Southern Brooklyn

How To Make Hell For Auto Dealers Who Illegally Use Street Parking


Our readers often complain to us about car dealers in the neighborhood parking their cars on residential blocks and gobbling up their parking spots. So we decided to look into the legality behind it and found that, according to the Department of Transportation, commercial vehicles, including cars being sold by dealers, cannot sit in a public street parking spot longer than three hours.

According to locals, though, some dealers and leasing companies have been wildly abusing the privilege, leaving cars on residential streets for days on end. We’ve even heard of some cases where they swap around the license plates to fool authorities into thinking the cars have moved.

Now, let’s be clear: this is not every local dealer – or even the majority of them. But a few bad apples are giving the entire local industry a bad reputation. So we’ve put together this handy guide for how you can complain about illegally parked cars with dealership plates in the hopes that we can curb the practice, and level the playing ground for the good-guy dealers and leasers who store their cars responsibly (and, often, at a cost).

If you see a car parked day after day in the same spot sporting dealer plates (which are clearly marked with the word “Dealer” on it), snap a photo for your records, and note the location by the address of the nearest building. Then it’s time to pick up the phone, turn your computer on and get that precious parking spot back.

  1. Call 311 and tell them that a car dealer is storing their goods on a residential block. Offer the photo, which should include the plates and hopefully a time stamp. The 311 representative will give you a service request number. Write it down.
  2. Follow that up with a call to your Community Board. For those living in Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach and Homecrest, it’s going to be Community Board 15. The Community Board provides much the same function as 311 – but with a human touch and a personal stake, improving the chances of a follow-up with the appropriate agencies. Community Board 15’s number is (718) 332-3008. When you call, tell them you have the 311 service request number. They’ll do their thing.
  3. If it’s a chronic problem in a certain area, stop by the 61st Precinct’s Community Council meetings, which take place on the second Wednesday of every month. There you can speak to the commanding officer directly and publicly, and often in the presence of elected officials, putting a little bit of pressure on the NYPD to provide a response. If the cops keep finding cars from the same dealer, they’ll likely stop by their offices to have a word with the owner.
  4. Call your councilman. This one’s extra credit if you really want to push the point. If you take this road, make sure to give the councilman’s representative that 311 number.

Finally, tell us about it. We want to know where exactly this is happening. If you’re concerned about privacy, email us at otherwise, leave the location in the comments, as well as an estimate of how long it’s been going on. We’re especially interested in the locations and timing, and are looking at putting a map together to identify problem areas.

One thing: please don’t speculate in our comments about which dealerships are doing this. Unless we can verify it independently, we don’t want to see this post become a place for making accusations that can harm potentially innocent local businesses.

Comment policy


  1. 5 green boro taxis have been parked on west-bound Shore Pkwy between Bedford Ave and E 23rd. Do they fall in the same category as dealer-plated vehicles?

  2. No since Green cabs and Yellow cabs are a different class of vehicle.
    Livery cab bases on the other hand are required to maintain off street parking for at least half their fleet within 1.5 miles of their base and almost all of the companies in the area violate this so you end up with tons of TLC plates and Ambulettes taking up on-street parking.
    FHV Ch 6-04(b)(1)

    An applicant for a license to operate a base station shall
    demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the
    operator of the base station shall provide and utilize lawful offstreet
    facilities for the parking and storage of the licensed forhire
    vehicles that are to be dispatched from the base station
    equal to not less than one parking space for every two such
    vehicles or fraction thereof. The maximum permissible
    distance between the base station and such off-street parking
    facilities shall be one and one-half miles. The off-street
    parking facilities shall be in a location zoned for the operation
    of a parking facility.

    The bases (meaning the company the individual cars operate for) should be reported to TLC via 311.

  3. Forgot to add that TLC does rubber stamp base licenses that don’t meet 6-04(b)(1) because of 6-04(b)(3) which is complete BS if you ask me.

    FHV Ch 6-04(b)(1)

    (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2), the Chairperson may reduce the number of required off-street
    parking spaces or may waive such requirement in its entirety
    upon a determination that sufficient lawful off-street parking
    facilities do not exist within the maximum permissible distance
    from the base station or an applicant demonstrates to the
    satisfaction of the Chairperson that complying with the offstreet
    parking requirements set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2)
    would impose an economic hardship upon the applicant; except
    that the Chairperson shall not reduce or waive the off-street
    parking requirements where it has been determined in an
    administrative proceeding that the applicant, or a predecessor
    in interest, has violated any provision of section 6-05 of the
    rules of the Commission or any successor thereto, as such may
    from time to time be amended. A determination to waive or
    reduce the off-street parking requirements shall be made in
    writing, shall contain a detailed statement of the reasons why
    such determination was made and shall be made a part of the
    Commission’s determination to approve an application for a
    base station license.

  4. Its not legitimate NY dealer plates in Sheepshead Bay, its those Delaware or Pennsylvania dealer plates that are on almost every street two-fold. Not counting the ‘paper’ plates in the back windows of the auction/craigslist cars for sale.

  5. One thing that I can say is a waste of time: telling cops in a radio car. They’ll just tell you to call the precinct community relations officer who never answers the phone.

  6. The daddy of all dealerships around these parts is on Nostrand Avenue between Avenues N and M. Near N, on the west side of Nostrand, cars are parked perpendicular to the street and half on it and half on the sidewalk. Meters there were always unfed and ignored, and now with the individual meters gone and replaced by those new parking-receipt dispensers, I still see the cars parked illegally and depriving the city of funds.

  7. Do you think someone is paid off so these cars are not ticketed for staying at parking meters for free?

  8. Just be careful when you’re taking any photos to be as discreet as possible. Some of these car dealers aren’t exactly on the level, and probably know people who can make your life a living hell in retaliation.

  9. Presidential Auto Leasing parks a car with their logo, etc. (usually PA plates) on the sidewalk (parallel with the building) in front of their storefront at 2311 Ave. Z (bet. E. 24 and E. 23). There is NO driveway anywhere on this block – how do they drive up there and off? Very dangerous to pedestrians and kids going in and out of the Tovushi youth center next door.

    Let’s all call them at 718.313.0044 and tell them what we think of this.

  10. There is an auto leasing company on avenue Z between e 23 & 24 that parks one of their cars ON the sidewalk in front of their storefront (parallel with the building). There are NO driveways on this stretch of ave Z so you can only wonder how they drive on and off the sidewalk without hitting any pedestrians or the kids going in and out of the youth center next door.

  11. “depriving the city of funds” F$@#$% this city…. these people trying to survive and offer affordable cars….why don’t you go out real crooks aka cops, law makers and politicians….you people don’t have your heads

  12. While not technically Sheepshead Bay, I see cars parked on West 5th and Neptune ave. all the time.
    I’m guessing these are cars purchased and delivered straight from auction.
    Some with a dealer plate in the window, some with the paper plates, but very often (more often then not) they park the cars with no plates or papers whatsoever, and take up very limited parking in a highrise neighborhood, where thousands of people live withing a few square blocks.
    Not once did I see these cars ticketed, or towed!

  13. You mention – “commercial vehicles, including cars being sold by dealers, cannot sit in a public street parking spot longer than three hours”

    Does that include all the ambulettes that populate the streets? My block is full of them day and night

  14. On Google Street View, I count no fewer than 15 cars parked on the sidewalk at Plaza Auto Mall on Nostrand. Perhaps you consider storage of private property on public sidewalks to be “trying to survive and offer affordable cars”; I consider it to be pretty crooked.

  15. This why I believe off the book payments are made not to enforce existing laws. I can’t believe these people are paying fines everyday.

  16. How about everyday people who stressed out have to deal with crooks like nypd, law makers and politicians…you know how many times I saw an off duty cop private car parked in so called “illegal way” while displaying their nypd placard. Some things I don’t understand why so many streets need to have restrictions for people to park……oh let me guess its because crooks need money from people…Go ahead follow all the rules and regulations that created by law makers and politicians in order to benefit themselves. Also thank all pigs whenever you get a ticket or being stopped for no good reason….unless you are not an outgoing person that always stays in your comfort zone called home…did you hear what assholes did in NJ for 4 straight days they let people suffer in heavy traffic due to some motherf@#$% felt its ok for him/her to do that meanwhile these same scumbags put a siren on the streets just to get a quicker for point a to b….you can stay naïve don’t change…..I hate holding average people more responsible when we have assholes that control herd aka people getaway with more serious corruption and abuse

  17. Yes I can see your point: taking pictures may get just as dangerous as parking on these streets known for car break-ins and windows shattered for no apparent reason and long nasty scratches all around the car. I don’t even mention slashed tires. Oh the times we live in!

  18. I’m not quite sure what that has to do with my comment. Do you think it is acceptable for a private business to store 15 cars on the sidewalk? I don’t.

  19. A TON of these cars in Astoria around 41st street, 23rd ave and Astoria Blvd blocks. They take up 4+ blocks of their cars. Some don’t have plates at all, some have plates but most are out-of-state plates. They especially like to park on the one-way streets that have no alternate side parking so they never move the car once for weeks at a time.

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