suburban police SUVs occupy Manhattan sidewalk

19th Street, east of 8th Avenue this afternoon: the signs read: "NO PARKING 8am to 6pm"

In 1962, at the peak of urban flight, New York City law was changed to permit police officers to live outside the city for the first time in its history. New York hasn't been the same since. Although there have been many more frightening consequences, here we see one of the most visible.

Each of the vehicles shown above, almost all privately-owned and almost all SUVs, had large police permits lying on their dashboards. The 10th Precinct headquarters is located mid-block. So while they're already getting free parking, apparently the street itself isn't big enough for these commuters' monsters. The narrow sidewalk of this quiet, tree-shaded residential block has to be commandeered for their convenience.

This is a scene reproduced all over the city, wherever there are police (or fire) stations. It's no wonder that police routinely ignore threats to the safety and convenience of millions of New York pedestrians; the officers we pay for are essentially part of an occupying army, and they don't know how to use their feet. I won't even bring up large squad cars regularly double parked outside Krispy Kreme, or routinely blocking busy pedestrian crosswalks.

Incidently, the continued presence of these angle-parked precinct officers' private tanks even at night makes the street signs somewhat disingenuous:

policeparking 1.JPG
the same block at 7:30pm last Friday

This is a pretty small issue given the misery and horrors in all directions; still i agree, Jim, that this is part of a picture of insidiousness.

If you haven't been to the south side of Central Park's reservoir in the past couple of years, you're in for still more indulgence.

Where the bridal path has been for over a century, now you wind through as many as 200 latest-model vehicles, again mostly SUVs, in what has become an unchallenged NYPD commuter lot (no tax incentives to ride the subway home, but grotesque incentives to buy SUVS . . . ). Oh, and this "lot" is next to a recent two or three strorey tin-sided utiltity warehouse, covered with mall graphics, slammed up against a Calvert Vaux masterpiece. Central Park Conservancy - anybody home?

And can we also discuss God's Private Tax-free parking throughout the city?

I've been through that huge Central Park SUV lot a number of times, even though I try to avoid passing anywhere near it, to avoid its aesthetic and political assault.

Oh, now that you raise the subject, we know god isn't just parking tax-free; the supreme it's extensive real properties are also sitting around everywhere tax-free. But I don't know where to begin with that story.

I agree these are pretty modest issues in a larger world which has been so fundamentally damaged by myth, but I think we both believe that it shows just how daunting the larger challenge is, everywhere, for what used to be called reason, if not just common sense.

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Published on May 4, 2004 4:30 PM.

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