May 25, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Prospect Park Alliance slashes budget, killing Macy’s contest and other programs

The Brooklyn Paper
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Prospect Park’s 63-year-old kids fishing contest will get the hook, and dozens of other programs will be slashed or saddled with new fees, thanks to dramatic budget cuts unveiled last week by the Prospect Park Alliance.

The gutting of the annual Macy’s Fishing Contest tradition, which last year reeled in more than 3,500 people, was the most dramatic cut, but the list also includes a “modest” admission charge for adults at Lefferts Historic House; and the elimination of some educational programs at the house and at the adjacent Audubon Center, where kids currently enjoy science, nature and crafts programs.

The Alliance, which oversees operation of the park for the city, said the changes would reduce the group’s $10-million budget by three percent, or $300,000.

The cuts come just five months after former Department of Sanitation Commissioner Emily Lloyd took over an Alliance at a crossroads and under fire for tardy trash pickups and last year’s federal slaughter of 300 geese.

Before making the cuts, Lloyd reviewed the budget submissions of each park department, but did not hold any public hearings, which are not required by law because the Alliance is a registered non-profit.

For now, the Alliance’s focus must be on maintaining a “clean and safe park,” said spokesman Eugene Patron, who added that the group would seek “other ways to connect children with nature.”

But ending the decades-old fishing contest is disappointing to kiddie anglers, who have gleaned confidence from being outdoors — like first ever-female winner, Sarah Murray, who told The Brooklyn Paper in 2009, “Girls can play any sports — and they can be just as good as guys.”

In place of the contest, the park will offer smaller “clinics” to teach kids about fish, Patron said.

Borough President Markowitz, who kicks off the fishing contest every year and has called it, “a rite of passage,” said he was disappointed in the budget cuts.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said.

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Reader Feedback

Chicken Underwear from Park Slope says:
It’s unfortunate that Marty can't find a few dollars to fund the fishing contest.
May 25, 2011, 4:47 am
Sarah from Prospect Heights says:
Fishing isn't a sport. If kids want to play sports, the park is wide open for them. And fishing in a city park is dangerous and wasteful. The park's wildlife are often injured or even killed by the discarded fishing line. Why not find less harmful ways to help kids enjoy nature and the park?
May 25, 2011, 7:33 am
Rina Deych, RN from Boro Park says:
I am shocked that the Brooklyn Paper, which normally has a good reputation for being pro-wildlife would publish an article that promotes cruelty to wildlife. Fishing is not only torture for the fish, but it is harmful and often deadly to waterfowl and turtles who become entangled (and sometimes strangled) in line left behind (in spite of the fact that FIDO has provided receptacles for the safe disposal of fishing paraphernalia), and impaled by illegal barbed hooks used by MANY fisherman. As a registered nurse, humanitarian, and wildlife advocate, I am deeply disappointed in Ms. O'Neill's support of this cruel activity.
May 25, 2011, 8:09 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
The fishing contest has been replaced by the Brooklyn Paper Pseudo Social Issue Whining competition.

The winner and whiners will be appearing here shortly.
May 25, 2011, 8:19 am
David K from Ditmas Park says:
I hope it stays cancelled for good.
May 25, 2011, 8:40 am
jj from brooklyn says:
Hey, why not expand the park to include Prospect Park West, including all the apartment houses. Then the Park could grab tax revenue from those buildings, and even charge a toll on the bike lane!
May 25, 2011, 8:46 am
Margaret from Brooklyn says:
Good- am glad there will be no fishing- the little wildlife that is left will be spared from the usual entanglement of the fishing line.

They will find other ways to help children connect with nature? Why not get people out there to teach and engage visitors about wildlife?
May 25, 2011, 10:18 am
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
Not to dampen your spirit but although some people fish responsibly, wildlife rescue groups report an OVERWHELMING number of injuries & fatalities as a result of fish hooks, bait and tackle left behind. Here is a link to a recent daring rescue performed by Brendan Ocasio of the ACC in tandem with the wild bird fund -- risking his life to save a small ocean goose anchored to a rock by fishing wire
Brenand Ocasio is my new hero along with The Wild Bird Fund.
May 25, 2011, 12:21 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Well, it is bright, sunny day for the wildlife to CELEBRATE at Prospect Park! -- One of the very few we might add.

Kudos to Prospect Park for cancelling the fish tormenting "event" which too often ends with more garbage left in the park -- including fishing lines wrapped around the waterfowl.

For those concerned about children's "connection" to wildlife, it should not be wildlife at the end of a hook. That is not "fun" for the animals.

Bring back the geese and ducks for children to learn about and peacefully enjoy.
May 25, 2011, 1:52 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
there is no reason to cancel the fishing event...instead of getting 3,500 fishers who pay no fee they should charge $10.00 and they will still get $300,000..the only problerm is that the greedy city will put the money into the general fund so that they can use it for some worthless cause or other misuse..probably buy more $48,000 wheel chairs.
they could host a goose shoot in the park and charge a fee, many will attend. there are lot's of way's to raise $$$. keeping the park clean should be the first priority. stop BBQ's
May 25, 2011, 2:36 pm
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
-->Al Pankin

There is "no reason to cancel the fishing event" Really, Al? Have you read ONE post from educated wildlife educators? I am a NY State wildlife rehabilitator and I, myself, posted several ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL reasons why it is fantastic that the fishing event is cancelled. It may be a budget cut, but its a win win for the water birds, the turtles and even the kids who -- often -- find fish hooks in the ground and put them in their mouths. The park was - originally -- created as a place of peace. A break from the city. A break from struggle and strife. Now it seems to be anything but.
May 25, 2011, 3:29 pm
Lassie from Dog Pound says:
Do those same kids also put goose s**t in their mouths or only fish hooks?
May 25, 2011, 5:21 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
The Park will now have the Potato Staring Contest.

No one will be offended, nor will there be any OVERWHELMING number of injuries.

Children will go home crying in boredom.

Just how many fish hook fatalities make for overwhelming?

Are Fish hook fatalities a trend?

What was the worst year for Fish hook fatalities & how can we learn from these horrible deaths?
May 25, 2011, 6:28 pm
Mike from Prospect Heights says:
I bet if we sold Marty's SUV, got rid of his driver, and let him take mass transit, we'd save enough money to fund the fishing derby.

And if he still wants to be driven, let him use campaign money to shuttle himself around to photo opportunities.
May 25, 2011, 8:44 pm
tupelo35 from windsor terrace says:
Johanna, your right the park should be for peace and tranquillity, but the special events group has ignored that concept , by allowing every event to have blaring music on saturday and sunday mornings at the pathway by Bartell Prichard SQ.
on Palm Sunday residents PPSW were rudely awakened by some screaming moron on a bullhorn at 7am... when special events were contacted they blamed the 78th pct for authorizing a sound permit for a race at that time of the morning , which is illegal and they claimed knew nothing about it.

peace and tranquillity are not in the PP Alliances agenda, they along with bloomberg and markowitz are trying to convert brooklyn to manhattaninsm.
May 26, 2011, 1:46 pm
Westy from Ditmas says:
Now if the alliance would only find a way to enliven the Ocean Avenue entrance by getting rid of that useless circle and encouraging more activities there.
May 28, 2011, 1:51 am
Westy from Ditmas says:
Ooops! It's the Coney Island Avenue entrance that is underutilized and blocks pedestrian access.
May 28, 2011, 1:55 am
Westy from Ditmas says:
Oops! It's the Coney Island Avenue entrance that is underutilized and blocks pedestrian access.
May 28, 2011, 1:56 am

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