Six days into his tenure as Brooklyn Borough President, before his new website has launched or any policy decisions have been made, Antonio Reynoso has one thing to say: keep your cars off my plaza.
Or, perhaps, our plaza.
“The Borough Hall has been rid of cars and returned to the people,” the former councilman Tweeted on Wednesday. “If you don’t know, now you know.”
New signs posted around the plaza warn motorists against parking on the wide concrete plaza sandwiched between Court Street and Columbus Park in front of Borough Hall, at risk of being towed.
Reynoso’s position on parking on the public square is more than just preserving the public space, which is often bustling with pedestrians going about their day in busy Downtown Brooklyn. His predecessor, now-mayor Eric Adams, infamously allowed his employees to park their private vehicles all over the plaza during his eight-year tenure as beep, going so far as to outright refuse to ask them to park elsewhere.
At a 2019 town hall convened by Adams after he was criticized for his lack of action on parking placard abuse on the streets surrounding his office, constituents asked how he would curb the illegal parking his own staff were taking part in every day. Citing the constant rule-breaking by other city agencies and employees, Adams said he would refuse to abide by “two standards.”
“I fought my entire life to make sure men that look like me don’t have different rules than anyone else,” he said at the town hall. “There’s one rule in this city, there’s not going to be a rule just for Eric Adams, the first African-American borough president.”
Adams said he only allowed his female employees who worked late nights to park on the plaza, for their own safety — but later said that there was enough space on the plaza for private parking and public use.
Reynoso was one of five councilmembers who opted not to accept a placard in 2018, according to Streetsblog.
Days before he departed office, former mayor Bill de Blasio announced the rollout of new digital placard readers, which would allow traffic officers to more easily determine if city-issued parking permits sitting on the dashboards of parked cars are legitimate and being used correctly.
The program was launching first in North Brooklyn, with a “special emphasis” on Downtown Brooklyn, home of Borough Hall and the streets regularly clogged with illegally-parked NYPD vehicles.
Two years ago, the city’s parks department vowed to end parking on the plaza by the end of 2021, though, on Jan. 3 — two days before Reynoso posted photos of the empty plaza and new no-parking signs — sharp-eyed observers noted that there were still cars with expired placards parked illegally on the plaza.
“Small victory for the everyday citizen (in the grand scheme of things,” said one Brooklyn resident in response to Reynoso’s tweet. “I hope the movement to hold everyone equally accountable gains traction.”