Public Street, Private Parking
My family and I love Rockaway, my husband’s family owned three courts of bungalows on Beach 101 Street for many decades, my sons spent all their summers (27 years) in a bungalow in Rock, and continue to live there year round. Unfortunately, the bungalows were very old and hard to keep up and were torn down, the family planned on building homes there but that didn’t work out.
We eventually purchased a studio co-op on Beach 121 Street so we would definitely be able to spend summers at Rockaway (since unfortunately bungalows are a thing of the past) with a long-term plan to purchase a house and live there permanently. Which we are in the process of doing this year.
Since we were always East of Beach 116 Street, we never dealt with the weekend parking rules, although always were aware of them. Since moving here we accepted it as a part of life, but a very unfair part. I cannot understand why residents cannot get a tag or a sticker so we can park on the streets on the summer weekends.
Having said that the following is a result of this ridiculous rule.
On Sunday, July 8, around 9 p.m. I went to move my car from Beach 116 Street; as I was walking up my block, a girl was moving her minivan out of her 4-car driveway (which had no other cars in it) and moved it to the only open parking spot on the block.
Again, this is a practice of neighbors that we have come to accept even though it is sooo selfish. I get my car, drive around for 20 minutes, no legal spot for Monday, and remember a spot on Beach 119 Street, the house right next to the nursing home, that I know is legal even though the owners put cones out on the street.
I park my car there and without moving the cones and go home. Around 11p.m. two police officers knock on my door. I’m home by myself, so this was very alarming, I open the door and a female and male officer are standing there, asking me if I own the red car on Beach 119 Street; I said, yes.
They seemed to have been embarrassed by this house call because they kept looking down and away from me; they ask me to move the car, I advised them I am parked legally and that is not a driveway, there is a driveway to the left of my car for that house which had a car in it. They both acknowledged that it is not a driveway but anyway still ask me to move it. I asked if they are going to give me a ticket, they said no, I asked is the owner going to have me towed and they had a conversation about summonses and she was not sure if she could get one or not?? I asked them, are you telling me to move my car and they said, “well it would be better if you did....” now to me that sounds like a threat of some sort.
I told them I parked there about a month ago and someone put a note on my car asking that I don’t park there anymore as it’s a driveway. I said if it’s a legal driveway why isn’t the curb cut out and why do they always have to put the cones outside? the female officer said “yeah I know, I’ve asked her to move them and if not I’m gonna remove them myself..........”
I was so upset that I mentioned my husband’s occupation (which I am loathe to do) and they said “yeah well she’s a cop.” So this “cop” used her contacts to run my plates to get my address, then had 2 very nice and embarrassed police officers come to my apartment and tell me to move my car even though they knew it was wrong. I did decide to move it and when I got there the owner and her neighbor were waiting, she asked if this was my car and I said yes, and advised her it’s not a driveway, the police know it’s not a driveway and I don’t appreciate her using them for this purpose, but also said I was afraid something might happen to my car if I didn’t move it (I truly do not have money to deal with a pound of damage to my old car) I once again said it’s not a driveway and words were exchanged, her neighbor told me she has 2 driveways right next door on the same kind of house ... I’m sure there is some zoning law out there that 2 driveways are not permitted for these small houses. I mentioned this incident to quite a few of my friends who are longtime Rockaway residents and many of them cops and firemen, also one of them knew who I was talking about and told me her name and said she’s a retired cop and a bitch (I learned those two facts the hard way) and that I definitely should report this and write to The Wave.
We will be moving into this same neighborhood permanently before year’s end and it’s so upsetting to know that people will use their clout for something like this, wasting the police officers’ time and taxpayers money on something so ri-diculous as this. One of the officers mentioned that they were surprised she wanted us to do this as she had 2 cars parked in the front yard of her house, I advised them that when I got there there was only 1, so even with my car parked there, they were able to access the front yard that was turned into a parking space. I will also be filing a complaint with the precinct when I get back to Rockaway and am hoping this does not cause me and my family any repercussions as I feel I should not feel harassed or threatened in my own neighborhood, especially by retired cops.
Once I move down here permanently I will get in touch with the community board members to see if I can work with them and maybe help change this ridiculous law, all residents shouldn’t be penalized because some people want private beaches (as I know it’s a very big issue). As we all know, resident tags or stickers are our best option. So maybe this very upsetting incident will have a positive outcome.