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Shh, We Spied on a Cop

To get a glimpse of what a parking enforcer does on his daily rounds, we secretly trailed one.


Illustration by Noriko Sato  

1 p.m.
Agent spotted: east side of Park Avenue at 33rd Street. Eyes a red van with a cardboard note on the dashboard: SOUP MAN CAR. He leaves it alone.

1:04 p.m.
Directly behind the red van, tickets a FreshDirect truck for having “no receipt visible on dashboard,” a $65 fine.

1:08 p.m.
Makes a U-turn north on Park Avenue. Leans down to tap a homeless man sprawled on the ground near the subway entrance on 33rd. Places a cell-phone call.

Illustration by Noriko Sato  

1:15 p.m.
Still with homeless man, is approached by a woman asking directions. Points his left arm toward Park Avenue. She heads in that direction.

1:20 p.m.
An FDNY ambulance arrives to treat the homeless guy. Agent talks to paramedics for a minute, then walks off as they take over.

1:25 p.m.
Strolling east on 33rd, tickets a silver Toyota Corolla. Another “expired receipt”: $65.

Illustration by Noriko Sato  

1:39 p.m.
Turns left on Third Avenue and talks to a man standing next to a truck parked outside McDonald’s. The man runs inside. Another man gets into the truck and moves it. No ticket is issued.

1:47 p.m.
Tickets a white van on Third Avenue, followed three minutes later by a van cab, both for “missing meter receipts.”

2 p.m.
Encounters another agent on walking patrol and a third agent in a parked NYPD cruiser. They chat for four minutes.

Illustration by Noriko Sato  

2:05 p.m.
Agent turns left onto 26th Street and tickets a red Volvo for an “expired registration,” a $65 fine.

Illustration by Noriko Sato  

2:10 p.m.
Agent enters Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner. Orders a small regular coffee and a cheese Danish. Five minutes later, agent is back on the street.

Total: 75 Minutes
Fees: $325


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