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The Rockaway Times
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By DanGuarino
Petitions, calls to elected offi-
cials, letters to the editor, talk of
boycotts and a furor over esca-
lated towing and fees? And it all
started in a parking lot.
Recently complaints have been
rising about cars being towed out
of the parking lot at a rising rate
in front of 112-15 Beach Channel
Stop & Shop and several oth-
er stores, including Ciro’s Pizza,
Liquor & Wine Warehouse, So-
phie Wang Nails & Spa and Citi-
bank share the shopping center
there and have all heard from
disgruntled shoppers. What’s
with the towing? But as owners
are quick to point out, they do
not own the lot and have no con-
trol over the towing.
One source familiar with the
site’s operations explained the
stores are not calling in to have
the cars towed. Rather tow trucks
are stationed in or near the lot,
looking out for people parking
and leaving the lot.
The lot is owned by Benenson
Capital Partners, a largeManhat-
tan-based real estate firm. But
several calls and messages over
the past two weeks to Benenson
for comment about the Rocka-
way Park lot produced no replies.
The Benenson website lists Stop
& Shop as one of its flagship ten-
ants. The contact phone number
is 212-867-0990.
In the meantime store own-
ers and managers are facing the
brunt of community outrage
over residents coming back to
find their cars gone. One noted
that even an employee’s car was
towed. Fees to recover a car are
$125 plus taxes and surcharges.
Vehicles can only be recovered
from the contracted towing com-
pany, B&M Towing in Arverne,
Monday to Friday from10 a.m. to
4 p.m.
Though private property, for
decades the large lot has served
as an unofficial parking area
for those doing business across
Beach Channel Drive and at
stores just outside the lot includ-
ing the Post Office.
All that changed this year.
As reportedby theBroadChan-
nel Free Press in June, “new signs
have gone upmaking it clear that
carswill be towedat all hours and
at the owner’s expense.They also
make clear that no storemanager
Continued on page 44
Photo by Dan Guarino