The Baltic Street Parking Lot – UPDATE
Image if a restaurant slowly took over an entire city block with outdoor tables and chairs without first seeking a permit. Or consider a clothing boutique that decided to quadruple its floorspace by placing display cases and racks on the sidewalk. Surely the city would levy heft fines on both businesses and the police would be dispatched to shut them down very quickly.
The picture above is of Baltic Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. On one side of the street is an autobody shop. On the other is a catering company. Both businesses use the sidewalk as parking lots for their employees and customers. The autobody shop, in fact, stores junked cars for weeks on end without having to pay a dime to the city, more or less commandeering parking spaces for their own private use. Any tickets they receive must be considered part of the cost of doing business, since even the cars parked on the street are rarely moved for alternate side parking.
Residents of my building have made numerous calls to 311 and the 78th precinct over the past months but nothing has been done. Perhaps we should tell them a restaurant is serving brunch on the sidewalk instead.
UPDATE 1/12/12: I checked my 311 service request status and, according to the website, “The Police Department responded to the complaint and determined that police action was not necessary.” A neighbor reports the same result. As of this morning, the cars were still parked on the sidewalk.