On Wednesday The Village Voice published an investigation into a constant problem plaguing a Midtown block: Police officers’ personal vehicles are hogging every space on 36th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. The scope of the story is small, but it illustrates the systemic dysfunction of how the NYPD operates; the gang-like, fuck-everyone-but-us mentality and utter unaccountability that allows them to abuse innocent passers-by, enact vigilante justice, and strangle civilians and get away with all of it.
Andy Hort, the subject of the Voice article, is the owner of Earth Enterprises, a printing business located on 36th Street. His business is being negatively affected by NYPD-affiliated vehicles that are parked thoughtlessly and never ticketed. He says that his vendors can’t make deliveries and his own trucks can’t even get to the building because there are so many Hyundais and Audis all over the block:
The cars that are giving him trouble aren’t police cruisers or other marked vehicles, but personal cars of members of the NYPD (and, in some cases, their families) as well as retired cops. And Hort says he would understand if the vehicles — almost uniformly parked without paying for metered parking, or with all manner of infractions, like in front of fire hydrants or in clearly marked “no standing” zones — displayed a valid police placard, which allows cops on official business to park where they need to without fear of a summons. But instead there are handwritten notes, reflective NYPD vests, badges that read “family of NYPD,” and, in some cases, just a copy of the NYPD patrol manual sitting on the dash. Fed up, Hort decided to start documenting what he saw.
What he found are unacceptable forms of identification that the nearby Midtown South Precinct nonetheless lets slide, because cops (and the people who know them) are free to do whatever they want.
After being ignored by neighborhood parking enforcement officers, Hort went to see a Midtown South sergeant about the problem, who confirmed that the vehicles are off-limits for ticketing, regardless of whether or not they have a valid placard.
Hort says that the sergeant told him “cops aren’t everyone else.” If the sergeant did in fact say this, it is as bald-faced a statement of how exceptional the NYPD believes itself to be as has ever been stated.
Hort says he’d understand and accept if it was just cops parking on the block, but that he’s observed people who have no right claim police exemption do so, like retired officers, family and friends, and even delivery drivers. As long as an excusatory note is placed in the window, anyone can park without fear of being ticketed.
“This is corruption,” Hort said. “Agreed, it’s small corruption. But it creates an arrogance that the police feel like they can do anything…the little things get into your head.”
The city is the NYPD’s parking lot, and there ain’t nothing nobody can do about it.
(Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)