MARCH (PARKING) MADNESS: Two Queens Precincts that Are Simply Outrageous

Welcome to the second round of our annual March (Parking) Madness contest! Starting today, we’ll roll out our four Borough Finals, having pared down the Shameful Sixteen down to the Hateful Eight. And for a reminder on why we do this contest, click here.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

This year’s Queens borough final will look familiar to fans of this contest — it’s a rematch of last year’s Queens borough final, pitting last year’s eventual contest winner loser, the 114th Precinct in Astoria, vs. last year’s favorite, the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst! Both precincts have long been known to treat their neighbors like garbage, but at least the 114th in Astoria appears to be on the mend. Perhaps this is the year the 110th goes all the way! Make sure to vote below. Polls will remain open until Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The 110th Precinct (Elmhurst)

Deputy Inspector Jonathan Cermeli’s cops made it to the borough final in an easy romp in the borough semis, vanquishing Forest Hills’s 112th Precinct by a Soviet-era landslide vote of 83-17. But, of course, we weren’t surprised, given what we have found at the 43rd Avenue stationhouse over the years: squad cars and police officers’ private vehicles left in a seeming hodgepodge all over the neighborhood.

Our most recent visit suggested that the 110th has made no effort at reform. This time around, we showed up as the morning shift arrived for work, and found cops endangering pedestrians as they backed into combat-zone spots, both in front of the precinct and on 95th Street, the main side street near the stationhouse, which looks like this:

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We didn’t get a picture of it, but the blue Toyota Tundramelter in the foreground of two of those pictures above was driven by a cop (in uniform) who pulled up, swung his car around fast, and then revved it to get its rear tires onto the sidewalk. We mention it not because it’s that out-of-the-ordinary, but it was still super annoying.

But that’s just a prelude to what visitors to Elmhurst find on the actual precinct block, which is 43rd Avenue between 95th and 94th streets.

Since January, 2014, there have been 95 reported crashes on the block, injuring one cyclist, one pedestrian and three motorists, according to city stats. On the block of 43rd Avenue directly to the east of the stationhouse block, there have been just eight reported crashes, over the same period. That’s 91 percent fewer crashes for people lucky enough to not live on the block with this stationhouse on it.

On the parallel block of 44th Avenue to the precinct block, there were just 10 reported crashes, injuring no one.

One might wonder why neighbors accept this level of violence in front of their own homes, but the problem actually starts … in front of their homes! On 43rd Avenue, cops stash their squad cars and sometimes their personal cars in residents’ driveways. We’re remarked upon this before, but in our experience, there really is no parallel for this kind of treatment of neighbors of a stationhouse. Just look at these pictures!

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We reached out to the NYPD to see if the 110th Precinct has some arrangement — like paying rent! — with neighbors to allow them to block driveways and garages with their squad cars, and agency spokesperson Lt. Jessica McRorie said the 110th “has a working relationship with some neighbors to park in their driveway on a temporary basis.”

We asked the obvious follow-up: Are cops, taxpayers — or anyone — paying for this working relationship?

“There is no payment involved,” McRorie added.

We asked some follow ups, but were ignored. Clearly, we will get to the bottom of this if the 110th Precinct advances to the Final Four (leading us to beg you to vote for the 110th, especially given what you will read below.)

The 114th Precinct (Astoria)

Last year’s tournament winners losers, the 114th Precinct got their borough final bid thanks to an easy victory over their counterparts in Jamaica, but in some sense, the troops under the command of Deputy Inspector Ray Jenkins don’t deserve to even be at the brink of the Final Four.

Yes, the cops and employees at the Astoria Boulevard stationhouse still leave their garbage cars all over the place — littering the already narrow 35th Street bridge over the Grand Central Parkway, for example, or combat parking on three sides of the stationhouse.

But maybe this contest has chastened them a bit. On our most-recent visit last week, we found fewer examples of outrageous disrespect of the neighbors than we have come to expect.

First, the bad news: Sure, cops still park in an aggressive fashion on all the roads around the precinct (see below).

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As the slideshow above shows, there was even a Virginia-plated car parked in the NYPD-only zone, meaning that this cop or police employee is likely engaged in some kind of insurance fraud. And not only insurance fraud; we ran the plate, and this NYPD employee has racked up 29 tickets, including eight camera-issued speeding and three camera-issued red light tickets. That’s bad.

Also, cops at this stationhouse leave lots of junked cars around, which send a message to the neighbors that they don’t matter:

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But we were also impressed surprised that an area that was filled with garbage last year has now been cleaned up:

Gone was last year's broken wine bottle and trash.
Gone was last year’s broken wine bottle and trash.

It’s a hollow victory, given how the cops at the 114th still routinely violate basic rules. Here’s this year’s slideshow of how they treat a 35th Street connecting the north side of Astoria Boulevard and the south side:

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We ran the plates on all 16 cars that were parked illegally on that bridge. We found:

  • One car that claimed to belong to the chief of the Rosyln Highlands police department (which may or may not exist).
  • One squad car.
  • Just three cars that got no tickets at all.
  • Seven cars with multiple moving violations, including:
    • Two cops with four speeding tickets (but only one with a National Rifle Association and Punisher sticker on the back of the car).
    • One speedy cop who got three speeding tickets on the same day: Oct. 15, 2021.
    • One with 10 speeding and one red light ticket June, 2021.

Again, we’ve seen worse. The cops at the 114th were barely even blocking traffic on Astoria Boulevard when we showed up around shift-change on the afternoon of the vaunted borough final!

They’ve changed. And, frankly, they don’t deserve to repeat as champions disgraced participants of this contest. But who are we to tell you what to do? Vote below! Polls will stay open until Wednesday at noon.

[poll id=”148″]


Bash at the beach. That's a good headline. Photos: Dave Colon

March (Parking) Madness: Bash at the Beach

Today's competition is a beach-side battle pitting the Rockaway peninsula's two precincts against each other. Befitting the good vibes of the nearby beach, the entire experience was pretty chill, save for a burned-out car getting its own parking spot for some reason.