Neighbors: City should close Cobble Hill Park later so we don’t get ticketed

Not a walk in the park
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

Neighbors want to push back the closing time of Cobble Hill Park following a mini-ticket blitz that left late-night visitors facing costly summonses.

Cobble Hill residents are fighting to move the park’s curfew from 9 pm to 10 pm amid complaints that cops are issuing tickets for harmless after-hours activities in the greenspace, which is bounded by Congress, Clinton, and Henry streets and Verandah Place.

Civic leaders say the proposed rule change will ensure neighbors aren’t penalized for using a park path as a shortcut home or tossing a bag of dog poop in a park trash can after 9 pm — actions that reportedly left at least two neighbors footing hundreds of dollars of fines.

“I was surprised to learn the tickets were $250 — people have come forward to say it’s ridiculous,” said of the Glenn Kelly of Community Board 6, which recently met with members of the Cobble Hill Association to discuss the issue.

The later hours will likely decrease the number of summonses written, Kelly said.

After years of conflict over curfews in Cobble Hill Park, neighbors requested increased enforcement inside the greenspace following a knife attack outside the park in August and complaints about drug deals and occasional public sex inside it.

Officers at the 76 Precinct say they are working to find the sweet spot between too much enforcement and not enough.

“We’re not looking to storm in five minutes after closing then start writing tickets — but we have to enforce the rules fairly and across the board,” said Detective Paul Grudzinski.

He added that police are simply doing their due diligence by responding to reports that “crime and bad things” have plagued the small park in recent months.

Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said the agency is waiting for a formal request from Community Board 6 before pushing back the closing time — but police are already giving it a thumbs-up.

The proposed 10 pm closing time would put the park in line with nearby Carroll Park’s curfew, which makes patrols easier for cops, Grudzinski said.

“We support the new hours, too,” Grudzinski said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.