1. @Karl Burgin A quick read of the story answers your question:

    "And in the centre of the sidewalk behind a plant"

    "Anthony Fabrizi, the city's manager of parking ticket operations, says the hydrant needs to be a certain distance from the street so pumper trucks can park there"

    As for the behind the plant, that was them taking the photo at a stupid angle. The first photo has it in the open.