In New York’s Strictest No-Parking Zones, Not Even the F.B.I. Is Exempt

For decades, the federal agency’s vehicles were off limits to tow trucks, but the New York Police Department has recently taken away hundreds of cars belonging to governmental entities.

Comments: 127

  1. official Bill Cosby said "Yeah....Right...."

  2. How about law enforcement officers stop acting as if they were above the law? Unless they are responding to an emergency, they should park legally like anyone else, "official business" or not.

    NYPD personnel is notorious for the illegal parking mayhem that they create around police precincts. In one that I pass by often, there are police cars parked on the sidewalk, perpendicular to the sidewalk, pointing the wrong way, on the bike lane, in the middle of the street, blocking the fire hydrant, blocking the crosswalk, and blocking access ramps. And I don't think all of these are even official cars: many seem to be police officers' personal vehicles.

    So Internal Affairs has towed 361 police cars in one year? That's not even the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg. I bet there are at least ten times as many police cars that are illegally parked in the city this very moment. And the same every single day.

  3. Government employees are always above the law and the agencies support their actions. If their car is towed, it is often the only day that some of them work (a day retrieving the car on tax payer time).

  4. When I lived in Turtle Bay some years ago, the NYPD had turned the local streets into private parking lots. They put up "No Parking" signs and promptly used not only official NYPD placards but also union membership cards to park there. I once saw a detective berate a ticket writer for trying to ticket his car. The excuse, from what I had read, is that the police were legally entitled to park anywhere they want.


    Looks like the City tried to stop this, and then backtracked.

  5. What's really disturbing here is the selective enforcement. Why not go back to writing everyone - including the NYPD - tickets (if you can find some ethical parking enforcement cops who are willing to do their job) rather than selectively towing vehicles, and at least get revenue from the misconduct of those who are supposed to serve us?

  6. Sometimes there may actually be a legitimate need to park somewhere normally off limits if you're an FBI agent or police officer.

    I think what irks a lot of ordinary people is many of these agents believe parking and other laws apply to the rest of us, not to them.

  7. They know the rules. Keep enforcing them. I fail to understand why they should be allowed to park on the street. If parking is so important build a lot for them. Parking in a lot is a reimbursable expense.

  8. If they are making an announcement at the office that they are towing cars, this would seem to indicate that the cars are not being used for official use but are just illegally parked for convenience. That the FBI then issues a form letter to get out of paying fines based on a false premise sounds like a crime and has elements of a conspiracy of criminality. It would have been nice to get a quote from an FBI official as to whether they think this is a crime or an ethics violation. Practically speaking, who would investigate the FBI?

  9. no fines are paid by the FBI or anyone else??? REALLY? give me a break!! pay up!!! that would discourage and teach the agents not to park indefinitely and illegally. I think there is a clear understanding by all of us (including parking enforcement) when a REAL emergency is taking place. Otherwise pay the meter fee or don't park.

  10. I agree. They should make the FBI agent, police officer, ADA pay the fine OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS. Make it a payroll deduction so it is shown on their pay stub. I don't want their offices paying the tickets out of their petty cash drawer.
    People who think that they're above the law are wrong. They are not.

  11. More than anything else, this shows lack of effective liasion by the FBI with the NYPD.
    Seems that Bratton and his boys want to control everything in our city, including impeding the investigation of federal crimes in our international metropolis.
    Perhaps the NYPD should tow its own blue and whites, and firetrucks and EMS vehicles as well if it feels a need to fill in wasteful hours of public time.

  12. bratton's been in office seven weeks. the towing has been going on for at least four years and was a ray kelly initiative.

  13. One illegally or otherwise "double parked" car actually invites other drivers to attempt the same thing, eventually blocking or slowing down entire blocks and essentially maintaining a chronic traffic problem. It's human nature in our city. It reminds me of the graffiti spray canned wall or sign invited litter, and more graffiti.
    I consider any illegally positioned car a dereliction of civic duty. A possible solution: provide one space per block or area that is LEGAL for OFFICIAL business only...for example I've noticed Embassy signs discourage illegal /double parking. (Bus stops are also less likely to be occupied, because when that big bus comes up on you and toots its horn, there's no choice but to get out of the way!)

  14. Here in Jersey, especially Newark, you'll even see official cars parking on sidewalks with impunity. I've even seen civilian cars with the "official placard" prominently displayed parked illegally, some blocking hydrants and crosswalks. Want real lawlessness? You'll just have to come to Jersey.

    I'm not sure why these officials are not being ticketed and charged tow/storage fees just like the rest of us. They're breaking the law!

  15. I assume the "unit" is a single truck...

    let's see 1,855 tows. About 220 working days per year (that's a low estimate) = less than 9 tows a day.

    Considering the number of illegally parked officer's and firefighter's vehicles and vehicles with clearly forged placards I see every time I get near a precinct house or station house (most personal, not unmarked cars) this is a drop in the bucket.

  16. This change should also be applied to diplomatic plates when there is no emergency or urgent official business.

    Immunity applies to the ticket. No fines or penalties are levied. But the car is still towed, and the towing costs still have to be paid. Why should these scoff-laws be able to park illegally while shopping for luxury goods?

  17. Actually it is improper to tow federal government vehicles. They are property of the United States over which a local municipality has no jurisdiction . Remember, those cars are parked in the US before they are parked in NY. Just like the city cannot tax a US government owned building, it cannot take US owned vehicles. I've litigated this very issue.

  18. Removing litter (small or big) from the streets of the city is withing the city's jurisdiction.

  19. They're not taking them, they're just moving them so they don't block traffic. They'll give them right back, don't worry.

  20. Obviously there has to be a balance - but to see that, just flip the situation around - what if they were NY City Police cars and they were impeding a federal investigation and the FBI towed the cars to another location - the NYC Police would be apoplectic. As a rule, the US follows local rules when they do not interfere with government business (FBI agents are not allowed to speed to just avoid being late for work, but they can speed if they are chasing a suspect, etc.). The problem is, the local municipalities often cannot tell which it is - what if the FBI agents who parked there were inside getting ready to transport a terrorist suspect and came out and found the car gone?

  21. Now if only someone woul ddo something about the NYPD cars illegally parked in the Bridle Path in Central Park.

  22. And I'm sure there were numerous Bloomies, Macy's, and 47th Street Camera shopping bags in the trunk. These cars are used personally and those caught doing show should be subject to fines and discipline.

  23. What a lot of lemmings seem to overlook is that deBlasio's "war on.." anyone who has a paycheck will eventually backfire...if it hasn't already. There are hundreds of 'reserved' parking areas for ALL city agencies all over the city, where tickets are not issued. Why the FBI doesn't have one is unknown.

    In any respect, by making working people 'the enemy,' in NYC, over and above those who demand government handouts and entitlements, will make the move by said taxpayers to other states and other climates all that much more easier. And it's happening already thoughout NYS now.

    And as this happens, it will get harder for the city to pay these tow truck drivers...and everyone else who works for the city...resulting in perhaps that famous headline from the 1970s: "Ford to City: Drop Dead."

    I think the old saying says it best: It's not good to bite the hand that feeds you.

  24. It will never be difficult to pay the tow truckers. Towing cars is one of the few things the city does that generates ( a lot) more revenue than cost.

  25. NYC has a population higher than some states--at around 8.3 million people, only 11 states have a higher population. Somehow, I doubt we'll miss a few people.

  26. Now if we could get local police to obey traffic rules, that would be something.

  27. Oh, just goody, goody gumdrops!

    Good luck NY. This is all going to be so deliciously fun to watch. I can't imagine anything going wrong with your towing FBI cars.

  28. I think it is completely ridiculous that the city of New York is creating this level of bureacratic friction and waste by towing the vehicles of people employed by the federal and local government. How many hours spent retrieving towed vehicles in New York have taxpayers across the country had to pay for?

    Guess what? We are not all the same. Some people have privileges not afforded to others. I'm not a veteran so I don't qualify for veterans' benefits. This outrageously short-sighted practice of towing placarded federal vehicles needs to stop immediately.

  29. You are absolutely incorrect. The issue that average NY'ers have here is not with "privileges" that are legally established. There are plenty of designated spaces for various agencies, and plenty of transportation alternatives.

    There are also areas where vehicles are not permitted to park because of fire safety, bus access, high-volume streets leading to bridges and tunnels, etc. When cars are left there, problems result, ie, the Fire Department cannot access hydrants when a fire is raging. There is no reason why people who are allegedly "public servants" should be permitted to disregard the law and assert a privilege that does not exist.

    The practice is not short-sighted. It is long overdue.

  30. Actually, I'm not "absolutely incorrect." This inane practice IS completely wasteful and ridiculous. According to the majority of people posting on this thread, it is a better use of taxpayer resources to have FBI agents who should be working instead circling around looking for a parking space, paying exorbitant private lot fees, or best of all, trekking over to the impound lot to retrieve their Fords and Chevys. This is an odd response from people who supposedly live in New York, the perennial target of subversives. Personally, I'd rather have FBI agents investigating. What will be the next alleged outrage? Will NY'ers want to ban ambulances and fire trucks for running lights and using sirens? After all, regular citizens get tickets for doing that! Sheesh.

  31. Hey, tow-truck operators, look over here!!!!! Check out West 54th between 8th and 9th. There are signs designating part of the street as restricted to police vehicles, as there's a police station on the block, but the rest of the parked up block is a No Standing Zone. Check out around the corner, West 55th, where there is no parking 7-7 and 8-7 depending on the side of the street but, yet again, parked solid, week in and week out.

  32. Next up they should start towing cars with VAS (voluntary ambulance service) plates. On the UWS, officers from the 24th precinct have told me they're not allowed to ticket VAS plates, even though several cars are clearly abusing the status, leaving cars illegally parked for hours.

  33. maybe all parking personnel should work for IAD.

  34. I hope they keep the program in place, and reinstate the fines as well. It sends exactly the wrong message when the only people allowed to flout the law are the ones who are charged with enforcing it. And it can give cops a sense of entitlement that spills dangerously into other aspects of their work.

  35. If a car is parked in a fire lane or could otherwise impedes emergency vehicles, then the vehicle must be removed and a fine must be paid. Unless the "government business" is directly connected to a life saving effort, why should anyone be permitted to ignore the safety concerns of everybody else? A fire truck or ambulance would get to those to need it, too late, so a government functionary can drop of some papers? Nonsense!

  36. Saturday night I saw an Amtrak police SUV parked on a bus stop on 14 n 8th Ave, last I checked there's no Amtrak nearby. This car was parked for awhile because I was out clubbing and I saw it on my way to the club, and coming out, so I assumed the driver lived close by.

  37. The personal cars of many of NYPD park regularly at hydrants when they are home and off duty. It would be safer to designate parking zones for those who are employed to be our protectors than to have them park in the way of emergency vehicles. How ironic: the dangers posed by parked cars may indeed out weight those that are caused by the ones who are moving.

  38. " Mr. Adler, who represents federal agents across the country, said that only in New York did the local authorities make a point of towing cars belonging to the federal government. " Maybe it's because NYC has the least space and the most inconvenience when cars park in prohibited space. Federal and city agents have overwhelmingly proven that, (to be generous) they abuse the parking privilege much more often than they are actually justified. Let's hope Mayor DeBlasio is not a knee jerk leader, and recognizes legitimate misuse of privilege when he sees it.

  39. I walk along W 35th St past the NYPD Midtown South Precinct on my way to work. Between 9th and 10th Ave I regularly see cars with NYPD placards parked in front of fire hydrants. Seriously? If that was my car it would be towed within 20 minutes.

  40. So, the police and FBI should be above the law? Only the little people should pay for illegal parking and speeding?

    Remember NYC going after the police union for fixing parking tickets? Howsabout some prosecutor stopping the hyprocrisy and going after the FBI for fraud and falsification of a public document when they use these forms for cars towed when they're in the office, not out on a raid?

  41. They should tow vehicle parked in the bike lanes also.

  42. I'm sure all those illegally parked FBI vehicles create an enormous hazard. However, all those personal cars owned by police officers and parked in front of fire hydrants every evening aren't a problem at all! Why do private cars owned by police officers (and firemen) get special parking spaces in the first place? Are they more important than, say, teachers? Doctors? Or are they somehow less able to leave enough time to find a parking space before work, like the rest of us poor slobs?

  43. I am a big fan of US Homeland Security, including the FBI, especially after 911. I am also a big fan of the Joint Terrorism Task Force which has the FBI working with the NYPD. My concern is that the Parking Violation folks tow away a vehicle of those charged with protecting us from foreign and domestic terrorists who are in the act of terror from accessing their vehicles that were about to be used to prevent a terror event. I have a sense that our city is entering a period of "zombieism" and "governing by autopilot" rather than intelligence, thoughtfulness and common sense. I agree with the writer here who noted the need for more coordination between federal, state and city agencies to avoid unnecessary bureaucratic mucking up of legitimate agency activities.

  44. you write: 'our city is entering a period of "zombieism" and "governing by autopilot"'. this program has been going on for at least four years and was initiated by ray kelly.

  45. Great. Now find some NSA vehicles and tow those.

  46. Hey, it's New York. Had my G-Car towed 3 times, burglarized 3 times, vandalized twice. Usually took me 2 days to get it back. FBI has more juice with Traffic apparently. The last time, Brooklyn thieves took the front bumper. Headlights askew, blinkers swinging in the breeze really made an impression when I picked up a collaborating Royal Hong Kong Police investigator arriving at JFK. While on surveillance, a meter maid guy announced to the Jackson Heights neighborhood I was Five-O, but he didn't write a ticket. Thanks. Traffic enforcement arrived at the scene of a DEA arrest to tow cars, red lights blinking, guns drawn, suspects being cuffed. Refusing to withdraw and proceeding to hook vehicles, they were arrested, charged and tried in Federal Court for obstruction. NYPD cops on the Task Force told us they had nothing to do with the Traffic Dept. DEA towed their 3 wheelers and seized the tow truck. Nice to hear life is returning to normal in the Apple. I just hope the agents get their machine guns and gear back. That's some week long, serious paperwork.

  47. When the people charged with serving the public become a nuisance, it is appropriate to discourage such behavior. I thought the whole idea of democracy was that one group is not privileged over others by virtue of position or connections. It would be better if the agencies whose cars are causing problems came up with ways to avoid inconveniencing and endangering the public. We do have subways and buses. Of course, those accommodations are only for the common man, not our well insulated and comfortable army of keepers.

  48. While I am certain that not all peace officers abused their parking "priviledges" some, if not many, have abused the system. Frankly rules are rules and if they do not apply to everyone then they apply to no one. So please, go right ahead and enforce those laws.

  49. A good beginning, now to get after those who go through stop signs and go over the speed limit, while they want us to drive at 25.

  50. For everyone calling for fines to be paid, this is black letter Constitutional law. The Supremacy Clause prohibits any state or municipality from levying fines against the federal government. This issue came up a few years ago when White Plains' parking authority was ticketing Army recruitment vehicles.

  51. Agreed, fines would not work, but the agncie could be charged for the costs of the towing service.

  52. No, they couldn't. The city could not compel the agency to pay, and cannot refuse to release the vehicle either.

  53. I was visiting NYC when my car got towed. While waiting to get my car, two on-duty police officers came in to get their squad car. (I will say it made me feel better that the powers that be were this insane and I felt less culpable) It was a very hot, humid day and the officers had to hoof it, in full uniform to the lot. It defies belief that you are paying the police to protect you and yet another agency is taking them off the street? It was something out of SNL, only without a laugh line. Paying one city agency to thwart another - wild.

  54. "Paying one city agency to thwart another - wild."

    I look forward to a future shootout between the NYPD and the FBI. Let the better shots win.

  55. Maybe this article wouldn't elicit so much schadenfreude if everyone in this city wasn't completely aware of how often cops run red lights, make right turns out of left lanes, and text while driving. Let me get my tiniest violin for their 4 hours of missed work.

  56. While I agree with most of your comments the only issue is that the 4 hours of missed work is spent while they are on duty...which means that all of us as tax payers are paying for this down time

  57. This really makes no sense to me, but the previous comments, including those of a number of New Yorkers, all support the towing, and who am I to tell you how to run your city? Still, I would eliminate the required trip to Police Headquarters prior to picking up the car because: everyone: (1) has a form letter saying they were on official business; and (2) at least with respect to Manhattan, since none of the "offenders" can afford to live there, it's pretty certain they are, in fact, on official business.

  58. This is a stupid waste of money that serves no purpose. The taxpayers pay for the towing. If fines were leveled the taxpayer would pay the fines. All lost time recovering the vehicles is wasted work hours. Also how many times do FBI agents have to be told to not park in no parking zones?

    We had a similar problem here when some low level city employee directed parking enforcement to ticket US Mail trucks. It took several weeks to get the city to stop and to understand that while postal drivers were directed to not park in "No Stop Tow" zones they were allowed under federal statue to park anywhere else in the furtherance of moving the mail including at the head of bus stops.

  59. I'm a NY Times commentator, therefore I will write with feigned outrage about any (mis)perceived slight by the police or law enforcement community without critically thinking about the issues whatsoever. Instead of considering where an FBI agent should park his issued vehicle (in a paid lot-should the government (we) pay a private lot?; in a metered spot, and having agents running out the door every two hours during their days?; or perhaps just use the system every other city uses-placards and street parking) I sense there might be something in here that I should be outraged by, and I will thus immediately accuse police, prosecutors, and agents of considering themselves above the law!!

  60. But...FBI agents are not the only people who drive and work in New York City, right? If a private citizen drives around, he/she has to make these same choices (private lot? metered spot? parking lot provided by the employer?).

    You're not convincing me that FBI agents should be exempt from these inconveniences. Why should they have special status? OK I guess if they're chasing bad guys down the streets with drawn Glocks, but 99.99% of what FBI agents do is fill out paperwork, just like the rest of us.

    Of course they'd love to have the perk of parking for free and forever and parking their cars any which way, but who wouldn't?

  61. You can legally park in front of a fire hydrant if you are behind the wheel the whole time so the car can be moved in a hurry. Now with that in mind, why don't you focus you're fantastic critical thinking skills as to why there are no parking/standing zones, or in your book are they designated for parking if you have a placard?

  62. Police who live in my neighborhood routinely park their cars, placards showing, in front of fire hydrants. The same cars, parked night after night, with the same guys going to them in the morning to drive to their precinct. Presumably there is a rule against parking in that area so as to give the Fire Department access to the hydrant; I once got a ticket for being 14' 4" instead of the required 15' from a hydrant.
    So DB, please answer two questions:

    1. Why do the police officers' cars not pose the same obstacle that my vehicle posed by being "in the zone"?
    2. Why are police officers entitled to this space when other people are not?

    Since I pay these guys' salary and benefits, and pay extortionate tickets when the traffic cops want to fill their quotas, you can bet that I am outraged.

  63. Equal justice under law. What a novel concept. Come to think of it, those words are above the entrance to the Supreme Court. The NYPD should be commended for reminding the feds that they aren't a law unto themselves. They're ordinary citizens just like the rest of us. In fact, they work for us, even though they don't act like it.

  64. It would seem to me that an unseen child running into the street from behind an illegally parked government vehicle would be hit just as badly as if it had been my car parked there.

  65. Sounds good to me. If only those tow trucks would take a trip uptown where NYPD officers' personal cars at the 33rd precinct are routinely parked in No Parking/No Standing zones despite the fact that they have a parking lot that is usually 1/3-1/2 empty

  66. Is there not a better way?

    Certainly any official vehicle used for personal reasons should not have the right to park illegally. But working detectives or FBI agents, etc., ought to have a way of parking almost anywhere if it is in the valid pursuit of urgent official business.

    And there ought to be an electronic way of verifying urgent official business so that important official employees like detectives and FBI agents do not have to waste four hours of their valuable time retrieving their vehicles.

  67. Not only should they keep the program, they should expand it to all boroughs and cover all agencies, NYPD included. Downtown Brooklyn is awash in placard parking. If there is to be such a thing as placard parking, it should be for only short term (<1hr) use in limited areas. Otherwise, placard parking, particularly all-day placard parking like I see all the time in Brooklyn, is nothing more than a perk. As a former federal employee, it's incredibly offensive to see government employees granting themselves special privileges not available to the public they serve, especially when those perks are used so flagrantly.

  68. I think angled parking needs to be implemented in more places. Just as the police do on the avenues. And on sidestreets where there's enough room. These bike lanes and specially painted lines have removed so many parking spots from the neighborhood. And another thing. Complaining about police cars parked this way and that, even personal ones, is silly. Sometimes the only way I can remember where a police station is located is by the way the cars park outside. No joke.

  69. They did that in Flushing near the precinct for their parking, they used to park on the municipal parking lot, but it seems like they privatized it, so now all PD cars have to park on the streets.

  70. What's REALLY silly is to say that we need NYPD employees to park illegally just so you can remember where the station is. That's the kind of joke that I would expect Stephen Colbert to make on his show.

  71. As soon as I read the words "form letters," I knew that the "fix was in." I am sure that these letters are given out to whoever asks for them, and that the person involved does not in any way need to prove to the powers that be that they were on official business. Okay, call me a cynic!

  72. How is this a good idea? what practical purpose does it serve to tow an illegally parked vehicle when the tow truck operator has no idea whether or not the car was parked there in a rush to nab someone?

    ridiculous. I agree that that our agents shouldn't take advantage (Yo -- I'll park HERE so I can grab a slice) of a situation -- but when it's legitimate business, towing seems a gratuitous means of just being ornery and mean.

  73. Because you know the system is being routinely scammed.

  74. If no fines are paid, Really why should they bother? It probably cost's several hundred dollar's in wasted work hours ( which the taxpayer pays for ) while towing the car's away, doing paperwork, locking them up & God only knows how many federal agent's, it takes to pick up a car from the pound. For sure they don't do it on their own time or walk the few blocks to the West side highway. Another federal car is probably tied up in the process.

  75. Good for them! If the feds do not comply with safety-related parking restrictions, TOW THEM!

  76. Other than making the tow truck operators rich, what is accomplished?

  77. Yaay! Finally!
    It's soooo annoying to see clear abuse by official vehicles, bypassed by the city, while enforcement against everyday citizens is Incredibly Rigorous!

  78. I believe they continue, and step up, illegal parking of government vehicles. NOTHING, AND I MEAN NOTHING, makes them above the law.
    If we, hardworking, taxpaying citizens, rich and poor alike, are forced to pay because of being towed, then governmental vehicles SHOULD BE AS WELL. NO ONE ISCABOVE THE LAW.
    I would also like these governmental vehicles confiscated, and sold at auction, to prove the point that YOU ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW!!!

  79. Who are you trying to proving that point to??

    The employees don't own the government vehicles, you and I do. They won't be out a dime if the cars are auctioned off - but you and I will have to buy new replacements.

  80. So, as in so many other aspects, the only remaining persons enjoying complete immunity are the NYPD themselves?

  81. A car with an NYPD placard was parked a foot from a fire hydrant, directly in front of my building. I called 311 to report it but nothing was done. It was there for almost a week, until yesterday. I guess fire safety is now low priority.

  82. Good move on stopping the government form breaking the law. Now someone just need to stop the police from breaking the law CONSTANTLY. Ever seen a cop obeying the speed limit or a no-parking zone?

  83. What some of the commentators have missed is that these are often personal cars of the officers who should have no more right to avoid the same difficulties that anyone else faces parking while working in NYC. Official cars at crime scenes or investigations should not be towed.

  84. Finally we are told about a practice of the Bloomberg era that SHOULD be continued by DeBlasio.

  85. I have two neighbors that abuse their police placards all the time, parking in "No Parking" areas (especially overnight) constantly.

  86. The headline makes a bizarre implication, that some people ought to be exempt from parking rules. Either the rules are there for a good reason and - outside of legitimate emergencies - they should be enforced, or the rules are misguided and ought to be changed.
    If we think that the city should provide various agencies with free (or cheaper) parking, then we should make it explicit, rather than these backhanded ways that entrench a disrespect for the rules.

  87. Of course the article doesn't mention the one kind of placard that is so sacrosanct that cars displaying it can practically park on the sidewalk with impunity: Location Scouts. Those guys could park in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge to go fishing, (with long fishing lines) and the rest of us would have to merge around them.
    They could park in Sheep's meadow, and we would have to frisbee to the side.
    Those guys could park in the lobby of police plaza, and the commissioner would straighten his tie and hope to get a part in their next movie.
    Those guys could park down at the bottom of the 9/11 memorial fountains, and the city would consider painting lines around their car so that they could more easily find their space the next time.

  88. Presumably there are safety and other reasons that cars are not allowed to park in various places. In NYC, these rules are so important, that the city has created an entire towing industry to support them. Why certain cars have historically been exempt from these safety rules has never and will never make sense other than to point out the perhaps the rules are only secret revenue generators, and should be abolished and all cars should be allowed.

  89. One word: Metrocard.

  90. Here's an excerpt of how the NYPD responded when they were caught breaking traffic laws on behalf of the Mayor:

    .... Police Department personnel assigned to the Mayor's Security Detail receive specialized training in driving based on maintaining security as well as safety. At certain times, under certain conditions, this training may include the use of techniques such as maintaining speed with the general flow of traffic, and may sometimes include tactics to safely keep two or more police vehicles together in formation when crossing intersections. The handling of police vehicles transporting any protectee is determined solely by police personnel based on their specialized training in executive protection and professional judgment.

    They might as well have expressed their true, sclerotic sentiments in two words, only one of them publishable in a family newspaper. But then, why should parking be any different a privilege?

  91. I have no problem if an official law enforcement vehicle is parked somewhere in the course of official investigative duties. That does not include, however, just working in the office or going to lunch. Those who use the "emergency" standard are too limited, since an investigation may continue for sometime once things settle down - the shooting may be over in a minute but the detectives could be there talking to people and looking for evidence for hours.

    No exception, however, should be given to personal vehicles around precincts and fire houses, who park with impunity wherever the fancy seems to strike them. Sorry, you need to figure out how to report for duty and either park legally or take transit like everyone else.

  92. In an age of tight city, state and federal budgets, this whole concept just seems like an all too typical waste of time and money.The amount of manpower, effort, and employees involved in this non-productive sham would be laughable, if the joke were not on the taxpaying public (as per usual). If a government agency has a real time parking need, why does it not have to find accommodation with parking? It exists, although some people may have to, government employees avert your eyes, take the subway to work if not essential. Any increase in rental cost is certain to be outweighed by the huge gains in productivity - the FBI can do their jobs, parking placards could become even more restrictive (actual emergency only), NYPD can focus on public safety (their job?) and it will be one less issue for the pesky, ungrateful taxpayers to whinge about so cushy retirements and perks can be enjoyed by government employees in relative quiet with no improvement in service delivery. Win (government employees as usual) - sort of win (pesky private sector funders of leviathan)?

  93. This article, and the thought that there is even a snowball's chance in Hell the practice will continue, warms my heart immensely.

  94. All law enforcement officials should WANT to obey the letter of the law. This is another case where government employees think and act as if they were above the law and the hoi polloi

  95. In August 2004, while stopped at a red light in Queens, a driver backed from an angled parking spot into the passenger side of my car. I turned the corner to avoid obstructing traffic, inadvertently blocking a crosswalk, to await an accident investigator. While being interviewed by the investigator, another officer wrote a ticket for blocking the crosswalk. The investigator told me to mail in a copy of his report with the ticket and it would be dismissed. I did as instructed and hearing nothing further, assumed the matter closed.

    A year later I received a "Motion to Vacate Judgment," with a form to explain the circumstances. Assuming my original response lost in the mail, I detailed the events and included another copy of the accident report. In response, I received a letter from an attorney in Parking Enforcement stating that they were detaching the accident report from the "Motion" and demanding payment of the fine. As a retired attorney, I know judgments obtained as result of tampering with evidence and perpetrating a fraud on the courts is "void ab-initio (void from inception)" and refused to pay the fine. I should have filed a complaint with the New York State Bar, but felt that the effort was futile. When a collection agent called, I explained the circumstances and refusal to pay. I threatened to call the F.T.C. if she called again.

    The "Big Apple" is not above trying to defraud out-of-staters to fill its coffers. It now knows that I, for one, refuse to be cheated!

  96. Another reason not to visit New York City.

  97. According to the "Broken Windows" theory, this should cut down on violations of the 4th Amendment, and other more serious crimes law enforcement officers might commit.

  98. “safety hazard violations” He couldn't have said that with a straight face. That's just fraud.

  99. Everyone that fail to understand No Parking signs should all be treated one and the same.

  100. I am an ex new yorker and I always thought that no parking zones were actually reserved parking spots for government employees. :)

  101. It's hilarious how so many commenters want police and federal agents to park like "normal citizens" and be towed and pay fines. However, when those of you who complain fall victim to a situation in which you need help immediately, you wouldn't be willing to wait that extra hour or several hours. "The police/feds will have to respond to your request for aid later today because there is no legal parking in your vicinity. Please stand by." Annoyance over personal abuse of parking is understandable, but this whole "punish them and make them pay" talk is just over the top considering that these are the people who show up when your life is in danger and often it is YOU or someone you know who called them. The vast majority of these cops and agents are simply trying to work.

  102. wade, no one is talking about parking when responding to an emergency. We're talking about parking when working in their buildings.

  103. I am sick of police officers parking in my private parking space when they need to go to Chipotle or grab a beer.

  104. So when the police officer is seen picking up coffee and doughnuts, should we assume that they are evidence of a crime?

  105. No one believes that law enforcement agents only use their placards when chasing criminals, rather than stopping for lunch, just as do foreign diplomats.

    Let them pay for it in time and/or money. That's the price for abusing the system.

  106. Good! A week or so ago in the middle of one of the worst snow storms New York had seen in years, I was waiting for a #5 bus in Manhattan near Lincoln Center. You had to stand about 5 feet into the street to have any hope of a bus seeing you....avoiding the river. Parked in a no parking "bus stop" zone was a car with diplomatic plates --- DPL7623 ---they hung around there for almost one hour, hopping in and out, going to the Starbucks on the corner, taking off their coats and throwing them in the trunk, while older folks tried to navigate the mess and two fell down. This "diplomatic" car was parked in the only easily accessible place for people to wait for a bus. In my wildest dreams I thought I might find out if indeed this was a car attached to an embassy and write the embassy a letter. Dreams and energy fade. But I along with many of my neighbors will be delighted to see cars parked illegally towed. Thanks NYC!

  107. I worked in Midtown as a telephone installer in thej 1970s. I was appalled at the cars parked at hydrants, double parked but sitting in the middle of the road because the legally parked car had left and even triple parked cars. Most of these cars had MD plates or FC and DPL plates. The MD plates were from a time when doctors made house calls. When the last time you saw that? The UN people were just plain ignorant abusers of our hospitality. I was driving there once and got lost. I stopped by a policeman and asked the directions. His response? "First I'm going to give you a ticket for turning in no turn zone. Another time I was double parked because of street cleaning in Brooklyn while visiting my grandmother. I was the only person to get a ticket. All the other cars had a business card from a lithography company on the corner. Plus I had North Carolina plates. NO, I never paid either ticket and I do not go to New York City for any reason whatever and I bad mouth the place as much as possible as if that is necessary.

  108. I remember when I lived in Queens and drove my car through the Queens Midtown tunnel to go to work. The Express lane, meant for buses, cars with at least 3 passengers and emergency vehicles was always clogged with policemen using their private vehicles to go to work. I really resented that. Policemen, firemen, FBI etc. (unless on an emergency mission) should have no special driving priveleges.

  109. The FBI can get tickets for illegal parking but the Mayor's entourage can break speed laws going through Manhattan . Makes sense to me.

  110. Wait, so these government employees park illegally (I'm assuming mostly when they aren't on an emergency, if they are in their office to hear the warning), the NYPD pays to have that car towed and stored, then they are released without a fine? Then they go and park there again the next day?

    But if I parked in these same spots, I'd pay a fine plus the cost of storing the car.

    Right, that makes a whole lot of sense.

  111. Make them pay the towing charge and the parking ticket like everybody else. Why should they be treated any differently than the rest of us?

  112. That is really stupid of the NY Parking Authority. To waste valuable FBI agent's time for some stupid parking regulation makes no sense to me. This would never happen in a civilized place like Las Vegas.

  113. Each office like the FBI should give each car money to park in a garage. This way they can keep track. If a car is on the street then it's illegal.

  114. Perhaps those who believe it's a good idea to tow law enforcement vehicles for the "crime" of illegal parking won't mind waiting for the police, fire or ambulance to arrive when called. You do know that a moving violation like speeding or going through a red light is a much larger violation than just illegally parking.

  115. There's an obvious distinction between police, fire and ambulance vehicles taking liberties with the law when reasonably unavoidable to execute of their duties, on the one hand, and breaking the law for convenience, on the other. Enforcing against the latter will in no way cause waits for police, fire or ambulance services. Perhaps it's hard to visualize for someone not from New York, but the behavior cited here creates real danger sometimes, and almost always inconvenience to hundreds of people. Sure, let's reward first responders for the work they do, but not by letting them break the law.

  116. To enforce the law is to endorse the law. Well, Officer Krupke? Do you or don't you?


  117. Perhaps the author can clear up a couple of confusing points in this article.

    Early on he writes, "no fines are typically paid." Later, he writes that "in the past . . . the ticket would be paid either by the agent or by the government, depending on the circumstances." If fines were paid in the past, why are they "typically" not paid now?

    He also writes that in 2013, 361 towed vehicles "were Police Department vehicles." Later he writes that "over time, tow-truck operators and Internal Affairs investigators who resented the directive began shying away from towing police vehicles and issuing tickets." He even quotes a tow-truck operator saying that police get "a free ride." So I'm confused; are police vehicles being towed or not? Are some getting a free ride while others are getting towed? Who determines?

  118. Cool. So not only does the city not make any revenue from the tows... but TAXPAYERS still get to pay the agents, police officers and fire people who have to waste their taxpayer-paid, union-negotiated time to retrieve these vehicles. Someone's thinkin!

  119. What's next? Towing ambulances? One thing about the powers that be in today's New York - just when I think they can't get any dumber, they show me how wrong I am.

  120. Now is you can just make the Mayor subject to the laws you'd really be doing something!

  121. Nothing to see here, just routine law enforcement applying the rules/law to everyone.

    It's about time. I have no problem with it (and I worked w/ Federal LEOs for 20 yrs.).

  122. I had thought the only people who will never have their offices towed or ticketed for illegal parking are members of the NYPD itself. Ah, to be above the law! Must be nice.

  123. Do not disband any Internal Affairs unit devoted to pursuing misconduct, low-level or high-level. Abuse of power is abuse of power.

  124. It is hard to believe that there are that many urgent, official matters each day that require federal and other offices to violate the established safety laws meant to protect bus passengers, pedestrians, etc. Kudos to NYC for standing up to what amounts to abuse of authority by public officials. If there isn't room to park the car legally, hire out a parking garage. Don't put people's lives in danger. Sad that the heads of these federal agencies and others don't take this seriously and enforce the rules, but instead seem to overlook it all.

  125. The article plainly states that they are towed if they are in a NO STANDING ZONE, which usually includes BUS STOPS, CROSSWALKS FIRE HYDRANTS and places that will impede the flow of traffic or create a dangerous situation.
    Keep up the good work I can actually step on to he sidewalk instead of 10 feet away whem I get off of the bus.

  126. The truth about placards is that those using them for where they are supposed to be used. However, they are not for parking wherever they please. BTW, it's not just the police who does this, but so do civil servants along with even politicians. I can still remember where I saw a bunch of cars with placards parked in what would normally be a tow away zone, but were never towed because of their protection from them unlike anyone else who would park there. Another thing is that they also state a bad example for others with placards by either duplicating them or even giving them to their friends and families, which is against the law. Some of them don't even get ticketed despite parking in no permit zones in which even they can't park there, but they still manage to be there without feeling hindered by any parking agents going after them. Unless it really was an emergency, they shouldn't be allowed to park wherever they want, because I have seen some cops park right in front of a place to eat, which usually denies everyone else from parking there, and then leaving as they were done. Let's not forget that they can get the best lawyers courtesy of the taxpayer to have any tickets they have removed easily, while the rest of us are forced to pay them penny out of pocket. Seriously, if quotas need to be made or revenue is needed, then look for all of those that abuse their placards, because a good amount from them alone can fill that.