Friday, January 20, 2006

The police


I got to see the sunset tonight from underneath the FDR, facing the Brooklyn Bridge.


Later, while on the FDR going towards the Brooklyn Bridge, I got stuck in this fucked up traffic. What annoys me most about this is it's a totally unecessary backup. For whatever reason, the NYPD seems to think that placing two cop cars in the left lane at the beginning of the bridge will act as a deterrent to terrorism, when in fact all it does is create a long slow-moving stream of tired and angry drivers that reaches all the way up to the Williamsburg Bridge. I don't really see the point. It's not like they ever pull anyone over to make sure they're not terrorists, and besides, how could they possibly know? Meanwhile, anyone who has to go to Brooklyn at night is completely terrorized by the traffic.

My passengers at this time were two drunk ladies who needed to go to Coney Island Ave and Ave H. When they saw the traffic, they told me to take the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel instead. Of course, there was construction work on the tunnel, so that ended up creating even more aggravation, with everyone merging into one little lane. So, basically, the message the city's sending is, if you live in Brooklyn and need to get home at night, sucks for you.


Speaking of cops, earlier in the evening, about 30 or 40 cops, all with lights flashing, lined up on both sides of 1st Ave above 34th St. I have no idea what they were doing, but I'm assuming it was some sort of exercise. Still, with news on the radio that Osama Bin Laden has resurfaced and has renewed his pledge to fuck with the U.S., it was slightly alarming to see this many cops in one place. And yet, despite their great number, all these cops still managed to cause less traffic than those two that sit on the goddamn Brooklyn Bridge.

And one more related item: Tonight I saw a new form of undercover cop car. As you may know, many precincts have taxis that are used as undercover vehicles, which is pretty smart as it is. But tonight, for the first time ever, I saw a church van with tinted windows blow its cover by flashing its police lights to get through a particularly bad traffic snarl. Most drivers were so surprised that they didn't take it seriously enough to pull over and make room until the van made the sirens blare. Who knew?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of cops, earlier in the evening, about 30 or 40 cops, all with lights flashing, lined up on both sides of 1st Ave above 34th St."

I see the same thing happen on 7th Ave going down past 34th Street on a regular basis. Its like a motorcade of police cars, about 40 to 50 of them racing lights flashing. I thought it was another terrorist attack or some kind of hostage situation... But who knows

robert in delaware said...

Hey your traffic sounds like I-95and Rt141 interchange down here. Don't even get me started on the beach traffic on Rt1. Anyway my police encounter yesterday morning was with four "state boys" in my parking lot investigating an attempted murder. "Life at the Hollywood Hotel" and this is only my second week here. Yeah, and this Osama bullshit seems to have the cops extra edgy, as if the coffee and donuts were'nt enough.

Anonymous said...

Robert in DE, I have to disagree. IMHO, traffic in DE and traffic in NY are entirely different - and shore traffic, though I'll concede frustrating, is at least two orders of magnitude less than typical, daily NYC traffic.

MP - glad you're back - missed reading your terse comments and wit the last few days. As many have said before - this is a pleasure to read.

Something about sunrises & sunsets on a bridge that are just beautiful, I agree. It's like you're getting a glimpse of something that no one else can see.

Anonymous said...

I can spot an unmarked police car right away. There are usually 3 guys in the car,you see the antenna in the middle of the back of the car.

What you saw was a mobilization drill,they have them all around the city,I listen at home to a police scanner,the dispacther says over the radio,level 2 mobilization for the ***precinct,then they say the address where to meet. I figure they use it to measure response time in case of a real major emergency.

Anonymous said...

That large group of police vehicles racing somewhere is something that they used to call, "Operation Brutis." It acts as both an exercise for the police and as a visual display of force.

cellphone said...

2 comments:

- the cop cars (w/ no cop inside) on left lane of Brooklyn bridge have been there since 2002. I've questioned it many times and still don't have a clue: what they're doing there exactly.

- it's very easy to spot an undercover police car: They're usually:

1. sit with 3 or more white, strong tough guys;
2. All of them have no seat belt on
3. Brake all traffic rules;
3. shaded window;
4. Must be an american car.

Have fun. enjoy reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hate to dose reality upon your criticism of the Brooklyn Bridge/FDR on-ramp, but that's NOT a 2-lane exit/entrance to begin with, lady. The 100s of times you've done the old cutting-off of traffic and driving over the solid white lines should be given a (x $110) moving violation. So, calm down and take the wait this once like someone who truly understands the City. -- Brooklyn born guy

Deadprogrammer said...

The cops were accompanying Dick Cheney on his way from Fox News Channel interview in the Newscorp building studio. I caught a glimpse of him on my lunch hour.

Anonymous said...

How can people complain about the police?? I'd like to see you get their lousy salary while trying to keep NY safe not just from terrorists but from the abundance of scum out there. They are doing a fine job and I am thankful to know that they are out there protecting people. As for cabbies they think they own the streets. Most of them are foreigners that have the nerve to come to this country and make demands. They're lucky to be here at all.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog. I moved away from Jersey two years ago and I still miss the city. It is everyone's God given right to bitch about traffic and the cops...

cellphone said...

"How can people complain about the police?? I'd like to see you get their lousy salary while trying to keep NY safe not just from terrorists but from the abundance of scum out there. They are doing a fine job and I am thankful to know that they are out there protecting people."

To anonymous: surely NYPD is doing a good job. I'd give them a "B+" overall. But if they can be more considerable on helping drivers easing thru all traffic, not to block some lanes for unknown reasons. they can surely socre a "A".
and foreigners are also human being who pay taxes, deserve respects from you.

Anonymous said...

I take cabs to Brooklyn at night all the time, and I almost never get stuck in traffic.

Here are my secrets:

1) Never go out on a Staurday night, real New Yorkers don't do it.

2) Take local streets. Never, ever, ever get on the FDR. Broadway's a good way downtown south of Union square most nights. Cabbies like the FDR becuase it gives the illusion of speed, but the on-ramp to Brooklyn Bridge is a mess 24/7, also the greater distance you end up travelling ends up costing more.

3) The Manhattan bridge is usually not too bad on a weekday night, if I'm downtown I'm usually home in 10 minutes (I live in Fort Greene).

Anonymous said...

I take cabs to Brooklyn at night all the time, and I almost never get stuck in traffic.

Here are my secrets:

1) Never go out on a Staurday night, real New Yorkers don't do it.

2) Take local streets. Never, ever, ever get on the FDR. Broadway's a good way downtown south of Union square most nights. Cabbies like the FDR becuase it gives the illusion of speed, but the on-ramp to Brooklyn Bridge is a mess 24/7, also the greater distance you end up travelling ends up costing more.

3) The Manhattan bridge is usually not too bad on a weekday night, if I'm downtown I'm usually home in 10 minutes (I live in Fort Greene).

GATOGARRY said...

hey i love the photos of n y c it brings back great memories of new york before it turned in to a cess pool like detroit...http://www.geocities.com/garry_t_oleary/garry_t_oleary.html...be careful cabbie and may God be with you...watch your driving the life you save may be your own...be well and thanks for being there....garry

G. Jimson said...

Just saw your A.P. piece. Congrats. (interesting they didn't include the website). You are on the ascendancy, but don't get distracted and keep writing.

bklynd said...

Gotta agree with "Brooklyn born guy." That onramp is the worst case I know of the "be a chump and wait in the correct lane, or be a jerk and cut in" phenomenon. I believe I did once see a cop get out and redirect all of the cars that were trying to cut in.

Kathy said...

I like your blog. There is a lot of action going on everyday! I live in a small town in the Central Valley in California. Not too much excitement here! But wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Michael Simon said...

sup boom chief rocker,

Saw your thing on the AP, awesome!

reporting from El Salvador,

Michael Simon

Anonymous said...

NYPD - Damned if they do - Damned if they don't. The cops in the left lane on the bridge are guarding the cables so that terrorists don't use blow torches to weaken and/or immediately destroy the bridge. This was something al qaida was planning. It was discovered in a computer that was confiscated in a raid somewhere in the Middle East a few years ago. My brother is a detective in police plaza so I just called to ask him about it and that's what he said. GREAT SITE BY THE WAY!! Great pic of the sunset. Keep it up please!!

Jeff Long Island said...

Hedy you hit the bigtime, a profile article in todays New York Post

Penelope Marzec said...

I found your blog in the Asbury Park Press. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

*waves at kathy*

I'm in the Central Valley, too, Kathy. Modesto, to be exact. Small world! Even though I've lived here for 15 years, I still miss the Bay Area... but not the traffic.

Mike said...

Nice blog. I found your site from reading about your blog in the Trenton Times Newspaper in NJ. I'm sure you got alot of hits as a result of the article. It amazes me how something as "routine" as driving a cab can be so interesting to people to don't drive cabs. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

there is no way this is about terrorism. in case you haven't guessed, terrorism is the govts new way of not having to explain to us the bs they constantly engage in. those to cars are there to create traffic, to limit the speed it takes commuters to enter downtown manhattan, essentially transferring the traffic from man to bkln. no offense, but who of impotance travels into manhattan on the bkln bridge by car. impotant people use the tunnel, or helicopter. aparentlt this decision was made by the mayor's office, so any obnoxious phone call campaign should be directed there.

Anonymous said...

The cop cars on the FDR aren't bad -- there's always traffic coming onto the bridge from the FDR. It's the cops ON the bridge that cause all the backups! Forever now, there have been 2 cops cars blocking the left lane when you're just coming onto the bridge from the city. And there's never anybody in them! Why are they there?

Anonymous said...

Oh thanks fellow anonymous poster. I had asked my brother, who is a nypd det., and he is the one who told me it's about terrorism. But I didn't realize that you knew more. I'll have to inform him. And what is it that you do for a living?

OH and by the way, the bridge security is not about important PEOPLE, it's about important LANDMARKS and one of the most sought after targets by terrorists in the entire world.

But thanks for your insight.

Anonymous said...

DUde, you're famous now....great article in yahoo about you. congrats.

Some guy from henderson, NC.

greg said...

Re: the anonymous comment that begins there is no way this is about terrorism. It goes on to rant about the conspiracy causing the traffic from Brooklyn into Manhattan, but M.P.'s blog entry was about the traffic from Manhattan into Brooklyn

Anonymous said...

Are the NYC cops like the Dallas Texas cops? They don't respond to traffic accidents, they don't respond to burgalar alarms, no body ever gets caught for murders or assaults...so, what is it that they do? I mean besides speed around breaking traffic laws and scaring honest people. Those jack booted thugs.

(he typed, as though this were some political blogspot. sorry)

Gene said...

Hate to burst the bubble of all those 'scanner' groupies out there, but the NYPD doesn't routinely run mock "level 2 mobilizations" at such and such precinct to "check response times"--there simply aren't enough resources for that kind of nonsense. The commentator who stated that Cheney was being escorted was exactly correct. Love your blog, by the way...

Anonymous said...

we've seen backups in either direction on the Brooklyn Bridge because of the two-cruiser NYPD backup -- and i've repeatedly seen them pull u-turns on either end and go camp out on the opposite side.

not just a problem for SB FDR, incidentally -- also a problem for northbound drivers entering from the City Hall tangle and trying to merge.

we always assumed it was traffic control masquerading as terror-patrol, though we've come to refer to it not-too-fondly as "the coffee break."

No Filter: The Book said...

The TLC cops are insane especially .. there isn't enough Hack licenses to serve outer NYC .. places like the Bronx and N. Manhattan and Outer Queens don't have taxis to speak of ...

What do you think about the limos that pick up people??

steve said...

Hi Melissa, just read about your blog via the AP. It will be fun to "ride" with you to see and feel just exactly what it's like to be out there. You were quoted as saying "treat it (life) as an adventure." What a great way to see things! Be safe

Anonymous said...

Great blog! As for the FDR Cops...

They are there serving a purpose. The purpose is a deliberate bottleneck. Itis there to regulate traffic flow onto the bridge. It slows up traffic so that there is less congestion on the bridge. Kind of like a blood thinner for cars. Its also to discourage drivers from crossing the solid white line and cutting off people who have been waiting patiently for the most part in line.

Now..for the big question. Anyone else smell maple syrup these past few months. I thik its usually on thursdays and the whole city smells like it. I walked out of the PA Terminal dreaming about pancakes last month. I then read that a whole lot of people smelled it too! Anyone?

cappy and pegody said...

This is what we love so much about blogging. A little view into other people's lives.Thanks for sharing.

Tom,Paramus,NJ said...

Anyone want to wager that there was a "Dunkin Donuts" on the block that they were parked? Maybe even a diner.LOL

Tom,Paramus,NJ said...

Anyone want to wager that there was a "Dunkin Donuts" on the block that they were parked? Maybe even a diner.LOL

SuperAmanda said...

To cabbies everywhere:You keep me alive!
Long live NY Hack and Dilbag Signh of Berekeley!!!
Great blog!
Amanda

Joe T. said...

I am from NY and living in San Diego now. The picture of the sunrise reminded me of landing on the 5:45 am overnight in newark and the drive back home to see family. It makes me miss NY- but then again it was 70 and sunny AGAIN in San Diego. Someday I'll move back.

bone.wisconsin said...

i like your blog.

I'm from wisconsin, and i have been to NYC 3 times. Every time is fun

I will continue to read you blog. you are very funny. Everywhere is fucked up, as you can imagine.

Tony, from Madison, WI

Anonymous said...

Gene, why you would take the time to post a comment that you yourself cannot be 100% sure is correct is beyond my understanding but that has to be the case because you are absolutely wrong. Whether the original poster was a "scanner groupie" or not, NYPD conducts several mobilization drills each day, summoning officers from precincts around the city to meet at one location. Is there anything that you really DO know about? If so, then stick to posting about THAT then.

EverJack1 said...

Some of these comments are hilarious. I'll bet A.P. gets a good laugh reading them......

Jack