City Island is a summertime mecca for motorists and motorcyclists headed to restaurants and looking to cruise around.
But visitors and residents must also obey traffic laws and city ordinances, including those prohibiting driving drunk and recklessly.
The NYPD sent that message to motorists through a joint operation conducted by the 45th Precinct and the Highway 1 District that established checkpoints near the island on Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16.
The operation resulted in the confiscation of four motorcycles for various reasons, including being unregistered or the operator lacking proof of ownership, and a Driving While Intoxicated arrest, said 45th Precinct Captain James McGeown.
“I reached out to Captain (and commanding officer Henry) Yaeger of Highway District and he was very helpful and supplied some of his personnel to work with my personnel in the vicinity of City Island,” said McGeown. “We set up joint check points to target DWI, and also illegal motorcycle operators that we get complaints about.”
Residents had complained about reckless driving from a small, but ever present, number of motorcycle riders who sometimes speed up and down the fire lane and maneuver in between cars to avoid traffic, creating potentially hazardous situations, according to the City Island Civic Association.
Some use the City Island Avenue as a drag strip around midnight, a source said.
In addition to the confiscated motorcycles and DWI arrest, police arrested three people for driving with suspended licenses, issued 13 Criminal Court summonses for alcohol, including some people in a party-bus situation, and wrote five summonses for moving violations, he said.
“I think it was a good thing to do enforcement and send a message that we are cracking down the motorcycles, in regard to the community complaints, for the safety of everyone using City Island,” said McGeown.
Impact on local businesses appeared to be minimal.
“I don’t think they impacted our businesses, I don’t think there was a negative impact,” said Paul Klein, vice-president of the City Island Chamber of Commerce.
But the locations of the checkpoints could affect businesses by delaying traffic coming or going to City Island if they are at the traffic circle by City Island Road, he said.
“We have asked the police to move DWI checks closer to the Shore Road because if you cannot get off or on City Island because traffic slows, it is ridiculous and business suffers,” said Klein, adding that there was more room to stop at the traffic circle and roads closer to the Shore Road.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3393