Enraged Double-Parkers Take On Ticket-Writing D.O.T. Agents
Let’s face it: One of the most perilous uniformed jobs in New York isn’t that of a cop or even a correction officer on Rikers Island, but rather that of a traffic agent for the city’s Department of Transportation. At least that’s what two recent incidents on the mean streets of Manhattan would seem to suggest.
On July 9, a D.O.T. agent was issuing a ticket to an unoccupied vehicle that was illegally double-parked on the corner of 76th Street and Second Avenue. Before she’d finished writing the ticket, the vehicle’s driver returned. “I’m leaving, I’m leaving,” he told the agent.
However, he neglected to inform her that, before doing so, he intended to punish her by running her over. The man started up his 1992 white Ford minivan and drove it into the agent, knocking her to the ground. He then put the car in reverse and fled southbound on Second Avenue.
But there was something he hadn’t considered-the fact that the agent had already written down the vehicle registration number on the ticket. The car was traced to a Bronx address, and the case remains under investigation by the 19th Precinct detective squad. The D.O.T. agent, complaining of abdominal pain and difficulty breathing, was removed to New York Presbyterian Hospital by the E.M.S.
In another parking-related incident that occurred at 11 a.m. on July 2 in front of 320 East 79th Street, a traffic agent told a double-parker who was sitting in his car to move it. The motorist took the agent’s order literally: He moved the vehicle a mere three car lengths from where it had previously been stationed, and continued to double-park.
At that point, the agent stopped playing Ms. Nice Guy and proceeded to issue the driver a ticket for double-parking. The driver didn’t display his unhappiness over the summons by butting the officer with his vehicle, as did the fellow in the abovementioned incident. Instead, he calmly (well, perhaps not calmly, but purposefully) disembarked and knocked the summons out of the agent’s hand. He wasn’t through, though. Next he produced a handy baseball bat from the back seat of his car and started to advance on the traffic agent who, spotting the weapon (and apparently not unfamiliar with being put on the defensive by motorists), tried to call for assistance over her radio.
Rather than flee the scene at this point (as prudence would seem to dictate), the perp-civility taking over, if only momentarily-apparently abandoned his bat and went at the government employee barehanded, knocking the radio out of her hand. Just then, a gallant eyewitness got between the agent and motorist and broke up the fight. The suspect returned to his vehicle and fled eastbound on 79th Street. The police canvassed the area, with negative results. The agent suffered no injuries.
Don’t Mess With the Press
Frankly, there aren’t that many perks available to members of the Fourth Estate. This may explain why they guard the few they do have so jealously. One fringe benefit is the opportunity to apply for “NYP” press plates, which entitle the holder to park in designated areas that are off-limits to the general public. And-parking being what it is in the city-a journalist can get ugly quickly when he finds himself forced to feed quarters into a meter because some uncredentialed schmuck took the last spot in the press parking zone.
This phenomenon apparently explains the scratches one motorist, a 74-year-old East 80th Street resident, discovered on his BMW on July 3 after he’d parked the vehicle in a New York press–designated area at 60th Street and Park Avenue. He told the police that his vehicle (for which he has some sort of special parking permit, though not one that entitles him to “NYP” license plates) was vandalized on both July 2 and July 3.
In the first incident, his left door was scratched; in the second, his rear door and left rear fender were scratched. And since journalists feel most comfortable expressing themselves in print, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the victim reported finding notes on his car telling him not to park there because-duh!-it was reserved for the press. Apparently, the notes were not on letterhead.
If you’re going to get into a fight that draws blood-especially with a sibling-it helps to know what you’re fighting about. Unfortunately, an East 50th Street resident who was taken to Bellevue Hospital at around 6 a.m. on June 30 (after greeting the new day in an Upper East Side bar) was unable to recall what exactly had been the cause of the altercation he’d gotten himself into.
He confided to the police that his faulty memory had something to do with the fact that both he and his brother were intoxicated. Nonetheless, it was clear that the match had been spirited: It had started as a verbal dispute and then escalated into a physical battle, in which his brother punched him in the face and head, giving him a bloody nose and causing bruises on the face.
However, in the spirit of familial reconciliation, the victim stated “numerous times” to the cops that he had no desire to press charges. By the time the police arrived, the brother had left the scene.