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NYPD Cracks Down On Park Slope Stoop Sale

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CALL 911! Squid Ink on Flickr

The Brooklynian message board brings potentially ominous news for a NYC institution: the beloved stoop sale. Having previously cracked down on Brooklyn residents for drinking alcohol on their stoops, the NYPD may now be turning their attention to those who would sell their old chipped mixing bowls and VHS copies of Mad Dog and Glory on the sidewalk. Here's what happened to one stymied stoop seller over the weekend:

The police shut down my stoop sale yesterday at 1pm. I was in front of my building on Flatbush Ave near Grand Army Plaza with a bike, some clothes, some dishes and a floor lamp. They pulled up and sat in the car for a minute, and I thought they were going to the bodega for coffee or something. But instead, they both got out of the car and told my partner and I, "You can't do this here."

I told them I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, and that we have a stoop sale every couple of years and have never had a problem. They asked where I lived and I gestured to my apartment building right behind me. I also said that I wasn't blocking the sidewalk--since there was probably 10 feet open.

Then the second cop asked, "Do you have a license?" I replied that I didn't, but I also didn't think I was doing anything wrong. I was calm, but after that I sensed that the cops were getting uncomfortable because people had gathered and were observing. So I said, "I'll pack it up, no problem, officer."

And we did. Has this happened to anyone else? Also, does anyone know what the rules are about stoop sales?

There are several theories currently being floated around the message board. One: bored cops. Two: A Brooklynian theorizes that "a local merchant complained that gypsies/vagrants were selling merchandise in front of their store (even thought that is *not* the case)." Three: The landlord called the cops because the "stoop" seller is suing the landlord. All of the above?

Whatever the case may be, this is the first we've heard of cops cracking down on a stoop sales. According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, "A person or business that buys or sells secondhand articles in New York City must have a Secondhand Dealer General license...Used clothing stores, garage sales, used boat dealers, and not-for-profit organizations are exempt from the Secondhand Dealer General license requirement." Any stoop sale expert commenters care to weigh in? Oh, and don't forget to argue about whether this is technically Park Slope!

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