PARKING MADNESS 2021: The Queens Borough Final May Be the Most Important Contest of the Tourney!
This is the second matchup in the borough finals (aka second round) of our annual March (Parking) Madness competition. Vote at the bottom (polls are open until Sunday at 3 p.m.). Click here for the first-round recap, and click here to read about how the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn stunned the world to make it to the Final Four.
Sometimes the most important matchup in a four-round tournament comes well before the championship game.
And that’s what we’re seeing today, as the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst battles the 114th Precinct in Astoria for the Queens championship (and the right to face the Brooklyn champions, the 67th Precinct, in the Final Four round next week).
Never have two precincts been more perfectly matched: Both treat their neighbors like garbage (and, more accurately, to garbage, as the streets around both station houses are like junkyards). But before we get to today’s featured bout, let’s first recap how the competitors made it to the borough finals:
- The 110th Precinct got here in a dominating fashion reminiscent of the 1940 NFL championship game, triumphing over the 115th Precinct in nearby Jackson Heights in a 91-percent-to-9-percent final vote.
- The 114th Precinct made it to the borough finals in a similar landslide besting the 108th Precinct by 88 percentage points!
Many times after winning in a laugher, even our top competitors suffer a let-down. Will either of these defiantly abusive precincts stumble? Let’s see:
110th Precinct (Elmhurst)
You have to tip your hat (and really buckle your bike helmet) when a true champion like the 110th Precinct wins a laugher in the first round yet comes back stronger than ever. But that speaks to the training that Capt. Jonathan Cermeli has given his band of space-hungry frat boys.
Situated on quiet, residential 43rd Avenue, the cops at the 110th Precinct treat their neighborhood like the Roman Empire treated Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa — it’s just land to seize. When we visited earlier in the month for the first-round matchup, the situation was dire — police officers’ personal vehicles were everywhere! But somehow, the parking madness has gotten even worse; there are, believe it or not, more illegally parked cars.
Let’s start with a slideshow of the general chaos:
The 110th Precinct has institutionalized their Parking Madness in a way that few other commands have. For instance, cops here have painted yellow lines on the street to create massive double-parking zones for themselves. Here’s a slideshow of those:
Streetsblog watched it all go down: one officer entered 43rd Avenue in a Kia, drove slowly up the block, waited for a brother officer to hop into his own car and leave the area, leaving the “space” open for the Kia driver, who then left his car in the middle of the street (leaving enough room for an officer who was parked on the curbside, to get out later). Here’s what that looked like:
The cops here violate all three words in their “CPR” motto in how they treat area pedestrians. They simply leave their cars in people’s driveways and against walls so no one, other than a car in the narrowed center lane of the roadway, can pass.
Here’s what that looks like:
And they just steal whatever space they want with barricades:
It wouldn’t be a championship-worthy precinct without at least one corner featuring what we’ve come to call “The Trifecta” — at least three curb cuts blocked in the same intersection. Here it is, in our composite photo:
And, finally, we visited on St. Patrick’s Day, when the officers were obviously in a particularly feisty mood, honking at their brother cops as they drove down the street.
Because nothing says good neighbor like a bunch of cops honking for no reason.
Dear readers, we may just have presented the precinct that goes on to victory in the entire tournament. Or have we…?
114th Precinct (Astoria)
We were worried that the 114th, after its difficult victory over an under-respected 108th, wouldn’t have enough left for a second round match-up against a powerhouse like the 110, but Capt. Ray Jenkins’s troops have brought their A game.
Not only are there far more illegally parked cars on the 35th St. bridge over the Grand Central Parkway than during our first-round visit, but the side streets are choked with police officers vehicles inhibiting the flow of traffic to the point where neighbors are so frustrated that they start honking the instant the traffic signal turns green (unless maybe the DOT has invented a signal that cuts out the middleman and does that automatically?)
Here’s a quick overview shot of 35th Avenue, just to the east of the station house:
Mostly, however, this precinct excels at blocking pedestrian access to the sidewalk, which the cops here treat like vendors at a street fair. Here’s a slideshow of the most egregious offenses:
The 35th Street bridge is really the epicenter of this station house’s contempt for the neighborhood. It’s already a narrow, two-way roadway that connects two high-speed, high-congestion roadways, meaning there are too many cars to begin with. Here’s how the 114th has commandeered the road:
And it wouldn’t be a trophy-worthy precinct without a few cops blocking the fire hydrants:
Here’s one last loving slideshow tribute to a terrible precinct:
But which of these two terrible commands has what it takes to go to the Final Four? Please vote below. Polls are open until Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.
So who should move onto the Final Four?
- The 114th (Astoria)? (70%, 145 Votes)
- The 110th (Elmhurst)? (30%, 63 Votes)
Total Voters: 208
And in case you’re wondering, here’s what the bracket looks like now: