Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Smoking Mad About Smoking in Slope’s JJ Byrne Park

May 5th, 2008 · 12 Comments

Apparently, people are still smoking in Park Slope’s JJ Byrne Park, setting up the classic smoker vs. non-smoker confrontation (and smoker vs. parent face off) and questions about why the Parks Department still hasn’t posted clear “no smoking” signs. Here’s an email forwarded to us from the Park Slope Parents list, where the issue originally surfaced last year:

About a year ago, I posted to vent about the smoking in JJ Byrne park. I also wrote a letter to the Parks Dept then, and received a reply that the Borough Commissioner for Parks was going to post no smoking signs at JJ Byrne. Today a man was smoking on the grassy knoll in the park, with my kids and plenty of others running around him.

I was bothered by the smoke and told him that it wasn’t allowed in the park (my friend with me said it was stated on the signs). He then went to check the signs and to my chagrin, he correctly said there was nothing forbidding his smoking and no one else had ever tried to stop him. I gave the usual arguments that there are lots of kids around, that secondhand smoke is bothersome to all of us sitting there, and that he’s desensitized and doesn’t realize how irritating it is. Predictably, he said nevertheless it’s within his rights. So I’ll bring it back again to the Parks Dept., but is there anyone on this board who can push the right levers to get some real signs up in these playgrounds? I mean it should be obvious, but it’s not to some smokers. I’m irritated that I didn’t have even a sign to back up my claim to this guy.

Interesting that the signs were never posted.

Tags: Park Slope

12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bob // May 5, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I can’t believe that with all the pollution in this city, all the exhaust you breath every day, that someone could be so irritated by a person smoking outside. Surely this is about as minute a quality of life issue has you can get. Guess smokers really are demonized these days.

  • 2 Gari N. Corp // May 5, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I’m sorry, I just can’t get exercised about people smoking outside. I know it’s a sign of progress and all that that we don’t have to go off on people indoors. Maybe that’s why we need to expunge them from other areas. But I’m really unconvinced about the dangers to kinds. I write this as someone who had 14 enormously pleasurable years as a smoker before blood pressure issues forced me to abandon the habit, so I’m hardly disinterested. But could we not focus on child-snatchers, muggers and sundry blowtorch-wielding fiends rather than smokers and nanny-poachers?

  • 3 Velvet Sea // May 5, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    you could just do the same thing the smoker does when your annoying kid is yelling and screaming near him, move away.

    control freak.

  • 4 MJ // May 5, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    if it’s outside, your kids won’t be bothered by the second-hand smoke.

    if you’re a good parent, you don’t have to worry about the ‘bad’ example the smoker is setting.

    this is just another classist attack on smoking now that the bourgeoisie has decided it isn’t fashionable.

  • 5 Francis Morrone // May 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    I’m sorry, but with all the truly serious things we have to worry about nowadays, and with all the real incivilities that have become a part of outdoor life in New York City in recent years, and given that there is *no* health threat from outdoor secondhand smoke (*none*), getting upset about someone smoking in J.J. Byrne Park is stupid and frivolous — and another appalling example of the crypto-authoritarianism of many of today’s Park Slopers.

  • 6 bob // May 5, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I’m no expert, but what gives this person the impression that it would even be legal to place an arbitrary ban in that park?

  • 7 Joe Camel // May 5, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    A complaint about outdoor smoking is no complaint at all. Congratulations to the smoker who wouldn’t submit to this clown. For the Government to give the upper hand to troublemakers is barbaric, and should be decried by smokers and nons alike.

  • 8 Greg // May 5, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    By this definition, if you can’t smoke in parks, then can you smoke on sidewalks? Or is this more a holdover from national park law?

    Anyway, you can’t really blame the mom, she’s doing what she thinks is right for the kid. Even if she does have better ways to spend her and her kids time…

  • 9 justaxin // May 6, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Smoking and annoying parents — why oh why does it have to be an either or?

  • 10 smokey the bear // May 6, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for the tip. We’ll be heading up there to smoke this weekend!

  • 11 Ben // May 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    This story makes me want to start smoking.

  • 12 starter // May 12, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Just bought my pack.

    Smokey, I will meet you there this weekend.