

It also means showing little regard to their public housing neighbors at Edenwald Houses, whose windows still face the exhaust of squad cars backed up on the sidewalk.

The sidewalks on E. 229th Street and Grenada Place are completely blocked by the cops's cars, including several dedicated "supervisor" spots law enforcement has claimed on the former roadway.

There were several missing or defaced plates, either bent or scratched, near the fortress-like outpost.

One car with a heavily-dented plate sitting in a "supervisor" spot had two speeding tickets, another red light ticket, and was twice caught blocking the vital E. 161st Street bus lanes near the Bronx courthouses in the southern part of the borough.

Another driver a block over had a partially scratched off plate with five speeding tickets on its record, but the last one was more than two years ago.

Of the 48 plates we ran the first time we stopped by the 47th, 11 cars had sped five or more times, including five who hit the gas above the limit 10 times or more.

Despite these cops driving with reckless abandon around the city and to this neighborhood near its northern limits, most local commuters take public transit or walk, even as the majority of households own a car.

But which precinct should advance to the Final Four? You get to vote (and tell your friends to vote) from now until Thursday at 11:59:59 p.m.

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