Car wars! Ridgites say livery cabs are taking over block

Car wars! Ridgites say livery cabs are taking over block
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Neighbors along 74th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues say that a car service is clogging their block with vehicles — and leaving little room for anyone else.

Cars working for a livery cab company on the block, called Black Sea Taxi and Limo, line the street — often double-parked — with no regard for the actual residents, according to folks who live there.

“If I look out my window now, there’s a Black Sea car parked directly in front of my house,” said resident Joseph Collins. “That’s what the real problem is, and they won’t give up the spot.”

Homeowners complain that the congestion and double parking spoil what was once a peaceful neighborhood.

“I used to live on a beautiful tree-lined block. Now I come home and there are 14 double-parked cars,” said one resident, who asked not to be named.

The problem reportedly began less than a year ago, when the taxi stand re-opened under new management. Neighbors said the previous owner would order his drivers to move their cars if they were blocking needed parking spaces.

“Before there was an agreement for them to not park. If I see them and say I need a spot, they would give it to me,” said 14-year resident Yefim Magazanin. “Now I come from work at about 6, 6:30 and it’s so hard to find a spot.”

Others said that the drivers for the new company respond with hostility when asked to relocate.

“These guys now, they sit there — you ask them to move their car, they’ll give you the finger,” said another neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous. “You’ve got a radio, you can go park in a commercial area and come around when you get a call. You don’t have to sit in front of my house!”

Bay Ridge’s Community Board 10 said that it has gotten more than a dozen complaints about Black Sea, and heard similar concerns from across the neighborhood.

“It’s an ongoing problem, to the frustration of a lot of local residents,” said CB10 district manager Josephine Beckmann

But Beckmann points out that the law does not consider taxis to be commercial vehicles, and so they are allowed to park on residential streets. She also pointed out that the Taxi and Limousine Commission — the city agency that regulates hired vehicles — requires that car services keep half their fleet in off-street parking, but does not stipulate any way of marking or numbering cabs so that enforcement can tell if the statute is being followed.

Black Sea, for its part, claimed that it never keeps more than two or three cars parked on the street — out of a fleet of 20. The company’s leadership also said that they only ever have one car double-parked on the street, and only directly in front of their base just off Fifth Avenue.

“We understand that people want parking spots, but we can’t hold spots for people just because they live on the block,” said co-owner Margarita Kaminski.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.