Whenever I stay at Shannon’s apartment, my morning walk to the subway takes me down a long crosstown block that has angle parking. Every single morning that I walk that stretch of Manhattan pavement, there are at least three specific cars that are illegally parked, a black Lincoln Continental that’s nosed into a fire hydrant, a maroon Bonneville that’s up against another fire hydrant, and a dark grey Cadillac-type sedan that sits in a zebra-striped loading zone. All three cars have laminated signs on the dashboard identifying their drivers as members of the NYC police force.

The short walk from my apartment to Shannon’s takes me past the neighborhood police and fire stations, and on the block, there are invariably about a dozen cars, trucks, and SUVs parked illegally — in crosswalks, against fire hydrants, double- and triple-parked, blocking driveways — all with either shields or laminated signs on the dashboards. The volume of illegal parking on the block has made the extra-wide sidewalks into valid driving lanes, used to escape parking spots that remain blocked for hours and hours; it has also caused otherwise-legal parkers to leave their car six or eight feet out from the curb, so that there’s no room for someone to illegally block them in.

I gotta say, as an occasional New York City driver, count me in as strongly in favor of the aggressive enforcement of this city’s parking laws, but make sure that the new swarms of traffic cops ticket everyone, not just us hoi polloi who don’t have a badge.


Have you considered snapping photos of them (sticker, hydrant, and license plate included), and sending them to the Voice or some other organ of the disenfranchised?

Might make for a little stir.

• Posted by: vis10n on Feb 10, 2003, 11:46 AM

In Chicago, the get-out-of-parking-tickets-free card was leaving a cop’s standard notebook (3” by 10”, spiral bound at the top) prominently on the dashboard .. until the local media entizzied itself over this discovery, embarrassing the department into at least a temporary crackdown.

It’s so bad, that I knew a gal who was a cop’s *girlfriend* and expected special treatment based on her PBA badge bumper sticker. No hydrant, or driveway, was safe near her.

• Posted by: Dan Hartung on Feb 11, 2003, 2:09 AM

Two winters ago I witnessed a wonderful thing. I was having a drink in a bar after work on Boylston St. in Boston, next to the Back Bay Fire Station. A fireman ran into the bar and asked if anyone drove a blue BMW, nobody answered, and the fireman ran back outside.

I stepped out to see what was going on, and saw a brand-spanking new BMW convertible parked right in front of one of the fire truck bays. The garage doors opened, and a fire truck came barreling out the door - crashing right into the BMW, knocking it out of the way.

I felt no pity for the BMW owner who would certainly have to pay a hefty ticket, tow fees, repairs to his car, PLUS the damage to the bumper of the fire truck. A great lesson for parking scofflaws.

• Posted by: Steve Riden on Feb 11, 2003, 9:39 AM

Steve, that’s just *awesome* — I would have paid cash money to be there when the schmuck came back to find his BMW demolished by a 30 ton truck. That’d be one hell of a bill for repairs, too; what kind of excuse could he possibly make to his insurance company?

• Posted by: Jason on Feb 11, 2003, 11:09 AM

Steve, that’s the most heart-warming story I’ve read all day! Thank you for sharing it.

• Posted by: lia on Feb 12, 2003, 5:28 PM
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