New Yorkers Need Land. NYPD is Sitting on Nearly 150 Lots.

A new map reveals how much land in New York City is being wasted by city police—often sitting vacant, rather than serving the public good.

2 minute read

May 23, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By LM_Ortiz

Land is a treasured asset in New York City; much of it has already been developed, and the few undeveloped lots are highly sought after. But the city’s various agencies also own vacant parcels in various states of use. Constructing housing on these lots would be far cheaper than acquiring land on the private market.

At least 145 of these lots are used by the New York City Police Department to park their vehicles, leading some organizers to ask: is parking more important than housing?

A new interactive map by the East New York Community Land Trust shows where NYPD-owned vacant lots and parking lots are across the city. It’s part of an ongoing campaign to get the NYPD and other city agencies to turn the lots—some empty, some filled with junk and derelict vehicles, and many used for NYPD members’ personal vehicles—over to local community land trusts.

The map, released as part of a new “digital blackpaper,” is intended to be a tool for local communities to find out where the NYPD is sitting on land that could theoretically be turned over for public use. “Part of the purpose of the digital map is to inspire organizing across the issue,” says Brianna Soleyn of East New York Community Land Trust.

The blight of abandoned lots has long been a point of grievance for residents of East New York, who have dealt with vacant lots since at least the 1970s, when the city was facing a fiscal crisis and some officials argued for reducing services in blighted neighborhoods.

Rolling over each NYPD icon on the map presents a pop-up that tells users what city agency currently operates the lot.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Shelterforce Magazine

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