Its tenants past and present—Alex Rodriguez, Elie Tahara, Denzel Washington, and Lloyd Blankfein—read like a Who’s Who of America’s recent history, tipping 15 Central Park West as New York City’s fanciest address. Its luxury offerings include a 75-foot, sky-lit lap pool and climate-controlled wine cellar priced at $80,000-plus, as well as an in-house chef ready to whip up dinner for two or 100, but the building’s most hidden asset may also be its most public: the de facto free parking it offers residents and their drivers.
Blame a wrinkle in the city’s street grid: The termination of Central Park West’s southbound lanes at 62nd Street just north of the residence ends in a no-parking zone along the building’s eastern façade. The white-striped zone is wide enough for two lanes of cars to sit for hours unbothered by New York’s finest.
And ignored they go, states Mike, a retired police detective-turned-driver for residents at 15 CPW, as it is known by some. Withholding his last name from the press to protect his bosses’ privacy, Mike claimed he had never received a ticket nor seen anyone else cited, though he spends hours on a daily basis parked in the clearly marked no-parking zone.
“They do give us a courtesy,” he said of the police, “and ask us to move at times when it’s necessary.”
The police seldom ask, however—maybe if a movie is being filmed or if space is needed for security reasons, said Mike.
Yet opportunities for ticketing abound. Cars docked in front of the building may be violating one of two rules: the city’s no-idling rule, which makes it illegal to keep a stopped car from running for longer than three minutes, or New York’s no-parking laws, which permit cars to stop only for loading, unloading, or the “expeditious” drop-off or pickup of passengers.
Unofficially, however, no-parking rules are rarely enforced if drivers parked in those zones are inside their vehicles and ready to move, said a high-level police representative unable to give his name because he was not authorized to speak about the unofficial policy.
An official from the union that represents traffic enforcers echoed a similar policy for the no-idling rule. Unless drivers parked in a regular no-parking zone have been gunning their engines for more than 30 minutes, they don’t generally receive tickets, said the representative, who asked that his name be withheld to protect his job.
In other words, the residents of 15 CPW, where units run between $13 million and $40 million, receive subsidized parking, though they are the least likely to need it.
The neighbors don’t seem to mind. “I guess I’ve just normalized it,” said one woman, a resident of The Century, the luxury condominiums located just north of 15 CPW, when asked about the issue.