It’s not easy driving a car in New York City. Even just getting from point A to point B, you’ve gotta weave through a maze of traffic, one-way streets, and, most recently, determined demonstrators. Then comes finding a place to park, an adventure all its own.
And even if you’re lucky enough to have your own private driveway, it’s not always a guarantee for a simpler life. Especially if your building boasts one of the most frequently blocked driveways of the past year.
Ben Wellington, a visiting assistant professor at the Pratt Institute who also runs the popular blog I Quant NY, looked at open data for 311 calls and found the ten properties with the highest numbers of complaints about selfish rogues blocking their driveways. Five are in Brooklyn; four are in Queens; the “winner” is in the Bronx.
Here are the top five on Wellington’s list:
2782 Creston Avenue, in the Bronx, with 65 complaints:
264 Avenue P, in Brooklyn, with 53 complaints:
7215 Bergen Court, in Brooklyn, with 53 complaints:
34-36 58th Street, in Flushing, with 52 complaints:
83 Fourth Avenue, in Brooklyn, which also had 52 complaints:
Wellington points out that his list does come with an important caveat: The severity of a problem isn’t always proportional to the number of complaints. So he concedes that his list may not highlight the driveways that are actually blocked the most often — they’ve just been reported the most. “Who is reporting problems to 311, versus dealing with them in other ways? That’s always something to watch out for,” he says. “To use 311, you have to know it exists and you have to trust government services. In some neighborhoods maybe they’ll walk to the police officers’ precinct, or find another way to fix the problem.”
The Voice visited a few of the buildings on the list — no one was home at some, no one would comment at others. But only a couple doors down the street from 83 Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn (No. 5 on the list), Wellington’s theory was playing out in real time. Brandon Hunter, who has painted “No Parking, 24 Hours Active” on the garage door of his apartment building, was arguing with two men outside a large silver van stationed right in front of his parking place.
Hunter, 44, is no stranger to taking matters into his own hands when it comes to his blocked driveway. According to open records, he called 311 just five times in 2014 to report vehicles blocking his way. Instead, he prefers using alternative strategies to deter potential driveway-blockers. Often, he’ll park on the street in front of the garage, instead of leaving his convertible inside of it.
“I block my own driveway so I can get out in the morning,” he says, adding that he’s often blocked by the car service located across the street. “I’ve made myself a screaming lunatic to all the ‘regulars.’ It’s awful.”