“They Take Care Of Us, So We Take Care Of Them”

Pierrepont Street

Pierrepont Street

They take care of us, so we take care of them.”That’s what Officer Reynoso, the very polite (and forthright) policeman from the 84th Precinct told me last night, when I asked him why he was writing a ticket for the car on the left, but not for the one on the right.

He said no cop will write a parking ticket on a car with an MD plate, as “someday they may need to take care of us”.

“So you think that if you write them a ticket, they won’t save you if you get shot?”, I asked.

“You never know”, he said.

I said, “But aren’t you supposed to write them a ticket?”

He replied, “Look, I know some people such as yourself may not be happy with this. So you should contact someone like the Civilian Complaint Review Board.”

“I’d rather just see everyone treated equally. We both know he shouldn’t be parked here. I can’t convince you to write this guy a ticket?”

He said, “If I do, he’ll call the precinct, and I’ll get in trouble.”

“So this guy will raise a beef if you ticket him?”

“Yes”, and he again referred me to the CCRB.

So that probably explains this Mercedes-driving doc doesn’t even bother with a placard:

View Pierrepont Street Parking

The good news is that since the publication of “Dashboard Divas” in the New Yorker, and my posting the pictures of the car with the bogus Amtrak surgeon placard, at least that car has not been parked for a single night on Pierrepont Street. To the owner: you’re not banished – just park like the rest of us.

“I am not the law, but I represent justice as far as my feeble powers go.” – Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Three Gables

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  • AEB

    Forthright is right! Are there other protected service dispensers? Vanity plates, here I come!

  • matt

    Your whining above comes off as petty and angry. And it’s very classy that you’ve posted the ‘offender’s’ license plate! I hope you feel better about yourself now that you’ve written this post.

  • jonesy

    “whining”? “petty and angry”? You sound like someone who also thinks the law was made for other people, not for you. I bet you have a placard.

    Cops and Traffic agents who refuse to enforce the law equally should be fired.

  • WillowtownCop

    This is not a parking plaque issue. MD plates are issued by NY state. They are official plates from the DMV. Their PURPOSE is to allow cars to park illegally while doctors are treating their patients. If you want the police interrogating your doctor about why he’s parking somewhere while he might be on his way to treat you, then the proper people to whine to are the NYS legislature, unless they are too busy beating their girlfriends or stealing your money.

    So either you got a ticket and you’re bitter, or you saw someone else get a ticket, and are minding their business, but either way posting the officer’s name, who had noting to do with the issuing of the plates by the DMV, on the internet makes you look like a petty jerk.

  • alex

    I agree that posting the officer’s name is a low blow. Personally this issue doesn’t really seem blog worthy to me. I understand that to some people it might, but still, there’s no need to drag the officer in question into the mud.

  • skunky

    Here’s a question, if the MD was parked overnight in front of a fire hydrant, would that be OK for the apologists here? We pay the police to mete out parking tickets with equality under the law for all. MD plates do not exempt you from parking tickets, nor does being a clergy member.

    These MDs are not treating patients on Pierrepont St. There’s a goddamn dentist who parks on Red Hook Lane (on the freaking sidewalk) all the time, and places a placard in his window saying he’s on emergency medical business. His office is upstairs. He’s a freaking dentist.

    Do these rules apply to podiatrists too? How about homeopaths or lactation consultants?

  • my2cents

    I am really torn on this issue. On one hand, i think Ink Lake is a meddler who really needs to live and let live. This is the sort of tight assed East German reportink on ze neighbors stuff that makes me hate the type of people in this neighborhood on bad days.
    I also really really hate Placard abuse with a passion. There really needs to be reform on this. I had an idea on how attention can be drawn to this issue. Ink Lake, you may just like this one:
    In Japan if you have a number of unpaid tickets, instead of booting your car, they tie a giant yellow tag to your sideview mirror so that as you drive around everyone knows you are a scofflaw. The Japanese, being easily ashamed, will often pay off their tickets immediately rather than suffer this humiliation. I think it may be humourous and even dare I say effective to do a similar thing to known placard abusers. You could do this with a laminated piece of flourescent yellow paper and a nylon zip tie to their mirror. There is no vandalism whatsoever involved, but they need a scissors to get the thing off. In the meantime they drive around with a bright yellow tag reading “I AM A PARKING PLACARD ABUSER.” At very least they may think twice before continuing the behavior and thinking nobody notices. What do you think??

  • B

    Having circled our neighborhood many times looking for parking frustrated with all of the “privileged” abusers, I think the post is perfectly legitimate and only seeking equal treatment under the law. So here’s another “thank you” to counter the inexplicable cries of “petty” from matt and Willowtown. I think our city’s parking laws are too burdensome and designed largely to maximize ticketing revenue, but I can live with that as long as we’re all treated the same.

  • bornhere

    my2 — I, too, am somewhat conflicted; but I know I was very happy that my Ob-Gyn was able to get to me quickly when my son was born at a little before 6 AM (I’m going to guess she didn’t have to walk blocks to get her car from some garage or an otherwise available space). When we all provide the services of many of those who have certain parking perks, then we can all complain. (I’ve never gotten a call for emergency editing.)

  • WillowtownCop

    I just have to add that I am on the verge of not reading this blog anymore because I’m so sick of the parking wars posts. I have never even owned a car and can think of no good reason for someone who lives and works in NYC to own one, but of course, it isn’t my business how others choose to spend their money. Every time someone posts something I feel like I have to explain what it’s like from the cop’s perspective. How would you like it if someone was unhappy with the way you were doing your job, even though you were doing it in the exact manner you were required to by your company’s policies, and some disgruntled malcontent posted your name on the internet for some purpose only known to him, or interfered when you were trying to do your job? You would probably hire a lawyer, but cops can’t do that. He did all he could. He was polite and professional and told you where you could complain if you thought what he was doing was wrong, and you replied by posting his name on a blog because you think you’re some sort of heroic agitator railing against the corrupt system.

    I have lived in this neighborhood for years, and I love living here and I have good friends and neighbors who live here too. But I would never want to work here. I am glad I work in the ghetto, which is not that far from here, where people call the police when they have a real problem, like drug dealers in their buildings, or domestic violence, or gangs with weapons in their children’s playgrounds, where I am happy to do what I can to solve a real problem, instead of hearing a bunch of whining about people’s neighbors parking illegally. I dare you to go to Brownsville and in plain view of everyone on the block harass a cop because you want him to write a ticket to a neighbor that you just ratted out.

  • http://inklake.typepad.com Ink Lake

    Whatever privileges people think others should get:

    1) they don’t legally have them now

    2) bikers are endangered by the willful non-enforcement of the traffic regs/laws by people who have taken it on themselves to decide who gets a break and who doesn’t.

    3) this current ‘system’ has allowed for a van to sit in Times Square for days, ending up in it being evacuated on the day of New Year’s Eve.

    4) finally, I doubt very much any of these self-appointed ‘deciders’ would tolerate for one minute any of this in front of their own residences.

  • http://inklake.typepad.com Ink Lake

    As for WillowtownCop’s comments,
    FWIW, I enjoy reading your comments and will miss you if you decide to stop leaving them.

    That being said, unless you’re Valerie Plame or otherwise working undercover, if someone is worried about their name getting out while doing their job, it’s probably worth a moment of reflection. I would say that goes extra for someone such as a police officer, who is granted powers that civilians don’t have.

    Otherwise, it’s a ‘you need me on that wall’ speech.

  • WillowtownCop

    All, right, you convinced me, I’m back. It also looks like from the pic that the MD car’s rear lights were on. Maybe they didn’t get the ticket because they were in the car at the time? I personally don’t write people in front of hydrants if they are in the car, because they can just move when they see the fire truck coming.

  • http://inklake.typepad.com Ink Lake

    Hi WT,
    Glad you are back – truly. :)

    Neither car was occupied. The doctor’s car had been parked there for about 3 hours or so. It’s just the reflection from the flash that is making the lights look ‘on’.

    I personally witnessed the officer writing the ticket.

    It’s funny you mention that though, as I thought of digitally altering the pic to tone that down, but didn’t want to re-touch things.

  • WillowtownCop

    Also, in terms of having your name posted, in this case, I don’t see the point, but it doesn’t really matter because it isn’t really something that would damage his reputation, but sometimes it is.

    I have someone complain that I was a racist because I had written him a ticket but not a white person who was doing the same thing at the same time. First of all, I was looking for tickets that day and I certainly would have written whitey had I seen him, but I didn’t. Second of all, the man who complained was a light skinned hispanic man who I actually thought was white at the time I wrote the ticket. And most importantly, I am not a racist and the color of someone’s skin has absolutely nothing to do with who I decide to take enforcement action against.

    So to have the guy who wrote the ticket post a blog saying officer so-and-so is a racist, yeah, that would get under my skin.

  • WillowtownCop

    I meant the guy who got the ticket.

  • http://inklake.typepad.com Ink Lake

    Sorry for me being dense, but neither car was occupied. It’s the same story with the flash.

    As for your ‘racism’ story – I hear you. I don’t think for one second your job is an easy one. I’m glad it sounds like that incident came to nothing.

  • ABC

    There are two cars with MD plates who have been “on call” on Pierrepont Street for at least 5 years now.

    I understand the need for doctor’s on call to have this right — altho doesn’t it seem awfully antiquated — but when people are abusing this right, it becomes yer basic abuse of power.

    Too bad cops who ticket don’t have regular rounds. That might do the trick.

  • frbullwalker

    I am going to get a “dogwalker on duty” placard-do you think I have a chance of escaping a ticket?
    ps dogwalkers are important people too who might be able to save a life occasionally

  • Bob

    A doctor can’t rush to an emergency call from home unless his car is parked out front. That’s why they have special plates. End of story. Let’s get back to the religious placards- that actually makes sense.

  • No Doc

    I live on Clark Street at the corner of Columbia Heights and there are two MD’s who park there constantly. The light silver Mercedes is driven by a doc who looks like he hasn’t practiced in a couple decades. The second, a darker version of a similar Mercedes sedan, never looks like he’s in a hurry.

    These are obvious abusers of the system. Thanks for your reporting. Keep the good work up. Please give us a link on where to complain about these abuses.

  • Peter

    Bob hit the nail on the head … any chance we can turn Brooklyn Heights into Amsterdam? Our neighbors need to reeeelllaaxxxxxx ….

  • http://inklake.typepad.com Ink Lake

    Of course the ‘praying’ placards have zero justification. Perhaps medical-related have a little more, but I don’t think podiatrists are any more likely to be called to an emergency than a steel worker, and probably less so.

    In any event, if the People, in their wisdom, decide that doctors should get a break, it should be done by having that codified.

    Otherwise these privileges are going to be doled out in a way that leads to abuse and sore feelings. At best it leads to cynicism, at worse, it leads to something like the Times Square incident – which thankfully turned out to be a false alarm.

    For those who have asked who to contact to make similar complaints, the city’s website says that these complaints should be made via phone – to the 311 line. I encourage people to record the incident number and to follow-up.

    In Brooklyn Heights, you can also call the 84th Precinct, run by Captain Mark DiPaolo.
    (718) 875-6811

    The phone number for the Community Affairs Officer is (718) 875-6850.

    You can also contact your City Councilperson. In Brooklyn Heights, that’s Steve Levin:

  • ABC

    I would agree with Bob except for the fact that the “doctors on call” are often driven and parked by teenage kids with shopping bags. When do you think the last time the official Amtrak dermatologist had to rush off to an emergency?

    I would reeeeeeeellllllllaaxxxx more if regular citizens of earth had some leeway. I once brought my tiny newborn baby home from the hospital after having been in the NICU for a spell. I wanted to have a minute to introduce older sibling and big dog to the new addition and get everyone settled. Maybe even take a picture. I left a dated and TIMED note in the window, “Bringing newborn baby home from hospital! Be back in 5 minutes.” and sure enough, got a ticket. You have to laugh.

  • Joan

    Ink Lake- you’re so interested in exposing everyone involved- who are you?

  • http://inklake.typepad.com Ink Lake

    Hi Joan,
    My name is Peter Kaufman. Any time I’m doing something illegal, take a picture and blog about it. Sauce for the gander.

    Actually, feel free to blog about me – period. I’ll feel validated. :)

  • Bob Montague

    Slow news day?

  • my2cents

    Ink Lake, I think you mistakenly mix together a bunch of things here. There is a big difference between someone with an MD license plate (issued by the state, so i don’t know where you get the idea that this isn’t “codified” somewhere already) and someone with a delivery van in Times Square and a fake paper placard in the window. The biggest difference here is that one person is breaking the law while the other is abiding by the law as it currently is. Furthermore while it is annoying that people other than the doctor benefit from his plates while driving the car thus potentially abusing the system, I feel your annoyance comes from some type of class resentment based on the fact that he is a doctor with a Mercedes S Class. Why don’t you complain about the Beat up Blue Cadillac with the handicapped tags and the police dept. window stickers that is permanently parked at Clark and Hicks and only seems to move so that a metallic beige Pickup truck can park there periodically? Maybe it doesn’t touch off your righteous indignation that seems primarily focused on the wealthy and the religious.
    People abuse handicapped stickers and plates too. School teachers have also been caught abusing their placards. But maybe it is harder to get outraged if the cars aren’t luxury cars, or they aren’t blocking the bike lane that you like to use.

  • north heights res

    What feels like it’s overlooked here is that cars parked in no parking zones–with or without a placard that may or may not be used in the way in which it was intended–in and of themselves pose a threat to public safety. I live on Clark, and when cars are parked on both sides of the street, or even on just one side in a “no parking” zone, it’s impossible for fire trucks to make their way down the street with celerity. For a while, a police officer or fireman parked his SUV in a no parking zone right in front of my building, and a fire truck didn’t have the room to turn the corner into my street.

    How does one balance the needs of service people like doctors and police officers with the needs of the rest of the community?

  • B

    Does anyone know for sure if “MD” plates actually legally gives you the right to ignore traffic laws, or is it just a vanity plate that traffic cops have elected (seemingly under orders) to ignore? I can’t find anything online to say one way or the other.