A recent YouTube video (below) chronicles the infuriating money-making operation of one shady midtown entrepreneur who blocks off desirable parking spots with orange cones in front of Philippe Restaurant (located on East 60th Street and Madison). He then sells the parking spots to customers of the restaurant for $40 (customers like Chris Cornell and the Biebs?). So what's the story behind this scam, which has already brought down the restaurant's Yelp rating by at least one star? We've reached out to the owners, and Stratis Morfogen told us this morning:
"He does not work for us and I've called the police a thousand times. This was happening over the summer. In the beginning he told us he was homeless and hungry so we would make him a hot meal. Then he started his own business on the street... That's when we warned him not to do this and then finally involved the police after he became hostile towards my staff. It hasn't happened since the police threatened to lock him up. He comes by and we tell him please do not hang out here, or we have to call the police."
While the police are definitely involved in the below video, it also seems as though a restaurant employee is amicably communicating with the man selling the spot. Not to mention the cones seem to be stored on restaurant property, which the police also make note of. Maybe they get stored in the weed room?
To be sure, this is an old trick, but we're still curious—if anyone out there has witnessed this particular scam, please email us so we can get to the bottom of who is really behind this. [H/t Reddit]