Brooklyn's war over parking spots

The city goofed, but it took an angered Midwood motorist to find the gaffe

Brooklyn Daily
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Talk about a blast from the past!

A “no parking” sign that has barred motorists from using four Ocean Parkway parking spots for more than 30 years is a relic from a 1977 sewage project that was never taken down, residents have discovered.

The offending sign has kept drivers from parking near the corner of Avenue H and Ocean Parkway, leaving neighbors stunned that they could have been able to park there for decades.

“1977! Are you kidding me?” said a stunned Ellen Stein, who lived in the area since 1985.

Stein learned about the secret behind the oddly placed sign after she called the city about the restricted spaces, which are nowhere near commercial or emergency establishments.

“Sometimes I have to circle the block for hours — and these four spots could have been freed up,” she said.

Red-faced city officials admitted that the sign was put up to reserve spaces for construction crews working on a nearby waste treatment project back when Mayor Abe Beame was running the city. The Department of Transportation promised to come and inspect the site and review the signage.

But the sign doesn’t date back to the disco era. The city updated it every few years as it raked in money from unwarranted parking tickets that were meted out at the spots, residents say.

The city wouldn’t to say how many people had been ticketed for parking there over the past four mayoral administrations.

Stein says she won’t rest until the city finally fixes its gaffe and no more unwitting motorists are slapped with unnecessary tickets.

“It’s obviously a revenue stream for the city,” she said. “But there’s no reason in hell why these spaces should be blocked off!”

Stein added that when the city comes with a crowbar to pry away the signs, she’ll be waiting.

“I’m going to be there when they come to inspect — to find out what the hell is going on!” she said.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019: Story updated to correct a source's name.
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