By will bredderman
The city is giving a Fourth Avenue supermarket owner his own loading zone — but it’s just a ploy to slap unsuspecting motorists with more tickets, the outraged merchant claims.
Al Hamdan, owner of Metropolitan Citymarket on Fourth Avenue near 93rd Street, said he’s being forced to provide space for the zone that once lay in front of Goustaro Eatery down the block.
Parking spot-strapped motorists pushed the city to pull the loading zone from Goustaro Eatery because the conflicting signs confused motorists and took away too many cherished spaces.
Hamdan says he and his customers will suffer the exact same fate once the loading zone is put in front of his store.
“I don’t want a loading zone, I’d rather have the spaces available to my customers,” said the merchant, who offers valet parking, and who sees the loading zone as a money generator for the city. “I used to watch the meter maids go right to the loading zone every day when it was across the street.”
Hamdan, who opened Metropolitan last year, said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) called him in January to tell him that the zone would be transplanted in front of his store — much to his dismay.
“My suppliers have to deal with delivering to me, I don’t have to make it easy for them,” Hamdan said, adding that getting tickets for double parking was included in the cost of doing business for many delivery companies, who usually idled their trucks outside for just a few minutes when they dropped off goods. “I’ve never seen any problems while I’ve been here, and I have my valet directing traffic in front of the store all day.”
But Gentile spokesman Justin Brannan said the loading zone can’t be removed from Fourth Avenue and must be relocated in front of a large business.
“Unfortunately, we could not get rid of the zone altogether, it had to go somewhere, and there’s a supermarket there, so it makes sense,” he said.