Street Parking: Is it Legal to Hold Someone’s Space?

If you’re a New Yorker, nothing surprises you. Not a guy walking down 8th Avenue with a parrot on his shoulder; not a naked cowboy strumming his guitar in Times Square.

But what if you tried to park on the street in a legal spot and were told you can’t… because someone was holding the spot for another driver? Does that actually happen in the Big Apple, and is it legal?

The answers may surprise you. Larry’s Blog — a clearing house of information about NYC parking tickets — takes on this topic:


Does a doorman’s kingdom include the parking spaces in front of his building?

I was recently regaled by an article listing the 25 most expensive things in the world. This exclusive list included a $2M set of audio speakers, a $35M 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, and a $25M Haute Joaillerie from Chopard (a wrist watch). However, I was totally shocked by one glaring omission…A “NYC parking space.”

How much would you pay for a vacant, on street, NYC parking space waiting for you when you and your chariot return home? Well, residents of some of the posh upper east side buildings have this added luxury because doormen are saving parking spaces in front of the buildings.

Here is a “Curbed” article from 2010 about Doormen reserving parking spaces

“In her NYT Appraisal column today, Christine Haughney pulled her ’06 Chevy Malibu up to some posh buildings to test the staff’s willingness to cooperate with the laws of this great land. The results were mixed.

Some doormen said Haughney was inconveniencing the buildings’ elderly tenants by parking out front and tried to shame her into leaving, and some got even more aggressive:

The award for the best-guarded legal parking space goes to 55 East End Avenue. When the Appraisal began pulling in, a broad-shouldered doorman came out to stop the car. When the Appraisal politely asked about parking, he said that elderly people lived there and that parking was not allowed.

But when the Appraisal made it clear the intent was to park in the space, the doorman lifted his metal “no parking” sign into the street to stop the car from parking. When the Appraisal explained that this was for an article, asked for his name and began snapping pictures of him, he responded hostilely with an expletive and added: ‘That’s what it is.’ ”

Is this bad doorman behavior still true today?

Is it legal to reserve a parking space in NYC?

It is not only illegal to reserve a NYC parking space, but it is down right dangerous. First, let’s start with the illegal part. The NYC parking rule states:

“4-08 (n)(7) Unofficial reserving of parking space. It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve a parking space, or prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through his/her presence in the roadway, the use of hand-signals, or by placing any box, can, crate, handcart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway.”

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