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BIG SCREECHERS: Forget King Kong, Beware of That Traffic Agent

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Aaahhhh ahhaaah yhhhhhha ahh! In case you don’t know what that means, it’s the Tarzan yell warning all of you that King Kong is loose on 86th Street, ready to pounce on unsuspecting double parked cars…with or without the driver inside. Boy this giant gorilla dressed in a Traffic Enforcement Agent’s suit must do Billionaire Bloomberg proud filling the city’s coffers with $115 double-parking fines from 86th Street. Stan Roher who used to be the President of 86th Street/Bensonhurst Board of trade once called 86th Street the largest outdoor shopping mall. This vital shopping area over a mile long is one of the busiest hubs in the city. Figure it out, 86 Street runs from 25th Avenue to 18th Ave, which is 7 Avenues, each Avenue has three blocks separating it, so 7 times 3 = 21 blocks, a mile is approximately 20 blocks. Now I’m not including the blocks past 18th Avenue, because they are not under the El. This portion of the El where the West End line thunders overhead has four stops, 18th Ave, 20th Ave. Bay Parkway and 25th Avenue. 86th Street under the El is six lanes wide. 2 parking lanes. 2 lanes going in opposite directions and two double parking lanes. These lanes parallel to the parking lanes are used to drop off or pick up passengers, and of course illegal double parking. Now to be truthful, nothing irks me more than to be legally parked and trapped by an illegal double-parked car, whose driver has left the car. It’s happened to you, it’s happened to me. How often in my frustration have I said “Boy, there’s never a cop around when you need one.” That kind of driver deserves a ticket! But, on 86th Street, if double parking was totally prevented, then all those stores on 86th Street might as well close up shop. Those merchants have the curse of not enough parking spaces, barely enough parking lots (there are two, a tiny one on Bay 23rd Street and one between 17th and 18th Avenue,) and fanatical Traffic Enforcement agents, previously called Brownies or Meter maids and always called Bastards. Hey! I’m only reflecting the opinions of those millions throughout the city that suffered the financial strain of getting wrongly ticketed. No wonder everybody drives to the Malls in Staten Island, New Jersey and Long Island, you can park and shop free. Even though, the tolls are expensive, it’s cheaper than getting $100 parking tickets. As you might have guessed by now, I obviously was given a $115 ticket for double-parking…while behind the wheel and with the car in neutral and my foot on the brake. What, you might say…you were in the car and got the ticket? I’m a longtime resident of Bensonhurst and like most of you, know in order to shop, go to the bank, drop off a prescription under the El, you better do the driving and double parking and have your wife do the shopping. If the traffic cops come, they tell you to move and you go around the block until your wife comes out. The local precinct cops extend this courtesy to you, knowing full well the financial effects it would have on the merchants, if they ticketed everybody and scared everyone from coming to 86th Street. Like I said, this is how we do our chores on 86th Street, and in the past we’ve been chased by Traffic Department agents as well. Move they say and we did…sometimes going around the block ten/twenty times. However, this particular Friday, Sharon suggested we get some bagels from the Bagel Store on 86th Street and Bay Parkway, which incidentally has some of the best tasting bagels in the city and has been there for decades. Fortunately there was a double parking space, which allowed me to drop off Sharon, and as I got my bearing, all of a sudden King Kong pounced at my open window and asks me for my driver’s license. He didn’t ask me to move, he had his victim, and being the 30th of the month, probably had to fill his quota. The Traffic Department and the Police Department swear there are no quota’s to be met. That statement is akin to rubbing salt in the wounds they just afflicted. Tell it to Mayor Bloomberg, whose administration has financially flourished since he hiked up all sorts of fines. Obviously he feels, that since he could afford such hefty fines if he broke the law, you can too. I could too afford to pay the $115 fine if I had his 4 Billion dollars in my bank. Now lets get back to the Gorilla wearing the Blue Traffic Enforcement uniform, similar to what the cops wear. As I’m fumbling in my wallet for my License, he’s already scanning my registration sticker on the window, which meant that I was getting a ticket for “technically” double parking. Excuse me, but I’m under the assumption that a parked car is where you leave your vehicle. I’m in the car, with the motor running in neutral and my foot is depressing the brake. The same as though I stopped for a long light, this Kong bastard would probably give out tickets for triple parking at traffic lights…if he could. Stunned that I received the ticket, I was more stunned when I finally saw the amount of the fine…$115. He was almost to the corner, when reality hit and I yelled out in a voice that thundered underneath the El, turning the heads of the passer-bys “you should drop dead!” I guess Kong only understood Gorilla grunts and didn’t understand English. Well, as soon as Kong left, Sharon appeared with the 4 bagels and I told her those bagels cost us 115 bananas. What? I repeated myself and told her those 4 bagels cost us $115. “What, I was in there for a minute, didn’t he ask you to move?” Nope, he asked me for my license and said I was technically double-parked. Now if you think I was being harsh calling Kong a bastard, you should have heard the expletives Sharon was using. To say she was furious would be an understatement. She was determined to find Kong and confront the beast. Sharon is blond and you know the ending of the story…it was beauty that killed the beast. We caught up with Kong on 23rd Avenue; he was giving a man a ticket that was parked too close to the hydrant in front of his house. I dropped off Sharon and made a U turn up the block to pick her up. Sharon identified herself as a city worker showing her ID and asked, aren’t you supposed to tell the driver to move before you issue the ticket? Kong said, “The courtesy is, if he sees the uniform he should move.” “And suppose he didn’t see you?” “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do about it now” he grunted, not knowing exactly whom he was talking to from City Hall. We noted that Kong didn’t bother the Fed Ex truck that double-parked on 23rd Ave, whose driver left the truck to make a delivery, right near the cursing homeowner that he just ticketed. To be continued. Screech at you next week!

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