These rooms with a view — not to mention four wheels and an exhaust pipe — were too good to be true.
Authorities this week seized seven illegally documented vans that were being used as cut-rate, under $100-a-night Airbnbs, authorities said.
In a series of since-removed posts on the app, the vans were touted as a very down-to-Earth for tourists to experience the mean streets of the Big Apple — by practically sleeping on them.
“Glamp in a spacious camper Van in NYC!” gushed one ad boasting of a “private room” said to accommodate up to three people.
But an eagle-eyed traffic enforcement agent noticed something sketchy about the vehicles — five of which were parked in the East Village — whose registration and NJ plates were long expired, some going as far back as 2000, sources said.
A joint investigation by the city Sheriff’s office and the NYPD Document Fraud Unit discovered an “operation of alleged fraudulent and illegally registered vehicles being used as Airbnb rentals on various streets in Manhattan,” Sheriff Joseph Fucito told The Post. Five of the seven were parked in the East Village.
The Sheriff impounded the cars on Thursday and Friday, authorities said.
“Vehicles could be removed from the street because they were mismatched and expired registrations,” a law enforcement source said.
One of the seized vans was a red, 1999 Ford Econline parked in front of 173 East 2nd St.
California-based journalist Uptin Saiidi, was looking to visit friends in New York City last month and was hoping to stay in a nice hotel, but the $400 per night price tag didn’t sell well with him.
He admittedly was seduced by an Airbnb ad that sold the #VanLife for just $97 — even though the ad noted that “restrooms, shower and lockers are available at a public pool nearby.”
Saiidi, who made a four-minute YouTube video about his experience griped to The Post that his Aug. 4 overnight stay was “awful” — and his van, “smelly.”
“After traveling to many places I thought I had seen it all … but sleeping in a [van] in the middle of New York City was on another level,” said Saiidi, who said he relived himself in a nearby Equinox.
Sleeping overnight in a van is legal, according to the city’s Department of Transportation — provided it’s not parked in the same spot for 24 hours in restricted areas.
When parking is not otherwise restricted, no person shall park any vehicle in any area, including a residential area, in excess of seven consecutive days, the agency’s rules note. Fines typically start at $115, the NYPD has said.
Also seized according to the city Sheriff:
• A 1995 Chevy Gladiator with NJ plates, parked in front of 191 East 3rd St., the vehicle registration expired on Sept. 1, 2016.
• A 1996 Chevy Gladiator parked in front of 150 East 3rd St., registration expired Sept. 1, 2017.
• A 1999 Ford Mark 3 parked in front of 101 East 3rd St., no registration record on file.
• A 2002 Ford Econoline E250 in front of 533 East 6th St., whose plate was mismatched, reported for another vehicle and whose registration expired July 1, 2000.
• A 1989 GMC Vandura parked in front of 330-340 West 28 St., in Chelsea, with a mismatched plate whose registration expired May 30, 2016
• A 1998 Chevy Astro, parked on the corner of West 24th St, and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. The registration expired Jan. 31, 2016.
The Sheriff’s office did not comment further except to say the “investigation in this matter is ongoing.”
It was not clear if there is one person who owns all the vans. Airbnb did not immediately return a call.
A since-removed Airbnb ad for one of these NYC vans
UPDATE: NYC IS OPEN and to full capacity in almost all areas and this van has all the amenities you need for a restful stay!
Heres what’s included:
• Full size bed with clean sheets
• A power station to juice up your phone, laptops and any other electronics so you are charged up for the day.
• Small apartment style windows with net under the big window that you can simply open to allow fresh air and ventilation.
• Curtains on all windows to block and ensure full privacy.
• String lights for cozy lighting
• Vanity mirror
• Ear plugs for noise cancellation
• Public restrooms with shower available!
If there is anything you feel like I missed or have any questions, please do let me know!
Other things to note
Please note the camper is located in East Village, Manhattan and sometimes gets moved around couple of blocks from the listed address. Public/shared restrooms and showers available nearby!
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