Smoke out! New signs will tell you where to barbecue in Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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Prospect Park officials have put up ten new “No barbecuing” signs and have hired extra weekend enforcement in the borough’s most popular green space in an attempt to douse the illegal grilling that happens there during the summer.

The Hammurabian offensive comes in the wake of a holiday weekend that saw barbecuing rampant in portions of the park where it is not allowed, including shady spots along West Drive, nooks across from the baseball fields and on the northeast side of the lake.

With the new signs in place, lawless grillers won’t be able to play dumb when officials begin handing out tickets — which could happen soon and will cost violators $50.

“Slowly but surely the public is getting it,” said Eugene Patron, a spokesman for the Prospect Park Alliance. Park Rangers gave verbal warnings instead of writing tickets over the Fourth of July weekend to residents found cooking where they shouldn’t be, he explained. “We’re trying to help people to understand the rules.”

Prospect Park has 15 legal grilling areas — including lakeside and picnic spots — but the green oasis can become a smoke-filled free-for-all during the summer, with hundreds of park-going families setting up grills haphazardly on busy holiday weekends.

The signs were installed after non-grilling park-goers complained about everything from fire hazards to wildlife threats and litter caused by the grills — and after park officials amped up efforts to educate folks on how to dispose of charcoal (not in the lake!) and where to set up grills (not right under trees!).

A total of 20 bright green signs — 10 of which also note the location of proper barbecuing areas — were a product of grillers complaining they didn’t know where they could and couldn’t barbecue and park-goers explaining how illicit barbecuing hurts the park’s wildlife.

“It’s positive progress...for the flora and fauna of Prospect Park,” said park watchdog Anne-Katrin Titze.

Designated barbecue areas are adjacent to entrances at Third Street, Grand Army Plaza, Ninth Street, 14th Street, 10th Avenue, Parkside Avenue, Vanderbilt Street, Center Drive and Parkside Avenue at Parade Place. They can also be found on an interactive map on the Prospect Park Alliance website.

Updated 8:18 am, July 9, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

Tony from Brisbane, Australia. says:
I thought Australia was the king of making regulations restricting people's right to enjoy the outdoors. But you guys take the cake - if grilling was banned anywhere 'Downunder', the local authorities would have their council house burnt to the ground.
July 9, 2011, 6:42 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Nice effort, doomed to fail. Lazy folks of all types bring all the comforts of home into the park, and leave half of it in the park for the city to clean up. They're used to having the city do all for them anyhow, so why not clean up the coals and the bottles and the plates? They pay taxes, right?
July 9, 2011, 7:41 am
Cecil B. from Meadow Winds says:
Most of the people who barbecue in the park live in surrounding apartment buildings, and I am sure that the majority of them are hard-working taxpayers. Therefore, to deny them the privilege of enjoying the fruits of their labor is the equivalent of taxation without representation.

Finally, I have to agree that the garbage left by some barbecuers is an eyesore. However, one solution to the problem is the provision of more garbage receptacles by the Parks Department.
July 9, 2011, 4:22 pm
Cecil B. from Meadow Winds says:
Irene from Bronx, if there's anyone that's foul it's clearly you my dear.
July 9, 2011, 4:25 pm
Adam from Prospect Park Southwest says:
Cecil, it does not matter where people come from to barbeque, it matters where they go. As someone who lives in the buildings surrounding the park, and also as a hardworking taxpayer, i believe I also have a right to enjoy the park, and i would personally appriciate if all illegal barbequeing stopped immediately, and I thank the park for finally instituting some level of enforcement of rules which have long been ignored.

Yet as noted in the article, there are 15 areas of the park that are designated as cookout sites, why should the entirety of the park and people like myself who would like to find places that are not run down by parties and barbeque grilling?

Also, when people leave their coals and other trash behind it is not only an eyesore but it destroys trees. It may also be considered a health hazard, attracting rats and raccoons. When dogs get sick from swimming in the lake, who pays for this?

More garbage recepticles would not alleviate the issues we see in Prospect Park, when after every weekend it usually takes several hours into Monday, sometimes until Tuesday for the Parks dept to make rounds and pick up the garbage.

What is needed most is for people who bring food and other items into the park to take them out of the park when they leave.
July 10, 2011, 9:55 am
Valaire from 11211 says:
Cecil is being sarcastic that most of the BBQers are hardworking, taxpayers, right?
Tony from Brisbane has clearly never been to New York. Where he has mile after mile of windswept open space, we have the equivalent of a couple of blocks for most of our parks. Breathing the BBQ smoke sucks out loud. Ya can't smoke a cigarette in NYC parks. Why can you smoke a burger? Prospect Park is big enough to set aside areas, but McCarren Park is too small for it. Bring some enforcement up here. Please.
July 10, 2011, 5:01 pm
VoiceOfTruth from Das Burg says:
Homeboy's chicken looks just awful. Poor little girl is going to get ecoli.
July 11, 2011, 11:29 am
Resident from PPW says:

I live along the park and I guarantee you that the vast majority of the people bbq'ing are not from the neighborhood. The park is open to everyone and as long as people follow the rules, they are welcome.
July 11, 2011, 11:41 am
Jaded from BR says:
hey, can they enforce the no bbq-ing in Owl's Head for a change?
July 11, 2011, 2:21 pm
Man Cave from Minnesota says:
Greetings my fellow Carnivores,

Well, who the hell knew there was such thing as illegal grilling? Thanks for the great article, you can see it posted on our blog:


Man Cave
July 12, 2011, 12:57 pm
richie rich from parkslope says:
i live not far from the park, i assure you people who bbq in the park are not from the slope.
July 12, 2011, 3:35 pm

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