Doorman says Slope ‘parking ring’ is real — and necessary

Doorman says Slope ‘parking ring’ is real — and necessary
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A doorman at a posh Prospect Park West building has cracked the code of secrecy about a parking spot-saving scheme, saying he’s forced to abandon the unwritten ethics of the street because parking in Park Slope is so competitive.

A concierge admitted his involvement in what neighbors call a “parking ring,” telling this newspaper that when he moves cars for tenants on street cleaning days, he intentionally leaves un-parkable half-spaces in front of or behind the vehicles. When it comes time to move another tenant’s car, he inches the first vehicle forward — creating a parking spot where none existed before.

“I just use my car to hold a spot for them,” explained Vick Narain, a doorman at 44 Prospect Park West. “The minute there’s a space, it will be gone within five minutes; someone’s always looking for parking around here.”

Narain said he also saves street spaces for tenants in his building by standing in the road on Tuesday mornings, when alternate-side parking rules are enforced.

The Seinfeld-style spot-snagging strategy angers already stressed-out motorists, who say the doormen’s antics — and the neighborhood’s larger parking crunch — should warrant action from city officials.

“It’s not a joke or sensational thing,” said Maura Collins, a Park Slope resident. “It’s a real problem.”

Other doormen said they sometimes park cars for tips, but claim they never spot-save.

“I’m just doing people a favor — if they want to give me a tip they can,” said George, a doorman at 27 Prospect Park West. “It’s not like I’m charging $100.”

Residents on nearby Montgomery Place have for months accused doormen of running a “parking ring,” which is not actually illegal, at least according to written law.

“It’s not criminal — but it’s certainly not very neighborly,” Detective Cheryl Crispin said in February.

A superintendent at 27 Prospect Park refuted allegations of spot-saving, claiming doormen “are just helping out four or five people ” by moving double-parked cars to keep traffic flowing during street cleaning days.

But some Park Slope drivers are fighting what they consider a serious parking problem: holding block association meetings and even anonymously issuing homemade parking “citations” to drivers who leave too much wasted curb-space in front of or behind their cars.

The whole thing may seem fit for a sit-com — but not everybody is laughing.

“Sometimes you spend 30 or 45 minutes driving around looking for a spot,” said Carolyn Byrd. “It gets really contentious.”

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.