Thursday, September 26, 2013


HELLO SERGEANT AL: My Flushing, Queens neighbor has been stealing traffic cones and poles from the city and placing them in front of his own residence to save the street parking for his own private use. I complained to the New York City's 311 non-emergency hotline number, and got a claim number, but when I checked the status it said, ".........The police department has determined that police action was not necessary." 

How can this be? You mean I can actually block a street parking spot in front of my house by stealing a cone from DOT (NYC Dept. of Transportation) or Con Edison? What can I do? Please help me. --PARKING VIP IS NOT FOR ME

DEAR NON VIP: MY GOODNESS: unofficial reserving of parking spots in Queens is such a NYC thing a lot of suburban household NYC residents do. It is quite annoying, illegal, and quite frankly, SELFISH. JUST BECAUSE A PARKING SPOT IS IN FRONT OF YOUR HOUSE DOESN'T MAKE IT EXCLUSIVELY YOURS, OK FOLKS? 

You see this happening more frequently in the NYC outer boroughs like Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and especially Staten Island, and more particularly and notoriously in the working middle class neighborhoods like Flushing, Bensonhurst, and Morris Park, where parking spaces are few, houses on top of each other are plentiful, and the residents have a sense of entitlement when it comes to parking in front of their own houses. You see this particularly after a snow storm when a resident has shoveled out their car to assume with entitlement that the shoveled space has now become theirs. But the law says differently:
The "Unofficial Reserving of a Parking Space" section of the New York City Traffic Rules s.4-08(n)(7) specifically states:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve a parking space, or prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through his/her presence on the roadway, the use of hand signals, or by placing any box, can, crate, handcart, dolly, or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway."

311 wasn't particularly helpful in your case NON VIP because the cops probably did go by to observe the condition but couldn't take action because:
A) The violation probably went away. Your neighbor had already parked his car to no longer need his detour of stolen traffic cones and pylons, or
B) The cops need to be present to observe your neighbor actually setting up VIP reserve parking or see him standing by the detour with the expectation of reserving parking.
These chairs are not set up for a Sunday afternoon high tea social . . .
The next step I suggest is simply moving the objects out of the way and park your car as you are entitled to do under the law. Don't let your neighbor stop you from parking your car in what is a legal parking spot for ALL citizens, not just his!

If you are afraid of vandalized reprisals to your car however, then the next step is snapping a picture of your neighbor's unlawful parking detour, preferably make a video of him setting it up, then go into your police precinct station house with the 311 claim number and show your photo evidence by speaking with a supervisory officer, either the desk officer or the precinct commander or the executive officer, then put the coals to his or her fire to make sure that his/her cops follow up to make sure that your "RESERVED FOR VIP PARKING" neighbor gets the message that reserving spots on the street are illegal and won't be tolerated on your block!

Good luck!

P.S. If you actually ask me, this is how I would personally solve this problem of someone who illegally reserves a parking spot on the street: CLICK HERE:

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Be safe out there.

Humbly Yours,


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