March (Parking) Madness: It’s Bronx vs. Brooklyn in the Tournament Final!

We have finally reached the last contest in our annual March (Parking) Madness contest, with the 75th Precinct in Brooklyn surviving three rounds to meet the equally successful 43rd Precinct in The Bronx in a head-to-head, mano-a-mano, coche-a-coche, loser-take-all fight. Click here to read how both precincts made it to the finals. And please remember to vote at the bottom. Polls will remain open until Tuesday, April 11 at noon.

It's the finals! Click to enlarge.
It’s the finals! Click to enlarge.

Today’s matchup was one month in the making. Going into this year’s March (Parking) Madness tournament, we knew that the 75th Precinct of Brooklyn would be a favorite — what with all our prior coverage of that command’s land grabs in East New York.

But the 43rd Precinct is a bit of a Cinderella in this year’s contest — a real bracket-buster, as they say.

The only question is which precinct deserves to roll off with our trophy for the most disrespectful in the city? Many have competed, but only one station house has what it takes to be dishonored with the trophy. Who will it be? It’s up to you (vote at the bottom of this post).

75th Precinct (East New York)

Check out how many cars are going the wrong way.

We have visited the Sutter Avenue station house four times for this contest alone and the prevailing feeling we have whenever we go there is abject depression. There are simply no other precincts that have as much contempt for the residents around it, as well as bus riders who are stuck trying to get through the neighborhood.

Let’s start with a slideshow of the overall chaos that greets people who want to visit the station house:

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It’s not just a mess, but Sutter Avenue is also a bus lane, so the police parking has a very negative effect on the ability of transit to move through the area smoothy:

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But all this chaos and transit congestion comes even though the NYPD has commandeered so much space in the neighborhood for officers’ parking. As Streetsblog reported last year, the East New York Community Land Trust identified 73 underused NYPD lots citywide that could be developed into housing or commercial space — and several of them are in the 75th Precinct.

The precinct’s main parking lot — on Sutter Avenue between Linwood and Elton streets, pictured below — is the most egregious example. It’s zoned for residential, and owned by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, not the NYPD, according to city maps. Yet all day long, it’s filled with scores of cars, instead of hundreds of people.

This parking lot occupies the entire north side of Sutter Avenue between Linwood and Elton streets.
This parking lot occupies the entire north side of Sutter Avenue between Linwood and Elton streets.

Two blocks to the east is another lot that is zoned for residential use, but also filled with police cars. This lot, at least, is owned by the NYPD, according to city records.

“For too long the community of East New York, and others like it, have had to endure neglect and divestment from both private and public institutions,” Boris Santos, the East New York Community Land Trust board treasurer, told Streetsblog last year, demanding that the city turn over the lot at 987 Sutter Ave., which is used by the 75th cops.

The issue is not only housing, but also basic respect. During our most-recent visit, we saw a UPS delivery worker nearly get hit by a police officer driving his car into one of the private lots because the delivery worker was looking up the block for oncoming traffic rather than looking the other way to make sure he wasn’t about to get hit by a police officer driving the wrong direction on Linwood Street!

We ran the plate on that cop’s car and here’s what we found: six camera-issued speeding tickets (five since 2019). Is this really the kind of person Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell wants representing her cops?

And does she really want police officers — who have four parking lots for their own use — blocking sidewalks, as Inspector Rohan Griffith’s troops constantly do? Check it out:

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Other sidewalks are filled with junked cars, including the one we spotted weeks ago:

The whole place is a mess — and you, dear voters, can send a message. But first, let’s read about the challenger in the far corner:

43rd Precinct (Soundview)

The 43rd Precinct house.
The 43rd Precinct house.

As soon as you hit Metcalf Avenue, you know you’re close to Deputy Inspector Carlos Peralta‘s 43rd Precinct station house, because the entire bus lane — on both sides of Story Avenue — through Noble Avenue is blocked by cars. In some spots, the city couldn’t even finish laying down the red paint.

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In a neighborhood where more than 50 percent of residents don’t own a car and rely on public transit to get to work, according to city stats, the cops’ seizure of public space in the Boogie Down is downright disrespectful, according to one area resident, who said the NYPD’s nonsense even spills over into where she lives in Clason Point Gardens.

“We live up in here and they take our parking … and not only that, even my walkway, they park in my walkway and everything so if I come in with a shopping cart, you can’t even get in,” said the resident, who declined to give her name, also referring to cops parking in the bus lane.

This patch of grass makes the perfect spot for this disrespectful cop.
This patch of grass makes the perfect spot for this disrespectful cop.

Officers parking on what should be green space inside the low-rise public housing complex is such a regular occurrence that a likely NYPD-affiliated car with no front license plate was spotted on the same patch of dirt each of the four times Streetsblog visited the area — albeit a different car each time.

But it’s not just cars that the cops dump in the bus lanes — forcing the people-movers to veer into regular traffic and straphangers to board and exit the bus in the middle of the street — it’s literal Dumpsters filled with trash as well. Though not all of the garbage makes it into the dumpster — a lot of it ends up underneath the parked cars, making the area uniquely uninviting and literally, trashed. The cops also dump banged up cars on the street for weeks at a time.

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And it’s not just the bus lanes where the cops stash their private cars and squad cars, but in front of fire hydrants, on the sidewalk, and in the crosswalk too — blocking the curb cut for people in wheelchairs and those with strollers.

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On Thursday, when Streetsblog visited the station house, one of New York’s Finest had (rightly) pulled over a car with no plate, front or back, in the Story Avenue bus lane. It’s unclear if the cop issued the driver a ticket. But somehow, the cop seemed to have missed his own colleague’s car with a defaced license plate! And with a decal that says “Eat, Sleep, Shoot.”

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But probably the most egregious act committed by the 43rd Precinct this time was that the kittens we spotted on our list visit were nowhere to be found.

Where'd they go? Adorable kittens that were once outside the 43rd Precinct.
Where’d they go? Adorable kittens that were once outside the 43rd Precinct.

So which precinct should win lose our annual contest over disrespecting its neighborhood the most? It’s time to vote. Polls are open until Tuesday at noon.

[poll id=”172″]