CB1 Decries Expanded Free Parking for Scofflaws with Badges
For years, cars bearing law enforcement placards have parked illegally on the west side of River Terrace each day. More recently, they have begun commandeering spaces on the east side of the street, once used to drop off and pick up school children, who must now venture into traffic.
Community Board 1 (CB1) is urging that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio remove what appears to be an unauthorized (and possibly illegal) parking sign on River Terrace, which has been used to broaden the already rampant problem of illegal parking by government employees whose cars display official credentials.
In a resolution enacted at its January 26 meeting, CB1 noted that the River & Warren condominium (located on River Terrace, at 212 Warren Street) had for years used “for safe drop-offs and pickups” a length of curb in front of the building, which was designed “No Standing Anytime.”
This came to an end last May, when the “No Standing Anytime” mysteriously disappeared, and was replaced by another that said, “No Parking.” This subtle distinction is crucial, because while cars displaying City-issued placards are sometimes issued summonses or towed from spaces beneath a “No Standing Anytime” sign, they can effectively park with impunity at spaces designated “No Parking.”
The change is mysterious because, as the CB1 resolution notes, the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT), “does not have a record of the street signs at that location or why the ‘No Standing Anytime’ sign, which was located at the northern edge of the building’s entry, was replaced with a ‘No Parking’ sign in May, 2020.”
The fact that DOT (the City agency that oversees parking regulations and signage) has no record of installing this sign suggests the possibility that employees from another agency may have erected it, without authorization.
Even before the change, River Terrace functioned as a de facto free parking lot for law enforcement officers assigned to 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. But many dozens of these officers appear to drive to their command post in Brookfield Place each day.
For those who lack the official (but extra-legal) privilege of leaving their cars wherever they please, parking unlawfully in Lower Manhattan is an expensive proposition. The average price of a parking ticket in Battery Park City is $101, 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).
But these issues are of little concern to the owners of dozens of vehicles parked each day on the west side of River Terrance, adjacent to Rockefeller Park. This quarter-mile length of roadway is subject to the City’s most stringent curbside ban, with signs reading, “No Stopping, No Standing, No Parking.”
And for anybody who lacks a placard, those signs should be taken literally: traffic enforcement officers regularly sweep along River Terrance, and selectively place summonses on vehicles not displaying official credentials. But almost all do have the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card: There is ample (but illegal) space for more than 50 vehicles on River Terrace, and each day, nearly all of those spots are filled, and the vehicles in them display placards go un-ticketed.
The cars parked on River Terrace and displaying placards 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.”
And with the change in signage in front of the River and Warren condominium, these officers have now expanded their free parking zone to the east side of River Terrace. As the CB1 resolution notes, “since the sign was changed, vehicles with placards have started parking in front of River and Warren’s entry all day, forcing residents, including school children, to be dropped off and picked up in the traffic lane.” The resolution continues, “the parking by the many with placards at the entry to River and Warren has also resulted in double parking or standing with traffic backups on River Terrace, a road that is already narrowed by the illegal parking on its west side.”
The resolution concludes that CB1, “implores the DOT to please change, as quickly as possible, the ‘No Parking’ sign at 212 Warren’s entry on River Terrace back to a ‘No Standing Anytime’ sign.”
Eyes to the Sky
February 22 – March 7, 2021
Sun’s return north, Lion springs tonight
The Sickle in Leo looks like a backward question mark and represents the head and shoulders on the lion. Regulus is the brightest star in Leo and the Sickle. The star Ras Elased is also known as Algenubi. Image via Derekscope.
It seems that we are born knowing that we can tell the time of day by the position of the Sun in the sky. The time of year is evident when we observe the changing location of the rising and setting Sun along the horizon, the trajectory of the Sun’s arc on the sky dome, and the length of day. In the illustration, February is represented by the third line. The whole image reflects our experience of the Sun’s northerly movement on the horizon from winter to summer solstice. We observe our star, the Sun, climb higher in the sky each day. On the vernal equinox, March 20, the sunrise point is due east on the skyline.
This simulated multiple-exposure image shows the path of the rising sun through the eastern sky on the morning of the 21st of each month, from December at the right through June at the left. The latitude was set to 41° north. (The spreading of the trails as they go upward is a distortion caused by stretching the domed sky onto a flat semicircle.)
For the period of this post, sunset is a minute later and sunrise about two minutes earlier each day. Our excitement with the quickening change of season, most evident in longer days, can only be equaled at nightfall when we discover the harbinger of spring constellation, Leo the Lion, climbing above the eastern skyline. Study the illustration of the star-studded Lion. Regulus, 1.34 magnitude, the constellation’s brightest star, marks Leo’s heart, followed by shoulder star Algieba, 2m. Denebola, 2.12m, punctuates the Lion’s tail. Regulus may be the only star visible with the naked eye in light polluted skies. Try searching for the others with binoculars. The Lion follows the winter constellation Orion the Hunter, both visible all night and setting in the west at dawn.
When we learn to tell the seasons – the time of year – by the position of stars and constellations in the evening sky, a sense of oneness with the night under the stars is awakened. When we recognize a star or star pattern, we step into a gathering of stargazers through the centuries.
Today, the 22nd, a gibbous moon rises in the east-northeast at 12:43pm. Sunset is at 5:38; twilight 6:06; nightfall 7:10. Stargaze early in the week while the moon is not so close to Leo as to overpower the stars of the constellation. The Full Snow Moon rises near the Lion’s tail at 6:17pm on the 27th.
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I wonder if NYC DOH is tracking city residents who receive their vaccinations outside the city.
Since the State website seemed less cumbersome, and I could sign up for an earlier date, I got my first vaccine upstate, actually, way upstate, and I’ll get the second vaccine there too.
Media have carried stories about downstate people traveling to Utica, Plattsburgh, Potsdam, etc. to get vaccines earlier. Maybe that’s the explanation. Or, maybe, downtown people are just younger on average. This would explain why northern BPC, home of Brookdale Assisted Living, has more completed second vaccines.
To the editor:
I’m writing in response to a recent letter in your publication that decried the idea of a dedicated bike lane over the Brooklyn Bridge as, essentially, woke craziness.
As a bicycle commuter from Battery Park City for more than 20 years, let me give an alternative view.
I’m a member of the Park Slope Food Coop, and bike over the bridge frequently to get there. At least pre-Covid, this was a nightmare. The bridge is -always- overrun with tourists, who do not notice the (not very prominent) signs asking pedestrians to stay on one side, and cyclists on the other. Consequently, there are always pedestrians straying ignorantly into the cyclist side, and getting across the bridge on your bike is a matter of ringing your bell constantly, moving slowly, and sometimes coming to a complete halt so someone can take a selfie.
Cyclists avoid the bridge for this reason, but in my case, the alternative (the Manhattan bridge) would add two miles to my journey, which on 60-something legs, is not desirable. And if the Brooklyn Bridge were more easily navigable by bike, I’m sure the number of cyclists using it would soar.
I’ll note that only a minority of lower Manhattan dwellers own cars; and, at least judging by the number of bikes locked in racks in Gateway Plaza, more own bikes than cars. A Brooklyn bridge bike path would benefit thousands of people a day, reduce risks to pedestrians on the bridge, and get us one inch closer to making New York a world class city for cyclists — and one inch closer to our necessary carbon-free future.
The letter to which I am responding decries already high traffic on the bridge (by which they mean car traffic, because cyclists and pedestrians evidently don’t matter). To which I can only say: Then get out of your ecologically catastrophic death machine, and take the subway like a normal person.
Flying on One Wing
Lower Manhattan Raptor Struggles to Survive
Financial District resident Janet Fish was walking home from her morning shift volunteering at the Bowery Mission recently when she found herself face to face with a local aristocrat. As she passed a pizzeria at the intersection of St. James Place and Madison Street, she was confronted by a stately red-tailed hawk, perched on a post.
Downtown Lags Five-Borough Averages for COVID Vaccination
Lower Manhattan is lagging behind the City-wide averages for rates of vaccination against COVID-19 among adults, according to data released by public health officials on Tuesday. To read more…
Appeals Court Focuses on Meaning of Four-Letter Word to Block Suit Against Two Bridges Development Plan
A coalition of community groups opposed to three massive real estate developments planned for the Lower East Side were dealt a setback on Tuesday, when the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court reversed a trial-court ruling from last year that said the projects were required to undergo a more rigorous form of public review before final approval.
City Planning Commission to Consider Endorsing Privatization of Public Space in Tribeca
On Tuesday, February 16, the City Planning Commission considered a request by the owner of large bank building in Tribeca, seeking to privatize in perpetuity a space it originally created as a public amenity. Community Board 1 (CB1) has strongly denounced this move.
Nine-Hundred Foot Tower Will Include 300-Plus Affordable Units
The boards of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) have both approved the proposal by a development partnership that wants to erect a 900-foot-plus tower at Five World Trade Center, a now-vacant lot that occupies the three-quarter-acre square block bounded by Liberty, Greenwich, Albany, and Washington Streets. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
No judgment for those of you who will want to drop those new year’s resolutions (or whatever other health kicks you’ve got going on) after reading this PSA:
NYC Restaurant Week launched this week, as hundreds of hot spots citywide have been lining up special delivery deals through February 28.
Promotions include lunch or dinner with a side for $20.21, two-course brunches and lunches ($26) and three-course dinners ($42), mostly Monday through Friday. (Some participating restaurants are honoring those prices on weekends.)
Dozens of restaurants south of Chambers Street plan to take part in NYC Restaurant Week, including Brooklyn Chop House, The Fulton, Crown Shy, Stone Street Tavern, The Dead Rabbit and more.
The Restaurant Week website lists several more tempting options to treat yourself — even if it means playing it a little fast and loose with your commitments to fitness. (We won’t tell.)
Transit Hub Becomes Venue for Multiple Violent Crime
The Fulton Center subway and retail complex (at the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street) has been the scene of several violent assaults in recent days. On Friday, January 29, shortly after 11:00 pm, a gang of six young people (four male and two female) quietly entered the Dunkin Donuts location within the facility, and crept up behind a man who was placing an order at the counter. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
1997 – In Roslin, Midlothian, British scientists announce that an adult sheep
named Dolly has been successfully cloned.
705 – Empress Wu Zetian abdicates the throne, restoring the Tang dynasty.
1371 – Robert II becomes King of Scotland, beginning the Stuart dynasty.
1632 – Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published.
1651 – St. Peter’s Flood: A storm surge floods the Frisian coast, drowning 15,000 people.
1856 – The US Republican Party opens its first national convention in Pittsburgh.
1872 – The Prohibition Party holds its first national convention in Columbus, Ohio, nominating James Black as its presidential nominee.
1879 – In Utica, New York, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of five-and-dime Woolworth stores.
1944 – World War II: American aircraft mistakenly bomb the Dutch towns of Nijmegen, Arnhem, Enschede and Deventer, resulting in 800 dead in Nijmegen alone.
1959 – Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.
1980 – Miracle on Ice: In Lake Placid, New York, the United States hockey team defeats the Soviet Union hockey team 4–3.
1983 – The notorious Broadway flop Moose Murders opens and closes on the same night at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.
1994 – Aldrich Ames and his wife are charged by the US Department of Justice with spying for the Soviet Union.
1997 – In Roslin, Midlothian, British scientists announce that an adult sheep named Dolly has been successfully cloned.
1732 – George Washington, American general and politician, 1st President of the United States (d. 1799)
1857 – Heinrich Hertz, German physicist, philosopher, and academic (d. 1894)
1892 – Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet and playwright (d. 1950)
1925 – Edward Gorey, American illustrator and poet (d. 2000)
1932 – Ted Kennedy, American soldier, lawyer, and politician (d. 2009)
1949 – Niki Lauda, Austrian race car driver
1111 – Roger Borsa, king of Sicily (b. 1078)
1512 – Amerigo Vespucci, Italian cartographer and explorer (b. 1454)
1890 – John Jacob Astor III, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1822)
1965 – Felix Frankfurter, Austrian-American lawyer and jurist (b. 1882)
1987 – Andy Warhol, American painter and photographer (b. 1928)
2002 – Chuck Jones, American animator, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1912)