Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Prospect Park Concerned About Swearing, Smoking Workers & Playground Proselytizing

July 2nd, 2008 · 2 Comments

Harmony PlaygroundWe were really hoping for a playground-free day today, but it is not to be. Having posted last week about a Park Slope Parent members widely-circulated email complaining of employees at Harmony Playground arguing, curing and smoking, we’re glad to see the response from Prospect Park. Park spokeperson Eugene Patron, who always keeps people informed about goings-on in the park, also wrote an email related to the issue of playground proselytizing and what is and isn’t permitted under Parks Department rules. We begin with the Harmony Playground email:

Reports of Park workers acting in a discourteous manner to Prospect Park patrons, as well as smoking in the Park’s playgrounds, are of great concern to Park managers. Parks Department employees, whether full or part-time, are instructed to treat Park users with respect and courtesy. They also should not smoke in or around playgrounds. Parks Department managers will remind their staff of these important points. As well as reporting their concerns to the City’s 311 system, the public can also call the Prospect Park Administrator’s office at (718) 965-8951. So that managers can better respond to concerns, please provide the Administrator’s office with the date, time and location of any incident you are calling about.

While proselytizing, per se, is clearly not against Parks Department rules, handing out leaflets and fliers without a permit is and adults without children aren’t allowed in playgrounds. Here’s what Mr. Patron had to say about the issue in an email that we are told was sent the Park Slope Parents list:

1) Any individual or group wishing to pass out flyers in a public park must get a permit from the Parks Dept. This includes those wishing to hand out flyers of a religious nature. This is NOT a restriction of first amendment rights of expression: the permit process is used to make sure the activity is held in a suitable location (one that does not impede access to facilities, pathways, etc). A playground is not a suitable area for passing out flyers.

2) Adults in a playground area should be those accompany minors. Adults without minors should not be in playgrounds. THAT SAID, these rules are enforced with some common sense: an elderly couple enjoying the sun on a Park bench within a playground area is not going to be asked to leave by Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) or the NYPD. It’s also likely that someone passing out flyers in a busy area may not exactly draw the attention of PEP or NYPD officers as a problem needing to be addressed.

IF you observe an individual or group doing something you think may be against Park rules – such as handing out flyers – report it to a PEP or NYPD officer. I know someone posted a note to the list saying
they did report the flyering activity it to a police officer, and the officer said he could do nothing about it. The reality is some officers may not be fully versed in Park rules. The best thing to do in all situations is to also call 311 and make a complaint. Both the Parks Department and the NYPD take 311 complaints seriously. You can also follow-up with 311 on a complaint. If there are playgrounds that need better patrols, calling 311 and asking for such will get results.

There you have it.

Tags: Park Slope · Parks

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 local mom // Jul 2, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    why do you start off apologizing for a post you are putting up?

  • 2 Anonymous // Jul 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    can I call 311 to complain about these stupid posts?