New York, June 6 (Reuters): It’s the city where anything goes. Just don’t sit on a milk crate, take up two subway seats or have a loud conversation.
The Big Apple is hard up and the city’s cops are writing tickets to beat the band. Among the myriad offenses to be avoided: carrying an open bottle of water onto a bus or being a man in a playground without a child.
“This city has become a summons machine intent upon picking the pockets it is supposed to serve,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association spokesman Al ’Leary said in an interview.
The so-called ticketing blitz has kept the city’s tabloids busy. The Daily News has made it an almost daily routine to highlight the preposterous ticketing policies of the city’s men and women in blue. Among the gems lately are the man fined for sitting on a milk crate, enforcing a transit rule forbidding riders to use more than one seat on a bus or subway and a Queens woman who was ticketed for talking loudly to her neighbour.
“I couldn’t leave the food on the stove,” Noris Lopez, the criminally loud talker, told the newspaper. “So I opened my door and my friend opened her door and we stood in front of our apartments talking.”
The result' A $25 ticket from a cop who had just responded to a nearby disturbance.
“Is there a ticket blitz'” Jordan Barowitz, a City Hall spokesman asked rhetorically. “There are millions of summonses given out by the city every year. This year, compared to last year, fewer tickets are being given out.”
That may be the case, but with the city facing a massive budget crunch, all manner of fines have skyrocketed, most notably parking fines, which now often run at more than $100 a pop. Even free Sunday parking has been outlawed in most of Manhattan in an effort to fill dwindling city coffers.
Billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg says he has not ordered police to go on a ticketing tear. “There is no ticketing blitz,” he said in a radio interview today. “Maybe there should be, but there is none. If you want to have great quality of life, the way to have it is giving tickets to people when they break the law.”