UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — In a city where things are not always as they seem, Manhattan’s Upper West Side drivers are finding out the hard way that parking on the wrong street can cost you big time.
Melinda Scott parked her car near the corner of West 60th Street and Freedom Place South in the heart of a neighborhood filled with recently constructed luxury high-rise developments.
The practicing attorney’s vehicle was towed to a lot in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn.
“They took my car on New Year’s Eve. There was no summons issued. Rather than paying the extortion, I filed a lawsuit,” said Scott.
Melinda argues the zip-tied private property signs put up by the management company for the 21 West End Apartments are not specific enough to warrant towing a parked vehicle.
“This is a public street, and it is opened to public motor vehicle traffic. And there’s no sign indicating it’s a private street,” said Scott. “And even if they wanted to tow a car, this sign doesn’t have the information that would be required to tow a car.”
Resident Darren Foster tells us city traffic agents also patrol these streets.
“It’s a big problem. You’ll come down, and you’ll get a ticket,” said Foster.
A spokesperson for the management firm, “The Dermot Company,” told PIX11 News, “We built those roads when we constructed the property, and we own those roads today. As far as we are aware, we are permitted to enforce parking regulations on our private streets – per New York City. As far as we are aware, we followed all procedures related to private streets and parking rules.”
Council member Gale Brewer says there is precedent for temporarily privatizing the city’s roads.
“When the buildings were built north of here, we had the same situation,” said Brewer.
But the former Manhattan Borough President warns, “I do not know, to be honest with you, the status of the towing. What I do know is the street is privately owned, and it will not become a public, dot dept of transportation street until all of the measurements and the configuration are up to the standards of the city department of transportation.”
Driver, attorney, and now plaintiff Melinda Scott said she is moving forward with her lawsuit.
“I’m not only doing this for myself. I’m stopping them from terrorizing my neighbors as well. They shouldn’t be able to do this,” said Scott.
We reached out to the New York City Department of Transportation, which referred us to the NYPD for questions related to parking enforcement. Unfortunately, we have not heard back from either agency.