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The City Council’s attempt to return parking privileges to the New York press corps faces opposition, ironically enough, from the New York City Police Department. A car with state-issued press license plates parked illegally on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn. While the bill would not provide physical parking placards for press vehicles, the effect would essentially be the same.
The press was explicitly given a similar privilege until 2009, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg stripped it as part of a general cutback on placard distribution. The agency with the most placards is NYPD, whose officers have made a laughingstock of the current system by parking their personal vehicles anywhere with impunity, with or without official placards.
Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn is one of the most important segments in the city’s bike network, the key passage to and from the Manhattan Bridge. The chaos on Jay Street emanates from placard holders and fake placard holders who park all over the place.
Advocates campaigned long and hard to get the city to redesign Jay Street, and this summer, DOT plans to flip the bike lane with the parking lane to provide some physical protection. The bike lane could be wider if it weren’t for all the placard parking on Jay Street. Last night, DOT presented its proposal for a protected bike lane on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn to the Community Board 2 transportation committee [PDF].
The project will replace painted lanes between Sands Street and Fulton Street with curbside parking-protected bike lanes.
Many design details are still in development, including the Smith Street segment between Fulton Mall and Schermerhorn Street, the intersection with Tillary Street, and the area around the Manhattan Bridge. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is open to clearing Borough Hall Plaza of parked cars, and he also wants City Hall to study a car-share system for government agencies in Downtown Brooklyn. We reported last November that Adams and his staff resumed using the plaza as a parking lot after an $11 million rehab, following the lead of his predecessor, shameless space hog Marty Markowitz. In a recent letter to Mayor de Blasio, Adams said he is considering an internal survey to determine how Borough Hall employees get to work and looking at using off-site garages instead of the plaza. Fraudulent parking placards are rampant in NYC, but NYPD remains opposed to a bill that would require the city to include a barcode on placards to ensure proper enforcement.
Schroeder said the legislation doesn’t give NYPD enough time to build a secure database of placards issued to city agencies by DOT and NYPD.
There are approximately 104,000 valid NYC parking placards in circulation, with the largest chunk distributed to members of NYPD. The placard system is problematic for several reasons, including the fact that it creates a huge incentive to drive for tens of thousands of public employees in some of the most transit-rich parts of the city.
Last week reader Brian Howald called our attention to the vehicles parked on the newly refurbished surface of the plaza by Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Borough President Adams made sure when he funded the renovation of Borough Hall Plaza, one of his first priorities following his election, that the bluestone replacement would be a durable yet aesthetic material that could withstand the significant amount of civic and community activity, including vehicle use.
Eric Adams can’t snap his fingers and fix all of this, but he sets a powerful example.
To change the culture of placards and official entitlement to park anywhere at any time, Brooklyn Borough Hall is a fine place to start.
Chris Martin walks around illegally parked cars belonging to Con Ed workers on the way to his job at a TV shoot for Blue Bloods. Cars belonging to Con Edison employees assigned to a project on the Queensboro Bridge are squeezing pedestrians into the roadbed as workers illegally park on the sidewalk. Con Ed workers have been placing their orange safety vests on the dashboards of their cars, and according to neighbors, no ticketing has occurred. Con Edison replied in a statement: “We’ve been doing repair work on transmission cables under the bridge and will inform our employees not to park on the sidewalk areas. On Monday the Times published an in-depth piece on how Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is aiming to boost NYPD morale, in part by giving officers more latitude to skirt departmental rules. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg instituted a number of reforms intended to cut down on illegal parking by city employees. When Ray Kelly was police commissioner, cops criticized the Internal Affairs Bureau tow unit, saying it interfered with police work. Cops and other government employees who ignore parking rules clog streets, hurt businesses, and block sidewalks and bike lanes.
How much has NYPD been enforcing police placard abuse, and to what extent did the tow squad contribute to that? Rodriguez, who said today that he hoped the bill would gain the support of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and expressed confidence that it would garner a veto-proof majority, was joined this morning by fellow council members Laurie Cumbo, Daniel Dromm, and Corey Johnson. I asked Rodriguez if he would give up his parking placard, like State Senator Tony Avella does each year. The legislation would not actually give parking placards to the media, but would exempt them from meters and time limits. The New York Press Photographers Association has been leading the charge to restore this privilege.

The DOT disability parking permit on the dashboard expired weeks ago, but this driver continues to park in a no parking zone, blocking the curb ramp. The disability permit in the vehicle I photographed for the earlier post was set to expire at the end of October. Multilevel stack parking lot filled with cars from different manufacturers in Midtown Manhattan, New York City.
On the east coast of the United States there is place called New York City…oh, you’ve heard of it, have you?
Especially the buzz and bustle here from right after the sun goes down until way late into the night.
On any given day, celebrities and world leaders join millions of locals and tourists, rich and poor, going about daily life on the streets of New York. Black, white, old, young, American or ex-pat, residents of Harlem are proud in a way unlike any other New Yorker. The pet-owners and joggers in the morning, before the nannies and professional dog-walkers invade in the afternoon. The views from the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building let you get such a good feeling for this dense city.
Contrasting people who live out near Coney Island to those on the Upper East Side, and marveling at the fact that no matter their differences, they are all still New Yorkers.
With the exception of accommodation, hanging out in New York City can be cheap as chips and exhilarating at the same time.
I forgot about those creative parking spots, I used to spend ages trying to work out how they got them all up and down. Thank you, Caz, I was wondering exactly the same thing when we were there – how do they get the cars up there, what if the owner of the car on top comes back first, how does it work??
I love New York and your list was wonderful… however, the horse drawn carriage rides should be taken off this list. This city has so many different faces and some are easy to catch, like the things that you can find in the guide books. There are supposed to be limits on the parking privileges conferred by placards, but in practice, placards are routinely abused as a blanket exemption from all parking laws.
Currently, vehicles with state-issued “New York Press” license plates may park in certain press-designated parking zones. Members of the media at today’s hearing conceded they already count on lenient traffic enforcement agents to give them a pass when they park illegally.
So it was more than a little ironic that NYPD Inspector Dennis Fulton opposed the expansion of parking perks at today’s City Council transportation committee meeting. Whose entitlement to convenient personal parking trumps street safety and good bus service for everyone? I made a few trips in the past week to document the placard abuse up close.
During a 12-hour weekday period, DOT counted 2,400 cyclists on Jay Street, with bikes accounting for 34 percent of vehicles during rush hour. The new design will save cyclists from having to dodge between double-parked cars and moving traffic.
DOT Bicycle Program Director Hayes Lord said the department will come back to CB 2 at a later date, likely in May, to review the final details of the proposal. Where Jay Street approaches Sands Street, DOT will create a new access point for cyclists through the fence that separates the bike lane from the bridge, so people on bikes can steer clear of right-turning motorists. The Department of Buildings, the Department of Education, and DOT are among the agencies with offices in the area.
He also noted that barcodes would not be able to completely prevent the fraudulent reproduction of placards, since they can be easily scanned and copied. Legitimate placards are often abused as entitlements to park illegally in bus stops, crosswalks, or no-standing zones. We checked in with Borough President Eric Adams’ office, and a spokesperson said that yes, the cars do belong to Adams and his staff. Illegal parking is a problem all over Downtown Brooklyn, largely because government workers endowed with placards park wherever they want.
Former borough president Marty Markowitz was the living embodiment of official driving privileges that trump the law and public safety.
On both the east and west sides of Vernon Boulevard at Queens Plaza South, near Queensbridge Park and Queensbridge Houses, sidewalks are being used as private parking for bridge workers. Bratton is seeking to alter departmental culture: He disbanded a so-called tow-away squad that had been giving tickets to and towing department cars on official business but parked improperly. But once the city starts backsliding, the placard enforcement gains of the past seven years could easily slip away. Association board member Robert Roth said the de Blasio administration has not set up a meeting to discuss a change in policy, despite multiple requests — which is why the association turned to the City Council.
Being parking space scarce in Manhattan, these open-air structures are becoming popular as an alternative to large parking garages.
Watching the neighborhoods change as we walk all the way down 5th Ave from Harlem to Washington Square. Laying in the sun chairs on the rails of Highline Park – New York’s most exciting urban renewal project.

The genius eggplant Parmesan pizza slices at Underground Pizza around the corner from Wall St.
Standing in Grand Central station and imagining where everyone is going to and coming from in such a hurry. It might be testing out a highly-recommended hole in the wall and people watching in the park rather than Michelin-starred dining and a Broadway show, but no matter your budget, you will have a distinctly authentic New York time.
We were able to squeeze in six of NYC’s main attractions in three days without wasting any time lining up for tickets.
I’d love to go back in September when the colors of the leaves change – it must look so pretty! I’ve never really taken to New York City, even though I must have been there at least 10 times.
They’re cheap and you can get a fix anywhere in town ?? Plus they are just so so good! I love New York with all my heart and feel great pride at knowing others love it so much too.
Horses have been dying because of poor treatment and unsanitary conditions and it’s extremely dangerous and tiring for the horses to breathe in car fumes and constantly carrying the carriages and people. You’re definitely right, and I suppose there may have been a couple of newlyweds who diverted our attention away from that.
But there are also wonderful places that don’t fit into the guide books because there are just way too many. We are really into couchsurfing, definitely, and considered it for New York when we were there. An upcoming redesign of Jay Street should improve the situation, but it too will be hampered by the culture of parking placard abuse that pervades downtown Brooklyn streets.
Soon after the 84th Precinct cracked down on Jay Street placard abuse in 2014, the commanding officer was reassigned.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials advises that protected lanes should be at least five feet wide with a three-foot buffer from parked cars to keep cyclists clear of the door zone, but the Jay Street design calls for five-foot lanes with two-foot buffers. It’s going to be a tight squeeze, though: The proposed five-foot bike lanes and two-foot painted buffer are narrower than typical protected bike lanes in the city. He said NYPD was open to other strategies to improve enforcement, and expressed hope that DOT’s adoption of pay-by-phone parking technology could help mitigate the problem. Between Borough Hall, the courts, and the preponderance of police, the neighborhood is littered with cars parked on pedestrian turf, obstructing fire hydrants, and hogging metered spots on commercial streets all day long. Just slap a piece of laminated paper on the dash and you can break all the parking laws known to man — even the ones that purportedly govern the placard system. He set the tone by parking on the Borough Hall plaza and speeding down Brooklyn streets with lights and sirens blaring for no apparent reason. Calls to the precinct were referred to its community affairs division, which did not respond. In 2006, Transportation Alternatives found that just 12 percent of cars with placards in the southern section of Chinatown were parked legally [PDF].
We’ll have to download the Cat Power version and give it a listen, thanks for the tip. Great brunch places and secret restaurants like the Vutera underneath Rose live music at Grand St. Along the East Coast are other good spots like Lewes, DE, Hatteras, OBX which is all not too far so you could do it over a longer weekend if you’ve got a car. People should experience and all aspects of New York, but the horse drawn carriages should not be one of them. If you want to provide us with any insider tips or more information, we’d love to incorporate them into our next trip to your city. The problem was we had a short amount of time and couldn’t guarantee our dates in town until shortly before.
Buffers are usually three feet wide so cyclists don’t ride where they might get doored. The mere sight of something vaguely official-looking on a dashboard is enough to intimidate enforcement agents. That same year a survey conducted for an NYPD environmental impact statement counted more than 1,100 illegally parked cars with placards near One Police Plaza [PDF]. 214th Street, in Inwood, is a favorite spot for placard bearers, whether their parking credentials are legitimate or not.

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