BORO PARK – Some might call them vigilantes, but a group of residents of Boro Park, Brooklyn, say they’re simply demanding the police enforce the parking laws in the neighborhood. Richard Navas uses his camera to document dozens of instances of cars, trucks and school buses parking at fire hydrants for up to seven hours.
Navas calls 311 and the local 66th Police precinct to report his findings, but complains he rarely gets any response. “Sometimes the cars will get ticketed, but they won’t get towed”, Navas says, “What if there was a fire? It’s a real danger. The NYPD’s response is unacceptable.” He even sent PIX11 a photo of two traffic agents standing on the corner doing nothing about the car blocking the fire hydrant right in front of them.
Dina Brizzi is another community activist. Her family owns the Joseph Brizzi Funeral home on Ft. Hamilton Parkway. She says “It’s just utter chaos. All day long people block our driveway. We can’t get hearses out of the garage.” She, too, sent us photos showing that despite the curb cut with the yellow paint and the no parking signs, cars and trucks routinely block the garage where the funeral home keeps its hearses and limousines. “Sometimes we can’t get the hearses out to get around the block to go on a funeral. We have people standing around waiting around for a hearse.” She says she calls the 66th Precinct but it usually doesn’t help “because they don’t show up and if they show up, they show up an hour or two later which is way after the fact.”
Other residents complain about auto body and repair shops that use the sidewalk and take up parking spaces on the street to work on customers’ cars. “It’s not fair to people who live here,” say Rocco Turco, who owns a home across the street from a body shop on 39th street and Ft. Hamilton Avenue. “In your own neighborhood, because of something like this, you can’t find a space”, says Turco, pointing to the 8 or 9 cars with no license plates on them, parked on both sides of the street outside the body shop.
The owner of the shop says the cars with no license plates do not belong to him or his customers and claims to have no idea how they got there. Turco says his calls to 311 and the 66th precinct rarely result in any action. He says the police should “just come here with tow trucks and tow them away and sell them. The city needs money. There is it, right there.”
A number of residents have begun a letter writing campaign to the Captain of the 66th precinct. In a statement to PIX11, the police say “The Commanding Officer is aware of the condition and is working with the community to address it.” But the angry residents we spoke with say it’s a shame its taking so long to simply enforce the law.