Long Beach, New York — August 23, 2006 —
Manhattan parking is tough enough without the City’s trickery
Erik Feder, the “NYC Parking Expert”, became suspicious after getting several nearly identical emails from readers of PARKAZINE – his free “Where to park your car in NYC” e-newsletter. His readers often write him for advice if they feel that they’ve been unfairly ticketed. People complained of getting parking tickets incredibly fast (sometimes within seconds) at parking meters; there seemed to him to be too many of these complaints to be simple coincidence. “People were writing me, suggesting that the City must have spotters watching for cars pulling up at meters or that the meters themselves must have sensors”, says Feder. He decided to conduct his own experiment. Parking at a meter on 2nd Ave near 12th Street in Manhattan, he ducked inside a pizzeria to watch. Only 93 seconds later, a police car zoomed up and stopped directly next to his car. The officer hopped out, slapped a ticket on the windshield and sped away.
According to Feder “When I parked, there were no police or traffic officers anywhere to be seen. Suddenly and without hesitation, a car pulls up and tickets me – not bothering to check any of the other cars parked at meters on the street. It sure looked like they knew what they would do before getting to my car”.
Upon looking at the computer-generated ticket, he saw that part of it was unreadable. “I knew I could fight it and that I should win”, states Feder. He pled not guilty by mail by reason of the ticket being partially illegible and about two months later, received an envelope from the NYC Department of Finance containing a readable copy of the ticket -and nothing else. “The was no ruling, no indication of whether I should or shouldn’t pay the fine, nothing”, declares Feder. He sent that ticket back to them, along with a polite letter explaining that while he was glad a legible copy of the ticket did exist, the issue was clearly that parts of the original ticket that he was issued were not readable.
On July 3, 2006, Feder received a “Decision and Order” letter from the NYCDOF stating that the summons was dismissed and that he owed nothing. Feder recommends knowing your rights and being willing to fight if need be – “People think that you can’t fight City Hall, but you can. If you get a Manhattan parking ticket like I did that you feel you don’t deserve or is improperly filled out, contest it. If you are in the right, hold your ground. There is no reason why someone should pay a parking ticket if they don’t deserve it. Most people would be surprised how many NYC parking tickets are written that can be beaten”.
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