NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parking is already at a premium in the five boroughs, and in some neighborhoods finding a spot is now proving virtually impossible.
As CBS2’s Maurice DuBois reported Friday night, it is all thanks to illegal rogue car dealers setting up shop on city streets.
Driving around looking for a parking spot is, of course, one of New Yorkers’ biggest pet peeves.
“It’s hard to get parking,” one woman said.
“It may take you, like, a half hour to find parking,” another said.
“It’s already hard to find a spot as it is,” a third said.
But for some, it has become even more difficult. Dozens of cars are being sold illegally on the streets, instead of on car lots.
“I see these cars that are there for four months, six months,” a man said.
“They park over here; they park all over the place,” another said.
And everyday New Yorkers aren’t the only ones who are noticing.
“This situation is very dubious indeed,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair.
From Jackson Heights, Queens to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, the rogue cars sit on the streets — many without license plates or registration stickers — for days or even weeks at a time.
They are seen “with the grease-paint makings on them with a phone number, and a little hyped message like you see on a used car lot,” Sinclair said.
One pickup truck featured an announcement on the windshield that it was “winter work ready” and was going for $5,500. Another had a message reading, “Drives good,” and was going for $2,900.
“They buy them from auction. They put them on busy corners in residential neighborhoods. They put them in front of supermarkets on any given weekend,” said state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens).
Moya said the cars have even been put in front of his Corona home.
“This is an illegal activity,” Moya said. “This is not legitimate.”
So who are these roadside dealers? When CBS2 called the phone numbers advertised on the car windows — and told them who we were — again and again we got the same response. There was a little talk, but mostly, they hung up on us.
But residents such as one man who did not want to show his face said the illegal car salesmen have also ignored the frustrated neighbors’ complaints.
“We’ve worked with the NYPD in making sure that we’ve contacted these individuals to tell them to remove their vehicles from the streets, and the next day, they’re up with a different cellphone number,” Moya said.
Moya said his office has been working closely with the NYPD to combat the problem by having the vehicles towed once a month, but it’s just not enough.
“If we can increase the penalties, we’ll hit them where it hurts, which is in their wallets,” he said.
Moya has introduced legislation that would increase the fines associated with selling the illegal cars on the streets.