MARCH (PARKING) MADNESS: Two Under-the-Radar Precincts Battle in the Manhattan Final

We’re now deep into the second round of our annual March (Parking) Madness contest, having pared down the Shameful 16 down to the Hateful Eight! On Monday and Tuesday, we rolled out our first two of four Borough Finals. So far, the 110th Precinct and the 84th Precinct have moved onto the Final Four, and there’s still time to vote in our Bronx borough final (vote here). And for a reminder on why we do this contest, click here.

This year’s Manhattan bracket began with four uptown precincts — and the two worst (the 24th and the 33rd) — have advanced to a borough finals that looks like a coin toss (but only because both precincts are equally horrendous). So let’s get to it.

24th Precinct (Upper West Side)

The W. 100th Street stationhouse — located between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues — advanced thanks to a relatively easy first-round victory over the Central Park Precinct, 65 percent to 35 percent.

It was surprisingly large margin, given that officers who work inside the sprawling green space are committing one of the most egregious thefts of public space by stealing prime jogging and riding space in one of the world’s premier parks, all so they don’t have to walk more than 30 feet to work.

But Deputy Inspector Naoki Yaguchi of the 24th Precinct gave the parkies a run for their money, and it’s clear that the several blocks surrounding the Upper West Side stationhouse are home to some of the biggest clusterfuckers on this side of the East River — the police officers leave their cars literally everywhere and anywhere: double-parked perpendicular to neighbors’ angle-parked cars and also against their own fellow cops’ combat-parked squad cars, in front of fire hydrants — so many fire hydrants — in crosswalks, and on sidewalks.

It’s difficult to determine what’s a moving lane, what’s a parking lane, and what’s a sidewalk.

And what likely adds to the chaos is that the cops and firefighters share a multi-purpose building on the block, so it’s not clear which public employee is doing the illegal parking (and all the illegal parking clearly is emboldening private citizen to simply follow the lead of the men and women in uniform).

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But it’s not just a mess. The 24th Precinct is also marred by death. Since January, 2019, there have been 2,234 reported crashes, causing 553 injuries, including to 116 cyclists and 149 pedestrians, and killing two cyclists and two pedestrians, according to Crash Mapper. Yet for some reason, despite all this reckless driving injuring their neighbors, cops in the 24th Precinct only wrote 340 moving violation tickets last month, a 32-percent decline from the 451 movers they wrote in February, 2021.

And these officers aren’t even working towards safety by improving their own behavior, leaving their own private vehicles in the crosswalk, forcing people pushing strollers to walk around their fancy wheels and into traffic. Shockingly, this Mercedes-Benz has only racked up five tickets since 2016, including two for speeding and one for going through a red light, but maybe the NYPD placard sitting on its dash played a role.

A car with NYPD placard parked in the crosswalk.
A car with NYPD placard parked in the crosswalk.

The 33rd Precinct (Washington Heights)

The Amsterdam Avenue station house moved past the 28th Precinct in a shocker in round one — a surprise because 28th Precinct cops block the painted bike lanes in front of the stationhouse all day long. Round one voters obviously believe the 33rd is even worse (and maybe we have all the defaced plates and the hand-written note from “retired Sgt. Gautreau to thank for that).

We didn’t see Gautreau’s illegally parked car during our borough finals site visit on Monday, but there were plenty of other illegally parked vehicles to fill its void.

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We don’t know from what end this fish stinks, but commanding officer Captain Bryan Natale certainly doesn’t seem to care where his officers leave their cars — in all the “No” zones, including “stopping,” “standing” “parking;” in front of fire hydrants; and on top of the Department of Transportation’s flexi-posts meant to protect the Edgecombe Avenue bike lane next to beautiful Highbridge Park.

Fine, we’ll give credit where credit is due: the actual bike lane itself was mostly clear. Not really an accomplishment worth celebrating given the precinct’s ample parking lot out back.

Cars too close to the bike lane outside the 33rd.
Cars way too close to the bike lane outside the 33rd.

Natale also isn’t doing enough to respond to the precinct’s high number of crashes caused by reckless drivers. Since January, 2019, there have been 3,172 reported crashes, causing 864 injuries and killing two pedestrians, according to Crash Mapper. Yet in February, 2022, Natale’s officers wrote just 258 moving violations total, down 60 percent from the 653 moving violations they wrote in February, 2021.

Those stats are not surprising stats given the recklessness displayed by the precinct’s rank-and-file officers behind the wheel. This red sports car — which donned an NYPD placard, but no front license plate — chose the worst of both worlds, with one half on the sidewalk and the other in the crosswalk. And not only that, it’s still managed to rack up two red light tickets and three speed camera tickets, according to city records.

This red car, with an NYPD placard in its dash, parked half on the sidewalk, half in a crosswalk.
This red car, with an NYPD placard in its dash, parked half on the sidewalk, half in a crosswalk.

But what’s even more egregious is the cops who are supposedly looking out for youngsters at the nearby Mirabal Sisters Campus, parking their squad cars on the sidewalk, in front of a crosswalk, next to the campus. So much for school safety!

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And what’s even more offensive to the area’s neighbors is that the cops do not clean up after themselves. In self-designated parking spots delineated by metal gates are heaps of trash swarming with flies, and god knows what else.

Trash piling up outside the precinct.
Trash piling up outside the precinct.

So which of these lawless jurisdictions should move onto the Final Four (or, as we call it in this contest, the Fubar Four)? Polls will remain open until Friday at noon, so please vote and tell your friends!

So Which Precinct Goes to the Final Four?

  • The 24th (Upper West Side)? (59%, 46 Votes)
  • The 33rd (Washington Heights)? (41%, 32 Votes)

Total Voters: 78

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The contest so far.
The contest so far.


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.