Xaverian High School is stealing public parking spots, residents claim

Residents plan to sue to get back parking spots

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bay Ridge residents are lashing out against Xaverian High School for taking away several precious parking spots near 71st Street and Shore Road to put in a loading zone for school buses, but the Catholic high school’s president said the street changes came from a higher power — the city of New York.

The Department of Transportation installed no parking signs near the corner over the weekend in order to open up enough space to load and unload school buses when classes begin in September, enraging neighbors who say they will sue the city if the signs aren’t removed.

“If Transportation thinks they can take public land and give it to a private religious institution, they’ve got another thing coming,” said Allen Bortnick, who lives at the corner of 72nd Street and Shore Road and is so desperate for a place to park his 1997 Crown Victoria that he asked the city if he could rent the spot in front of his apartment. “I have a right to park there. They do not have a right to tell me I can’t park there.”

Other parking-spot strapped residents say Xaverian thumbed its nose at its neighbors when the no parking signs were put in.

“This is their declaration of war,” said former Bay Ridge democratic district leader Ralph Perfetto, who said he would join a lawsuit and happily sign the petition Bortnick is circulating demanding that the no parking signs be removed. “So we’re going to war with them.”

Other neighbors said that removing parking spots was the worst thing one can do in Bay Ridge.

“It’s going to be impossible to live here,” said resident Debbie Guerriero. “I pay $1,700 a month in maintenance and I cannot park.”

Yet Xaverian president Robert Alesi claims he never asked the city for the signs.

“The Department of Transportation was the one that initiated this,” said Alesi, who claimed that the city began studying the corner after a car struck a student as he crossed Shore Road to get to a school bus. The student wasn’t seriously harmed. “They thought there was a real safety concern for kids at dismissal and we agreed.”

Alesi said that he and Xaverian’s administration wanted a traffic light installed at the corner of Shore Road and 71st Street, but were given a school bus loading zone instead.

But the city doesn’t remember its conversation with the school the same way: a Department of Transportation spokesman said the agency put in the no parking signs “in response to a request from school representa­tives.”

Neighbors say they’ve been pushing the school to build a two-story garage in the back of the school that would accommodate parents, teachers, and school buses.

“If they are so desperate for parking, let them build a second floor onto their parking lot with ramps,” said Bortnick. “They’re a big-shot school, they have the money.”

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Reader Feedback

Dave from Park Slope says:
“I have a right to park there. They do not have a right to tell me I can’t park there.”

Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! No, Allen Bortnick, you do NOT have a "right" to park there. Free street parking isn't enshrined in the Constitution. But kids do have a right not to get hit by cars when they're going to and from school.

Man up, already, Allen.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:02 am
Jay from Bay Ridge says:
Xaverian High School should open its parking lot for residential parking overnight and on weekend.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:09 am
Tony from Sunset Park says:
Allen Bortnick--We understand your frustration, but take a deep breath and try looking at the bigger picture. We're talking here about the safety of kids. There is no nefarious conspiracy afoot to deny you of your rights. And I agree with "Dave"--storing your property (your car) on public property (the street) is not a right; it is a major privilege.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:25 am
T from BR says:
Neighbors for Better Parking Places.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:31 am
ty from pps says:
"I pay $1,700 a month in maintenance and I cannot park."

HAHAHAHAH! And this is the school's fault? You pay the equivalent of a very nice 1-bedroom apartment just for maintenance and you're whining because you didn't think of also renting a parking spot somewhere?

And Bortnick... "They’re a big-shot school, they have the money." I love ignorant statements like this based on nothing.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:31 am
Bob from NYC says:
Allen Bortnick: so you'd rather have the city take public land and give it to YOU so you can park your private vehicle for free. Right.

At least schools, even if private, contribute towards the public interest. The safety of kids greatly outweighs your desire for a free parking spot.

It has been estimated that the market value of a parking spot is roughly $30,000 (it varies greatly depending on location, of course, but it ain't cheap). And you want to get one for free. I can imagine why!
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:45 am
Martian from PH says:
Oh, Allen. “If Transportation thinks they can take public land and give it to a private religious institution, they’ve got another thing coming,” said Allen Bortnick.

You're actually probably right about that. They probably shouldn't give public land to private parties at all. No more private storage on public land!
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:46 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
Allen Bortnick: “I have a right to park there. They do not have a right to tell me I can’t park there.”

OMG. Amazing. Where does this guy live/park? I'm going to start camping out on his sidewalk asserting my "rights" to park there.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:51 am
Gary T from Brooklyn says:
"If Transportation thinks they can take public land and give it to a private religious institution, they’ve got another thing coming."

I agree!!!! They also shouldn't give public land and give it to a private individual for the storage of his vehicle! Time to give all of that pavement back to the majority of New Yorkers who do not own cars...the public!
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:55 am
Ch from Bh says:
Idiots like this are what keep me from moving to Bay Ridge.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:59 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Nobody likes to lose parking spots, but public safety should take precedence. One thing that can and should be done is to reroute the bus that now travels down 71st Street to turn onto Shore Road in front of Xaverian. 71st Street is very narrow, and several spots are lost due to DOT No Parking signs at the corners of 71st and Colonial. Send the bus down the much wider 75th Street instead and you can reclaim several spaces and eliminate traffic jams in the morning on 71st. There is a stop for that bus on Narrows and 70th anyway, right behaind Xaverian, so the kids can get off there and walk into school. It is idiotic to have that bus go down 71st. If Xaverian has the money to build a parking garage, that would be great. I would hope that the residents nearby would not complain about having the garage there.
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:08 am
John from Bay Ridge says:

Speaking of idiotic, I see that Bortnick is making moronic statements again. Hard to believe that this intemperate person ever had a position of responsibility on the Community Board. No Allen, you don't have a right to a guaranteed parking spot on the street for your 1998 Crown Vic. Yes, it is inconvenient to have to look for a parking spot, but that's part of the trade off for living in a beautiful building on Shore Road. Parking can be a hassle in desirable areas with lots of residents living in apartment buildings. If you want a guaranteed spot, rent a garage spot.
I see Ralph Perfetto is involved now. Tell me Ralph, are still going to court and pretending to be an attorney?
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:09 am
Spotless mind from Bay Ridge says:
The pick up/drop off situation at Xaverian has been a nightmare for years and due in large part to parents/students in private cars dropping off their precious students at the door of Xaverian. All these SUVs, etc. cause congestion and poor visibility of students crossing the street. Encourage the parents to drop the kids off a few blocks away and let them walk. By High School (I know there are younger children in the Genesis program) these boys should be able to walk a few blocks and should know how to cross the street !
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:11 am
Real Estate Agent from Jersey says:
If you pay $1700 a month in maintenance and can't find parking, why don't you move to the suburbs, pay $1700 in a mortgage and get a driveway?

Absurd. No one has a right to free parking.

Kids have a right to safety.
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:12 am
Gary T from Brooklyn says:
Is this the same Ralph Perfetto as the guy pictured above? If so, he seems very familiar with our legal system.
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:35 am
Gary T from Brooklyn says:
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:35 am
ty from pps says:
"The pick up/drop off situation at Xaverian has been a nightmare for years..."

A NIGHTMARE! Oh lordy have mercy! Aaaaack!
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:42 am
BrianVan from Gramercy says:
What kind of editor approves a story framed in this fashion? None of the pro-parking zealots quoted in this article have made any sort of reasonable argument for the re-appropriation of public streets from public use to private use.

You know, out in the actual suburbs, no one parks on the street. You can drive for miles outside of the downtown areas and find that street parking isn't even allowed most of the time. You need to use your garage or carport to store your car. Can you imagine how this blustery nonsense sounds to those people?

I'm sorry that people were stupid enough to build houses in Bay Ridge that didn't assure permanent private parking for all the residents who needed it, but, maybe you should work on that. Stop demanding the city to bail you out of your parking issues. Bail yourself out.
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:43 am
ty from pps says:
BrianVan -- overnight, on-street parking was illegal in NYC until the 50's too.
Aug. 15, 2012, 11:11 am
boof from brooklyn says:
Hey Bortnick, why don't you build a ramp up to your living room and park there. Problem solved.
Aug. 15, 2012, 11:13 am
Human from Bay Ridge says:
Dear Mr. Perfetto
Imagine everyone you know owning a Car. Now have them all look for On Street Parking, See the Problem?... On Street Parking is Not a Right it's a Privilege. You should be glad I ride a Bicycle, I don't use your Gas, take up little space on your road and don't take up your precious Parking Spots! Hopefully you won't get a Sinkhole on your block.
Aug. 15, 2012, 12:29 pm
Joe R. from Flushing says:
It's absolutely incredible that people think like this. True that the street is public land but it's also equally true that there is no right to store private property on public land unless the city grants you that right. When it does, it can just as quickly take that right away if it turns out there is a better use for this public land. Remember at one time the city largely forbid curbside parking. It could easily do so again and there will be no legal recourse to have this prohibition overturned. You no more have a "right" to store your car on the street than you do to keep your couch there. If having a car is so important, then make sure you have a place to park it off public streets lest the city one day forbids curbside parking again.

And I agree with those who say drop the kids off a few blocks away and let them walk if no parking exists in front of the school. It'll do most of these kids some good.
Aug. 15, 2012, 3:06 pm
Brooklynite from Somewhere Other Than Bay Ridge, Thank God. says:
“If Transportation thinks they can take public land and give it to a private religious institution, they’ve got another thing coming,” said Allen Bortnick...

Umm, Allen, DOT isn't "taking" public land. DOT is responsible for managing and maintaining city streets. DOT owns the streets. It's their land. DOT has clearly decided that it makes more sense to prioritize the safety of hundreds of school children above the needs of one selfish, addled, old man. Seems reasonable to me.
Aug. 15, 2012, 3:16 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Foolish cranks like Perfetto and Bortnick are not representative of Bay Ridge. Though it's clear that the Brooklyn Paper loves to interview morons like this. Makes for good copy and lots of comments on the article.
Aug. 15, 2012, 4:08 pm
Adamben from Bedstuy says:
Just have the churches give up that free parking out front and we'll call it even.
Aug. 15, 2012, 4:54 pm
Peter says:
Dear Mr. Bortnick,

Can I use your car anytime I want?

Oh wait, I can't.. because it's your private property?

Aug. 15, 2012, 4:54 pm
tom from sunset park says:
Why did NYCDOT initiate this? The school didn't ask for it. Perhaps a resident? Ask the City agency how it came about.
So much for community consultation.
Aug. 15, 2012, 5:16 pm
not tom from sunset park says:
tom, since you once said "let's shoot all the bikers" at a community board meeting i don't think anyone should take your comments seriously.

that and the fact that there's no amount of safety for kids that you'd be in favor of it it meant losing a parking space. call it the tom murphy rule: if it inconveniences tom murphy, don't do it!

i'm sure you're turning a bright shade of red reading this right now.

parking obsessed maniacs like you and bortnick need to gracefully bow out of any discussions concerning the future of brooklyn and safe streets.

Aug. 15, 2012, 6:32 pm
old time brooklyn from slpe says:
anybod here actually born and raised in brooklyn?
Aug. 15, 2012, 6:36 pm
ty from pps says:
Old Time --
Are you close to dying in Brooklyn yet?
Aug. 15, 2012, 6:47 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
It's heartening when the overwhelming sentiment of Brooklyn Paper commenters is for the pro-public use of streets.
Aug. 15, 2012, 8:38 pm
JAY from PSLOPE says:
just to make a point, the city is not actually giving public land (street) to a religious organization, the city retains title and possession of that land, they are just granting access to it and saying that land (street) is to be used for schools buses, so not the same thing Ralphie boy.
Since you want to play pretend street lawyer thought I would point that out as you seem to want to make this some sort of first amendment violation case, which its not since the city does this for all sorts of different viewpoints and organizations. Fail.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:03 pm
Dave from Park Slope says:
At least they won't have to go out-of-pocket for their lawsuit -- Perfetto can pretend to be their attorney.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:33 pm
Klint says:
What the hell is Bortnick upset about? Bortnick has a New York State disability parking permit and can park just about ANYWHERE he wants. Sounds like he needs a hobby.
Aug. 15, 2012, 9:47 pm
tom from sunset park says:

I demand you remove the posting from "not tom from sunset park" that states, with malice, that I ever said "let's shoot all the bikers." at a community board meeting. I certainly would never think let alone spout such a sinister thought. The poster, who prefers to hide his identity, should realize, if rational, that at this time in this nation such an absurd accusation is beyond civilized discussion.

I still seek to know who in Bay Ridge is not communicating with their neighbors about co-opting the commons.

Aug. 15, 2012, 10:29 pm
mike from GP says:
Wow, there are some crazy, misinformed folks in Bay Ridge. It's amazing how far people will go to defend a dysfunctional status quo.
Aug. 15, 2012, 11:15 pm
not tom from sunset park says:
Tom, you most certainly did say it. You repeated the comment at a community board transportation committee and at the Brooklyn Gateway transportation workshop sponsored by Letitia James. I told you at the time that I ought it was offensive and this was before recent tragic events. So don't hide behind that garbage.

Since you advocated violence against cyclists most people will understand why I prefer to remain anonymous.

Please go away.
Aug. 15, 2012, 11:18 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Old Timer, I'm born and raised in Brooklyn.

Mike from GP, Bortnick and Perfetto are tired old cranks who are not representative of Bay Ridge. The Brooklyn Paper actively seeks out morons like them to interview because it makes good copy.
Aug. 16, 2012, 10:20 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
let's get someone, maybe Gentile, to do something usefull and move the bus route from 71st Street to Bay Ridge Parkway. You'll open up a few presious spaces and eliminate a major source of traffic jams on 71st.
Aug. 16, 2012, 10:22 am
ty from pps says:
Umm... John from Bay Ridge, seeing the B64 travels on Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and the B4 travels on Bay Ridge Parkway (75th Street), I guess your wish has come true!

I mean... you're not honestly talking about the ONE BLOCK of 71st Street that the B64 and B9 use as a loop to terminate the route... are you? (Incidentally a small loop that brings MASS TRANSIT directly to Xaverian High School.)

Please tell me, oh sage motorist, how does making a bus travel an *additional* four blocks on Narrows Avenue magically fix traffic? And please, oh glorious man-who-hasn't-been-on-a-bus-in-decades, how is a bus "a major source of traffic jams"?!?!?!?!
Aug. 16, 2012, 10:44 am
ty from pps says:
John -- I have an easier suggestion. Why don't YOU drive to Bay Ridge Parkway and stop contributing to the traffic jams that supposedly happen? Hmmm?
Aug. 16, 2012, 10:45 am
T from Brooklyn says:
A bus doesn't cause traffic. All of the selfish drivers that block the bus cause traffic.
Aug. 16, 2012, 11:23 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Ty from pps

Even though you're an uninformed jerk I'll answer your question, just to set you straight. 71st Street is very narrow, and has (no surprise here) lots of car and foot traffic in the mornings and afternoons for school arrivals and drop offs. Adding a bus to that traffic mix is not only unnecessary, it's stupid. Xaverian occupies the entire block, so it already is serviced by those buses via the stop between 70th and 71st on Colonial, where the school kids exit because they don't want to wait in the traffic when it turns down 71st. The only reason that it now turns down 71st is that someone at the MTA wanted to shorten the route by 2 blocks. Yes cars double park, but this falls under the heading of "dealing with reality." There is no reason to have the busses go down 71st.

Got it? Now try to talk about things you know something about.
Aug. 16, 2012, 1:52 pm
ty from pps says:
So, you ARE talking about the ONE block on 71st. Hmm...

Again, John, I suggest you drive a different way.
Aug. 16, 2012, 2:50 pm
ty from pps says:
By the way -- guess what will help the flow of traffic immensely on this street.... the loading zone No Parking in front of the school.

Hallelujah! Your dreams came true again!
Aug. 16, 2012, 2:52 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
ty from pps,

You're a real moron, who obviously has never been to 71st Street. I never said I oppose the school bus loading zone. In fact, I don't. Re-routing the city busses from 71st is a separate issue, which you are apparently too stupid to understand. I don't drive down 71st. Rather I walk down it. And it is clear that adding empty busses to an already crowded mix of cars, students on foot, delivery trucks, and twice a week, garbarge trucks, makes absolutely no sense. The kids exit the busses on Colonial and 71st. We are talking about empty busses going down 71st.
Aug. 16, 2012, 3:39 pm
tom murphy from sunset park says:
It appears I have attracted a stalker.

While I have attended many community meetings, including the Brooklyn Gateway workshop sponsored by CM Letitia James, I have never said anything like what 'not tom from sunset park' stated. I took part in the pedestrian safety subgroup that day, chaired by Michael Cairl of the Park Slope CC, and had nothing to say about cyclists or biking. Pedestrian safety is more important to me. Ryan Lynch of Tristate Transportation Campaign was there that day, and we sit together on Community Board #7. He attends many community board meetings with me, he would have heard what you assert over and over again. Am I correct? He's never mentioned it. Nor has Michael Cairl, who I have seen several times. Certainly such an assertion on my part at any CB meeting would have drawn public censure, or removal. Does this make any sense to you?

I would have confronted that person immediately if and when they spoke such an offensive absurdity. I ask why you didn't, or did you? I'm sure someone else hearing it at any of these meetings would have confronted or corrected the speaker. I'm sure it was noted by others present for future reference, yet these incidents have never been shared with me until your irresponsible accusations of yesterday. That workshop was on March 31st, and four months have passed.

I can only conclude you have me mistaken with someone else, and you owe me an apology here in front of all those who have read your baseless accusations. Then you should get professional help.
Aug. 16, 2012, 3:57 pm
Ev from Bay Ridge says:
Move on, Tom. Your reputation is intact. Unless Tal Barzilai shows up, nobody reads this stuff.
Aug. 16, 2012, 10:20 pm
Tony from Shore Rd says:
I see John from Bay Ridge is all over this post insulting older Bay Ridge residents, John you are transparent, from your various posts on these and other issues, you are making clear who you are and who you run with. Your a sad drone who sniffs rosebuds at the NBG and takes orders from other like minded kooks. You are tough on line but in real life you would crouch down a blaze of shame and wimpering...
Aug. 19, 2012, 6:11 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Hey Tony, I only insult people that take stupid positions, so if you feel offended add yourself to the list of the intellectually lame.

I'm neither a member nor a volunteer at the NBG. Just someone smart enough to appreciate a nice neighborhood amenity.

Also, I'm perfectly happy to run roughshod over idiots in real life, face to face. I do it for a living.
Aug. 19, 2012, 9:14 pm
wally from Bay Ridge says:
Mr. Perfetto and Allen B ARE representative of Bay Ridge, They Are Bay Ridge, YOU John from Bay Ridge are not Bay Ridge and you never will be, you are all over the threads on Bklyn Paper insulting others, you are likely a homebound Social Security disability recipient on various meds for a variety of mental disorders who has been the victim of periodic beatings at the hands of local Bay Ridge teens that you fight with on occasion. I have seen you limping around Shore Rd collecting cans and picking up trash near the park....
Aug. 22, 2012, 6:01 pm

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