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She’s smokin’! But that’s the problem, as Park honcha must quit before May 23

Smokin’ hot: North Brooklyn Park czarina Stephanie Thayer loves to smoke — and it shows! But now that the city has banned puffing inside parks, she is giving up her vice. Will she make it stick? Find out in our weekly series, The Great Stephanie Smokeout.
Photo by Tom Callan

Quitting smoking is no walk in the park — but for one top Parks Department official, it’s going to have to be.

North Brooklyn Parks administrator and longtime smoker Stephanie Thayer has vowed to quit in the wake of a new city law pushed by her boss, Mayor Bloomberg, to widen the city’s existing bans on smoking to include puffing outdoors in parks.

It’s going to be a long and difficult journey for the three-decade smoker who spends nearly her entire day in Greenpoint’s McCarren and McGolrick parks (and the rest of the time is spent smoking).

“I have to quit — I have two months,” said Thayer, still puffing as she gave this interview.

Thayer has “lost count” of the times she’s tried to kick the habit before — using the patch, the gum, hypnotists, pills and a big plate of cold turkey.

But friends kept bringing her cigarettes because she would become “intolerable” without her nicotine fix, she admitted.

But for the good of the city — and to participate in our new weekly column, The Great Stephanie Smokeout — Thayer is trying again.

So far, she’s been doing yoga and meditation, and has already planned on splurging on weekly massages with the money she’s saving not buying cigarettes.

And if that doesn’t work, she’s going to break out those electronic cigarette pacifiers.

To help her out, Thayer’s co-worker, Open Space Alliance’s Julia Morrow, has stopped smoking for several weeks now.

And Thayer’s family has been equally supportive.

“Andrea, my 5-year-old niece, tells me, ‘Smoking makes people die. I don’t want you to die,’ ” said Thayer.

If Thayer has not licked butts before the citywide ban kicks in on May 23, she can always head over to East River State Park — where there’s no against smoking outdoors (thanks, Albany!).

“The rangers aren’t going to tell people to stop smoking,” said a state parks spokesman.

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