NYPD takes sweeping overnight action against Bayside car dealerships

NYPD takes sweeping overnight action against Bayside car dealerships
The 111th Precinct swept the streets of Bayside with tow trucks to reign in overuse of street parking by dealerships.
By Mark Hallum

In a sweeping effort to free up parking space and rein in car dealerships on Northern Boulevard, NYPD’s 111th Precinct led an aggressive towing campaign against Star Nissan and Bayside Imports, both known for using public parking on neighboring residential streets for long-term storage of vehicles.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said the overnight police action was in response to requests from his office for action on the parking practice, which he has rallied against in recent weeks.

“I want to thank the 111th Precinct for their phenomenal work the other night in putting a stop to this dealership’s inconsiderate and illegal practice of parking unlicensed vehicles on public streets,” Avella said. “As we can all attest, parking around the city is becoming more and more scarce and the last thing residents need is unlicensed vehicles illegally taking up precious space that could be used by seniors to have an easier access to their homes. I think I speak on behalf of the entire community when I say that the 111th’s work on this matter, and every other matter, is seriously appreciated.”

But the issue is nothing new for residents in Bayside who live near car dealerships.

Avella and community activist Mandingo Tshaka called on the city to enforce a zoning variance at an October new conference in which they claimed Star Nissan in Bayside has been ignoring summons despite collecting a series of violations and fines.

Star Nissan at 206-02 Northern Blvd. stores well above the approved number of 70 vehicles in its lot, while the excess autos which do not fit spill out onto residential, curbside parking on 45th Road. The license plates are removed and the vehicles often create an eyesore for surrounding residents. The variance only allows for 20 cars to be parked on the lot.

According to Avella, eight violations from the city Environmental Control Board as well as $28,000 in fines have not stopped the business from overloading the neighborhood with used cars awaiting repairs. The variance allowing for no more than 20 cars expired in 2009, Avella said.

“As you can see, this is more than 20 cars. It really is when you think about it — racism. Would this happen on the other side of the street? No,” Avella said on 206th Street in front on the dealership. “This has been going on since I was in the City Council, so now well over a decade that I’m aware of, and why can’t the city do something about this?”

Tshaka argued that the city was ignoring issues in the southern, or predominantly black, side of Bayside divided by Northern Boulevard.

Star Nissan is at the intersection of Northern Boulevard an Clearview Expressway while Bayside imports is at 202-01 Northern Blvd.

“It’s nothing but blatant racism. All along 45th Road here is residential, but you would not know it,” Tshaka said. “One-hundred feet [from Northern Boulevard] to the end of the corner is commercial, and from there it’s residential. You will not find all these car shops on the other side of Northern Boulevard.”

Tshaka, who is 86, once a member of a pop music sensation known as the Ink Spots, grew up near 206th Street. He remembers the neighborhood as always being poor with mainly Polish, Russian and African-American residents. The area was known as Pollack Alley.

As the Oct. 13 news conference progressed, a man associated with Star Nissan appeared in the periphery to stare at the group of reporters and residents gathered around Tshaka and Avella.

When asked if he was the owner of the dealership, he declined to offer any comment regarding the allegations. He and other staff members began to move the vehicles, most of which had no license plates, from the road and onto the lot once with some billowing thick clouds of exhaust.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall[email protected]glocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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