Much-Touted Crackdown on Placard Parking Not All It Was Cracked Up to Be
In spite of a putative crackdown on placard parking abuse that was slated to begin Monday, dozens of illegally parked cars bearing law enforcement placards remained on River Terrace this week.
Amid much fanfare, multiple City agencies recently announced that, starting Monday, they would take part in a crackdown on illegal parking by government employees, whose personal vehicles bear placards that allow them to leave their cars blocking bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bike lanes, and lanes needed for use by fire trucks and ambulances.
By Tuesday, it appeared that dozens of law enforcement personnel who work in Battery Park City hadn’t heard, or perhaps knew better. That morning, the Broadsheet counted 28 vehicles parked illegally on River Terrace, between Chambers and Vesey Streets, all of them displaying placards identifying the cars as belonging to police officers from various agencies. (Several of these placards had been altered, with the license plate number on the placard crossed out and written over, to match the plates on the car.) All were parked on the west side of the River Terrace, which is marked “No Standing Anytime.” None of these 28 vehicles had been issued a summons by the omnipresent and aggressive parking enforcement officers who patrol Battery Park City at all hours of the day and night, quickly writing tickets to violators who do not display government credentials.
On Wednesday evening, at a meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1), Betty Kay (who chairs CB1’s Transportation Committee) noted that the number of cars parked illegally on River Terrace had grown to 35.
Most of these vehicles appear to belong to officers assigned to the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), an arm of the Drug Enforcement Administration that is headquartered at 250 Vesey Street, in Brookfield Place. Because this office, which brings together more than 100 officers from a dozen-plus City, State, and federal agencies, conducts sensitive, undercover investigations, it must conceal from public view the vehicles it uses for actual law enforcement operations. For this reason, OCDETF pays for 130 parking spaces in an underground garage within 250 Vesey Street.
The vehicles parked on River Terrace appear not to be used for any official purpose. Rather, they are used by officers driving between their homes and the OCDETF office at Brookfield Place. During a 2018 meeting with CB1 officials, convened to address illegal parking by law enforcement personnel in Battery Park City, a New York Police Department commander was blunt about this, telling CB1 members that the officers at OCDETF required many dozens of street parking spaces, “for commutation purposes.”
Last February, when the City Council began debating a package of legislation designed to curtail illegal parking by placard holders, Council Speaker Corey Johnson said, “placard abuse is corruption, plain and simple, and New York City cannot tolerate it any longer.”
The comparison between corruption and using placards (which are supposed to facilitate official business or operations by government personnel in an emergency) is striking. Many dozens of law enforcement personnel use placards to park each day throughout Battery Park City (and hundreds more do the same throughout Lower Manhattan) in spaces that are off limits to people not fortunate enough to have such credentials. And the monetary value of such a privilege is substantial. Daily parking in a local garage runs, on average, to more than $50. Extrapolated to five days per week, and 50 weeks per year (allowing two off for vacation), this comes to $12,500. But the person paying this amount would have to earn approximately $16,000 before taxes in order to cover such an expense.
Alternately, parking illegally requires an even-larger budget, because the City’s parking enforcement agents are authorized to write repeated tickets to a single vehicle for the same violation throughout the day. But assume, conservatively, that a vehicle parked illegally is ticketed just twice each day (for the same numbers of days described above), and that each summons carries a fine of $101: the average price of a parking ticket in Battery Park City, which is tied for the highest anywhere in the five boroughs, according to a 2017 study by SpotAngels (a smartphone app that offers users real-time data about available street parking options nearby). In this hypothetical, the cost of the privilege rises to $50,500 per year, or more than $65,000 before taxes.
In either scenario, hundreds of government employees appear to be helping themselves to an illegal gratuity worth tens of thousands of dollars per year each. In an era when a police officer would fear serious consequences for accepting a free sandwich from a sidewalk vendor, this raises sobering questions about integrity.
According to the SpotAngels study, the Financial District is the most hostile environment for parkers anywhere in the five boroughs, with an average of 25 tickets written for each parking space every year, and each space subsidizing City government with about $2,219 per year. (This is more than twice the average for Manhattan as a whole, where each parking space disgorges an average of $1,093 in annual revenue.) In FiDi, this amounts to 118,289 violations written every 12 months. With an average fine of $89.10 per ticket, these summonses contribute an annual $10,537,000 to municipal revenue.
In Tribeca, the outlook is only slightly less grim. In that neighborhood, every parking space is the location for 18 violations per year, ringing an additional $1,559 on the municipal cash register. This totals up to 71,215 annual tickets for the community as a whole, with an average price $87.60, yielding $6,236,236 in funds for the City.
And if parking in Lower Manhattan is generally difficult, within Battery Park City, it borders on the impossible. The neighborhood is, in statistical terms, the most parking-deprived community in the five boroughs of New York City. With a residential population of more than 13,000 (and another 10,000 reporting here for work each day), it has just 201 parking spaces available to the public, of which 58 are metered and 143 are unregulated, except by alternate-side parking rules. (These figures come from a City Department of Transportation study, issued in 2008, the last year for which detailed numbers are available.) While there is ample curb space within the community’s 92 acres (enough for more than 1,600 parking spaces), 59 percent of it falls within zones that are signed “no standing” (785 spaces) and “no parking” (581 spaces). Much of the rest is set aside for commercial vehicles, buses, and vehicles displaying government placards.
Cuomo Announces Planned Expansion of Museum of Jewish Heritage
The Museum of Jewish Heritage
At his annual State of the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo included on his list of dozens of proposals an announcement that he was directing the Battery Park City Authority to develop an expansion plan for the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located within Wagner Park, on Battery Place.
Museum of American Finance Join us on the anniversary of Alexander Hamilton’s birth for a talk with Dr. Richard Green on Hamilton’s public administration. Dr. Green is Professor of Public Administration and Political Science at the University of Utah. He writes and teaches on the history and theory of public administration, emphasizing its relation to the Constitution and the rule of law, to public ethics and bureaucratic responsibility, and to the American political economy. He is the author of Alexander Hamilton’s Public Administration and co-author of Foundations of Public Administration, and he has authored many journal articles and book chapters in the field. Over the last 35 years, he has studied Hamilton’s ideas and practices of good government as an integral aspect of his research agenda. Presented in partnership with the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society. John Street United Methodist Church, 44 John Street. FREE
Friday Night Art House Classics: Putney Swope
Battery Park City Authority The best art house cinema is characterized by independent filmmakers with uncompromising vision. This series features courageous films inspired by the civil rights movement. Putney Swope is a 1969 satirical comedy film about a black advertising executive. The film satirizes the advertising world, the portrayal of race in Hollywood films, the white power structure and the nature of corporate corruption. Free popcorn will be served, and a discussion will follow the screenings. Mature audiences only. 6 River Terrace.
Cuomo Vetoes Legislation Sought by HRPT to Allow Development on Pier 40
The 14-acre former cruise ship terminal situated along the Hudson River waterfront, near West Houston Street, has evolved into a much-prized recreational facility.
On New Year’s Eve, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill passed earlier this year by both houses of the State legislature that would have allowed limited commercial development on Pier 40, the massive former cruise ship terminal on the Hudson River waterfront, adjacent to Houston Street, which covers 14 acres and now houses athletic and recreational facilities.
Such development would have helped to fund operations for the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), which oversees the four-mile-long riverfront park that stretches from the Battery to West 59th Street.
“Pier 40 is a very key element of the Hudson River Park,” noted Paul Goldstein, who chairs the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1), at an April meeting. To read more…
Today in History
49 BC – Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war.
AD 9 – The Western Han dynasty ends when Wang Mang claims that the divine Mandate of Heaven called for the end of the dynasty and the beginning of his own, the Xin dynasty.
1645 – Archbishop William Laud is beheaded at the Tower of London.
1776 – Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense.
1812 – The first steamboat on the Ohio River or the Mississippi Riverarrives in New Orleans, 82 days after departing from Pittsburgh.
1870 – John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil.
1901 – The first great Texas oil gusher is discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.
1920 – The Treaty of Versailles takes effect, officially ending World War I.
1927 – Fritz Lang’s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.
1962 – Apollo program: NASA announces plans to build the C-5 rocket launch vehicle, which became known as the Saturn V Moon rocket, which launched every Apollo Moon mission.
1990 – Time Warner is formed by the merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications.
1573 – Simon Marius, German astronomer (d. 1624)
1780 – Martin Lichtenstein, German physician and explorer (d. 1857)
1887 – Robinson Jeffers, American poet and philosopher (d. 1962)
1924 – Max Roach, American drummer and composer (d. 2007)
1945 – Rod Stewart, English singer-songwriter
1953 – Bobby Rahal, American race car driver
1276 – Pope Gregory X (b. 1210)
1778 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist and physician (b. 1707)
1917 – Buffalo Bill, American soldier and hunter (b. 1846)
1961 – Dashiell Hammett, American detective novelist (b. 1894)
1967 – Charles E. Burchfield, American painter (b. 1893)
2004 – Spalding Gray, American actor and screenwriter (b. 1941)
2016 – David Bowie, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (b. 1947)
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
Class-Action Suit on Behalf of Gateway Tenants Reaches Proposed Settlement
Attorneys representing Gateway Plaza residents in a class-action suit that began in 2014 have reached a tentative settlement with the LeFrak Organization, the landlords at Battery Park City’s largest residential complex, which they value at $42 million. To read more…
Church and Murray
Eyes to the Sky
January 6 – 19, 2020
Sun’s New Year, dawn and dusk planets
Click to Watch
Since the winter solstice, December 21, I have been particularly attentive to the Sun as it sets into the skyline to the southwest. Even though I know that the Sun is setting about a minute later everyday, I am impressed to notice that the location of the setting Sun has inched more westerly.
By the time of Vernal Equinox, March 19, sunset will be due west. Sunset today, the 6th, is at 4:43:33pm., an increase of 15 minutes from the earliest sunset on December 8th. Picking up momentum, we will experience a 14-minute gain of afternoon sunlight by January 19, when sunset time is 4:57:28pm. To read more…
Recalling Five Points
Epicenter of a Notorious Slum Proposed for Commemoration
The Five Points gang, a criminal organization that drew its members from the ethnic immigrant populations that inhabited the neighborhood.
In 1831, the City government considered a petition that warned, “that the place known as “Five points” has long been notorious… as being the nursery where every species of vice is conceived and matured; that it is infested by a class of the most abandoned and desperate character.”
A decade later, Charles Dickens, visiting New York, wrote of the same Lower Manhattan neighborhood that had inspired the petition, “what place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points…. To read more…
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Sunday January 19
07:00 ~ 17:00
Sunday February 2
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the Midtown Passenger Ship Terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from piers in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to passenger and propulsion problems, tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Death Came Calling at the Corner of Wall and Broad Streets, in Lower Manhattan’s First Major Terrorist Attack
In an instant, both wagon and horse were vaporized, and the closest automobile was tossed twenty feet in the air. Incredibly, the iconic bronze of George Washington surveys the devastation from the steps of the Sub-Treasury without so much as a scratch.
As the noon hour approached on a fall Thursday morning in 1920, a horse-drawn wagon slowly made its way west down Wall Street toward “the Corner,” the high-powered intersection of Wall and Broad. Its driver came to a gentle stop in front of the Assay Office, where stockpiles of gold and silver were stored and tested for purity. But theft was not his motive.