CAB DRIVERS WHO DOUBLE-PARKED WHILE PRAYING FOR RAMADAN HIT WITH ‘TICKETING BLITZ’

cabs parking
Cab drivers parked near the cultural center earlier in the week.

Dozens of cab drivers who had parked near the Islamic Cultural Center at the corner of Riverside Drive and 72nd street to conduct Ramadan prayers were hit with pricey double-parking tickets on Friday, the Post reported. The tickets came as a shock to many of the drivers who had double-parked in the past with no repercussions.

“This is a special prayer time, a time for religion. We double-park here every Friday and they [allow it], but today they gave us all tickets, almost 100 cabs,” cab driver Mohammad Zaman told the Post. At least one ticket had the wrong date, however, which might invalidate it, the Post reported.

Local residents have previously complained to police from the 20th precinct about the double-parking and have told us that the police had never done anything about it.

The man who sent in the photo above called it “a significant hazard to all those who are crossing over to enter the park, near the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt. This endangers the many small children and pets who enter there.”

“The police, despite repeated calls, are as usual ignoring this dangerous situation. Let’s hope it doesn’t take a tragedy to get the police to act responsibly…A cab that was making a U-turn, partially within the pedestrian “safety” zone, almost hit my dog and me.

Even the picture I sent you doesn’t fully demonstrate the problem. There was no place to stand and take a better picture that would have been safe from cars making the right or left off of W72.

I understand that the Muslim community wants to celebrate their most important holiday. I just don’t want to see anyone hurt or worse by this dangerous parking situation.”

Riverside Drive residents have criticized the parking habits of others, too, including a rabbi who parked his RV on the avenue.

NEWS | 78 comments | permalink
    1. zeus says:

      If I double park my car, I get towed.
      The police should have towed away all of the cabs that were double parked.
      This has been going on for years, and not just at Ramadan time.
      Every Friday, the same scene.
      Tow them!

      • dannyboy says:

        someone doesn’t like religious observance

        • dirk says:

          I don’t understand your point. Nobody said they couldn’t observe their religion. They just can’t break the law while they’re doing it.

          • dannyboy says:

            Dirk,

            I understand your question.

            The position that I take is that all these parking rules are intended to serve NYers.
            Thus, if people need to doublepark in order to pray, they should be allowed to.

            Christians are allowed to park on almost all streets on Sunday, so that they may pray.

            In my opinion, we would do better with more praying and less ticketing.

            • Cato says:

              The Sunday parking rules apply to everyone, not just Christians.

              If the Muslim community wants to lobby to get the laws changed, then they should do so. But until the laws are changed — and for everyone — then everyone should observe them.

            • DMH says:

              Huh? So if an ambulance was blocked from getting through, that would be no big deal?

            • dannyboy says:

              Selecting extreme hypotheticals is not reasonable, i.e. “So, if someone told you to jump off a bridge, you would just do it?”.

            • dirk says:

              Rules are created for a reason and should be enforced, or eliminated. If Christians are violating parking rules, they should be ticketed just like everyone else.

              Praying has been happening since the dawn of man. In my opinion, it doesn’t seem to be helping. The world, as usual, is rife with violence and hatred. Praying just reinforces the paradigm of “us and them”.

              Imagine if there were no countries
              It isn’t hard to do
              Nothing to kill or die for
              And no religion too
              Imagine all the people
              Living life in peace.

            • DMH says:

              Emergency access: It’s why double parking bans are on the books.

              Why would the cab drivers accept work shifts at a time when their religion requires them to pray?

            • cc says:

              Christians are not allowed to park illegally either….

          • dannyboy says:

            Cato,

            You do know that Sunday is the Sabbath for Christians, not Jews, not Muslims, not…

        • Lauren says:

          Every religion has its own holidays. Stop trying to make this in to something its not.

          • dannyboy says:

            by your logic, parking rules should be suspended for each religion…Why just Sunday?

            JUST LET THEM PRAY for a few minutes on the High Holiday! Stop trying to make this into something it’s not.

    2. geoff says:

      considering the overall situation between muslims and everyone else, wouldn’t it be thoughtful of the nypd to send a couple of foot cops there (when necessary) to make sure nobody gets hit by a car? tickets then not really necessary, under the circumstances. give it some thought.

      • Cato says:

        And “the overall situation between muslims and everyone else” is the fault of just who, exactly — “Muslims” or “everyone else”??

        How does that “overall situation” justify special benefits for Muslims, allowing them to break laws?

    3. Jim Jiminez says:

      Good.

    4. Concern says:

      the law says you have a fundamental right to practice your religion how you see fit, but you do not have a right to double park your car on the taxpayer’s streets.

      Pray anywhere you like, take your illegal parking elsewhere.

      • dannyboy says:

        Conceren,

        But the equivalent is that Christians can park almost anywhere on Sunday, so they can attend Church.

        There was a time where the freedom to observe your religion was practiced widely in NYC. Not so much anymore.

        • Concern says:

          “Christians can park almost anywhere on Sunday”

          anyone can park almost anywhere on Sunday.
          That is not a benefit relegated to Christians.
          #youlose.

          • dannyboy says:

            It is a benefit to Christians as Sunday is Christian Sabbath.

            You do know that other religions have other observances?

            • Aj says:

              So.. You’re saying if a Christian, on Sunday, double (or even triple as I see in the photo) parked on any street… They should not expect a ticket? Your anti Christian argument is garbage

        • Goodneighbor says:

          Muslims can park anywhere on Friday – as long as it’s legal… this is not a “vs. Muslims” thing. Why does it seem unfair to ask a ton of cabs to find the same legal parking we’re all expected to use? There’s no policy that says “here is a law that applies unless you are doing something pious, in which case go ahead and break the law.” I’ve gotten ticketed for illegal parking while engaged in an act of kindness; should I complain to NYPD that they should have known I was busy doing something positive and therefore let me break a rule everyone else is expected to follow??

    5. Max says:

      People come up with all sorts of idiotic excuses for breaking the law. What’s next, we’ll allow terrorists to kill infidels because religion?

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        seriously? you think that is an appropriate analogy?

        • Aj says:

          For some reason… We allow Santeria following folk to sacrifice animals (dogs even and other household pets) during their “rituals”

    6. Jeff says:

      I live right here and it’s ridiculous to call the situation dangerous. No one is going to be hurt by a PARKED car.

      Unfortunately, many Upper West Siders are really uptight and see terrifying danger in anything slightly out of the ordinary. It’s sad that the police gave in to incessant badgering from a few pearl-clutching neighbors instead of continuing to exercise appropriate discretion.

      • George says:

        Good point Jeff–have we lost all sense of empathy and understanding for one an other? If something you believed in (religion or not) called for this type of conduct (double-parking), you would be telling yourself, “how about just a little bit of understanding and a free pass.”

        We refuse to give one another free passes anymore…

    7. Lmr says:

      What I find interesting is that there are double parked cars all over the UWS every day that never fet ticketed. I’ll use the alternate side of the street parkers as a clear and obvious example. No tickets given. What a sham.

      • Shopper says:

        Extremely good example! Why does the nypd not ticket ALL those who double park every single day for the alternate side parking? Sad this ignorant world we live in.

        • dannyboy says:

          again, i need to repeat that nyc is intended for the people who live, work, and visit. In that perspective it does make sense to permit doubleparking while the streets get cleaned for the people who, live, work and visit.

          • Cato says:

            “Intended” by whom? If you want to get the laws changed, talk to your elected legislator. The legislators acting together decide how the City is “intended” to be run.

            But until the law is changed, everyone has to follow it.

            • dannyboy says:

              As your ability to reply to the person you intended is confused, I’m assuming that you are confused in your Comment.

            • Cato says:

              “dannyboy”: quite obviously my reply was intended for you; no one else mentioned how this city is “intended” to be run.

              Please try to follow along; ad hominem arguments fill space but persuade no one.

            • dannyboy says:

              cato,

              see my reply above

          • beholder says:

            This sounds idiotic.

    8. Scott says:

      Ah double parking, the third rail of NYC politics. Ticket them all I say, Christian and Jew, Muslim and atheist. Your god doesn’t impress me. Neither does your sense of entitlement.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        whatever you think of whether the cops should ticket or not, it is ludicrous to call this a “sense of entitlement.” these are hard working taxi drivers stopping for a few minutes to pray.

        • anon says:

          ah the Bruce Bernstein Dictionary of Shame comes out to play again. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            if you call this “a sense of entitlement”, you have no idea what a sense of entitlement actually is.

          • Scott says:

            As you know, this is his forum, we’re just illegally double parked in it!

          • Independent says:

            Never misses an opportunity to flaunt his Cultural Marxist credentials, does he? (BB)

    9. Gretchen says:

      Yeah!!! It’s about freaking time!!!! Not only do those cabs double park, but they park right in pedestrian walkways, in front of fire hydrants, on turning lanes, plus they make sudden, erratic U-turns and put both drivers and pedestrians at risk. This also goes on every goddamn Fri. when they have their afternoon services and I never see a single cop — no matter that I’ve complained endlessly to the 20th Pct. both in person and via 311. Now if I double park, there would be an orange envelope on my windshield in a nano-second.

    10. bravo says:

      Finally. These cabbies not just use the road as their own, they also take up the whole street corner so you can’t walk through.
      The freedom of religion is to believe/worship whatever you want, any time. There is no constitutional right to break laws, hog public space and not to expect to be punished.
      Your religion is not my business. Do not make it my business.

    11. marie says:

      excellent. religion is not excuse to break the law. It’s high time we stop kneeling at the alter of political correctness and religion and enforce the law. You want to pray at a certain time every Friday? Fine. Find a legal parking space, park and pray.

    12. Eddie says:

      Rules are made to be observed. If you don’t like the rules, there are ways to get them changed. Though based on reading this, it sounds like the cops came by when everyone was inside praying to ticket – if they just showed up right when everyone was double parking, that might deter the double parking. Though it wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative.
      Also, when I have to be somewhere at a designated time and can’t find a legal place to park, I suck it up and go to a lot and pay. Perhaps the cabbies could do the same?
      To sum it up, if a Jew double parked outside a synagogue or a Christian double parked outside a church while praying, they would be ticketed. So why should this be different?

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        actually, there are all sorts of special considerations made for Jewish practices in the ultra-orthodox areas of Brooklyn. Perhaps you’ve never noticed the use of police sirens and flashing lights by ultra-orthodox rushing to get home before sunset.

        • whatsupduck says:

          Bruce,
          THANK YOU for posting this. You took the words out of my mouth. In Williamsburg and BP, any folks there will often walk in the middle of the street on Shabbos, blocking cars behind them, as a sort of protest against those not observing.

        • Gretchen says:

          But they’re not double parking! Apples and oranges…

    13. James says:

      What a slimy way to address the issue by the NYPD – Allow this to go on for literally years, and then one day ticket cars while folks are praying. Ugh.

      Perhaps a better way to deal with this would be for somebody from the precinct to give the management of the Cultural Center a phone call, discuss that locals have complained, and work together to find a solution for this. For example, couldn’t the NYPD supply some cones and simply rope off a large area for the drivers to park during prayer time? I suppose this would result in an expenditure of costs by the NYPD instead of using it as a revenue opportunity.

      To me, supporting the center is working in the public good. Simply because there are fewer Muslims living in the Upper West Side does not mean that they should jump through hoops needlessly to practice their religion – Would the community really rather the Cultural Center leave the location because they are unable to adequately supply parking?

      Perhaps the city could schedule street-cleaning on Riverside shortly before prayer-time so the block was conveniently opened-up for folks to park? There are many other ideas that don’t include writing costly tickets that only fuel members of the community to feel they are being singled-out.

      I don’t subscribe to any formal religion, but I certainly believe the neighborhood is served by having a wide-variety of diverse religious institutions. The local police force should be working towards a solution and not pulling the (prayer) rug out from under people.

      • Harriet says:

        Thank u. Better said than anything I could have written. This was just nasty. Either ticket everyone doubleparked or ticket no one. I wonder if they ticketed everyone within a 5 block radius who was double parked, or only those cab drivers worshipping. We have accepted this in the neighborhood for the 25 years I have lived here. I’d like the NYPD to explain what changed.

      • anon says:

        I think I already pay too much in city taxes and don’t care to pay more or have the amount I’ve already been forced to pay used to put more money in NYPD pockets so they can pander to the politically correct sect. This is a very simple problem and there is no need to complicate it and make it expensive. If a cabby can’t figure out how to legally park in time for a known prayer time then perhaps he’s in the wrong line of work.

        • James says:

          Anon,

          Maybe the Cultural Center would be in position to pay for a few officers to be present every-week; it certainly would be cheaper than having them try to buy space at a local parking garage or looking to re-locate to a place with parking available for just the few hours a week it is needed. I do not believe that allowing them to use the public space for a few hours a week with a police presence would be any more disruptive then, perhaps, the weekend street fairs that schools use to raise money all over the neighborhood. My point is that there are alternative solutions that include civic engagement instead of issuing petty fines for something done for, as some commentators have pointed out, over twenty years.

          Driving up 72nd street at nearly anytime of day, it is remarkable how the second lane is used as the double-parking lane, laughably so! When one accepts that there are not enough traffic officers to enforce every single traffic law twenty-four hours a day in this town, it’s hard not to see this as the NYPD singling out one group of people was wrong-headed and just lazy.

          If you think that’s me being politically correct, than I’m being PC unapologetically so. I would love it if the NYPD could enforce every single traffic-law; it would make my life as a pedestrian in this town much calmer and safer. Issuing tickets to folks while they are praying at a mosque is certainly not the way to go about meeting that aim.

          • Bruce Bernstein says:

            nicely written and argued.

          • anon says:

            doing something for 20 years doesn’t make it right. Many commentators on this blog regularly lambast cabbies driving behavior so I find it a bit hilarious that now when illegal cabby behavior is presented the answers are “oh, but they are praying” and “oh, it’s happened for decades.” Gotta pander to religion I guess. Eyeroll.

    14. ron shapley says:

      and if the cops would enforce double parking laws all over Harlem and do a big “tow” sweep, that would be GREAT !!!!! also bicylists who run the red lights along Riverside Drive, endangering pedestrians, should also be hauled before the bar … Cops do your job ~~

    15. Jean says:

      Not only are the worshipers at the Islamic Center not being unfairly targeted, they have received special accommodations for years that worshipers at neighborhood churches and synagogues have never been allowed. The cars pictured are not just double parked, they are in no standing zones. They have also parked so that they completely block the access to the West Side Highway at 72nd Street. I used to take my car to a midtown church on Sundays, but I had to feed a meter, even on Sunday, in a legal spot. If I had double parked or parked in a no standing zone, my car would have been towed. The legitimate objection by neighborhood residents is that the police are ignoring the scofflaws at one house of worship only. Either change the rules or enforce them equally.

    16. Terri Orringer says:

      I live on W. 72nd St. and can never find a parking space on Friday afternoon. There are plenty of spaces I could park in that would be illegal, but of course I don’t do that because I don’t want to get a ticket. So I drive around for 45 minutes looking for a spot and frequently have to walk quite a ways to get to my apartment. I say ticket every single one of those yellow cabs!!!

    17. Robert says:

      This is a known event, for years. If NYPD can close the west side highway so we can watch fireworks, they can coordinate with places of worship and bring out some orange cones for a few hours. Maybe they charge a fee, who cares, just work the problem and fix it. Writing tickets after years of benign neglect is stupid and inflammatory, and once again degrades the standing of NYPD with the community.

    18. Roger Wolfe says:

      All traffic laws are to obeyed! Double parking, speed limits, horn blowing and running red lights are prohibited to protect pedestrians. It would be desirable if drivers and bicyclists were to observe traffic regulations.

    19. terry says:

      We have lived on the UWS for over 40 years . The cab drivers have always been “allowed” to park near their place of worship every Friday around lunch time.. The minor (very minor) inconvenience to the neighborhood is temporary and for a short period of time. To find some negative comments from members of the UWS community that has traditionally been tolerant is disappointing, embarrassing and sad

    20. Yoneet says:

      Parking spaces in my neighborhood of 96 and West end are disappearing every day while they try to solve the accident issues here. I can’t double park for 30 seconds to help a passenger out of my car without getting ticketed. I live here. I pay city taxes. I must either find a legal spot or pay for parking. So must everyone else. The area of 96-97 on the east side of the city is horrible with cabs double parked during prayers. I have never seen one of them ticketed! I am a white female. So am I being discriminated against because I can’t double park but others can?? Should I start complaining my rights are being violated??? This is about the law not religion

      • dannyboy says:

        Finally, we get to the crux of the matter. Terri hinted at it, with complaints about cabs getting double parking spots while Terri can’t.

        But you, Yoneet come right out with it!:
        ” I must either find a legal spot or pay for parking. So must everyone else. The area of 96-97 on the east side of the city is horrible with cabs double parked during prayers. I have never seen one of them ticketed!”

        IT”S THAT SOMEONE”S GOT SOMETHING THAT YOU DON”T…SO TAKE IT AWAY FROM THEM.

        In this case Muslems doublepark to observe their religion, you want that right (but without having their requirement for prayer).

        This is THE MOST COMMON POST ON THIS SITE. Someon’e disabled and doesn’t need to pay, while “I” do. Kick ’em out.

        Someone’s lives under Rent Regulation, while “I” don’t, never mind that “I” don’t rent or live in an apartment that is Rent Regulated. Kick ’em out!

        This “I”, “I” , “I” thing is way obvious. Now it’s becoming: ” I am a white female. So am I being discriminated against because I can’t double park but others can?? Should I start complaining my rights are being violated???”

        wow. You want what’s yours and what’s not.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          I’ve noticed the same tendency of thought. it amazes me that people think that others living under rent regulation are some sort of entitled aristocracy.

    21. Jean says:

      Double parking is double parking. At least they’re enforcing one law.

      If an emergency vehicle has to come through are they supposed to go around these double packers?r

    22. Tee says:

      Christians double parking for services is not confined to Sundays. There are several churches on the north side of 125th St, a highly congested street. It is not unusual to see dozens of cars double parked for early evening weekday services. They never seem to be ticketed.

      West bound traffic is reduced to one lane and I have seen emergency vehicles try to veer into the oncoming eastbound traffic in order to proceed. Seconds lost can mean the difference between life and death.

      • barbara says:

        It is well known that Sunday’s in Harlem are free double parking days for those attending church. The fact that this is a mosque seems to be the issue here. And the biggest issue is the new lane and expanded pedestrian zones that were recently built by the city. The new lanes have caused more issues than double parking. The #5 bus now has to swing oideed to make the turn up RSD. Far more dangerous for south bound parking. the city needed to talk to the Cultural Center before,going on their blitz. That would have been the decent thing to do.

    23. Justina says:

      This “islamic center” does not belong on Riverside Drive and West 72nd Street. Crowded enough as it is…move it to Queens or Brooklyn or the Bronx or to some bombed out area, plenty of room there for these cabbies to block the roads.

      • Barbara says:

        Not sure where you worship but perhaps your house of worship should be moved to some bombed out neighborhood. Actually it is hard to believe that you worship anything other than yourself.

      • Alta says:

        Why is Islamic Center in quotes? That is just a statement of fact. That’s like referring to your “church”…

    24. NativeNYer says:

      My first impression of this photo is what a hazard!

    25. Bryan10024 says:

      The man who sent in the photo above needs to be put on antidepressants. Just because you’re old and entitled doesn’t mean every little problem needs to be a big deal.

      The ticketing will do nothing other than take $115 out of the pockets of those who least can afford it.

      But I hope the locals feel like big men for standing up for “their” rights.

      And for the person who thinks they should tow the cabs – you’re pathetic.

    26. Alta says:

      So if I don’t want to move my car on the Shabbath, can I park for free all day on Friday evening at Saturday?

    27. jane says:

      While I do understand that Muslim cabdrivers have to park their cabs somewhere to go to their prayer center – in fact I find it admirable that they do their daily prayers, I cannot understand why they are permitted to park in all “no parking” zones and not be ticketed. No other religion is afforded that same permission. If I parked outside a synagogue or a church, my car would instantly be ticketed and towed. No special privileges should be made for one religion if not for all.