It is illegal to light a cigarette in any NYC public park, but the Prospect Park Alliance and the NYC Parks Department permit and encourage charcoal barbecuing in Prospect Park even though smoke from charcoal grills contains numerous carcinogens and is much more toxic than cigarette smoke.
The primary issue here is the HEALTH RISK for all park users and residents of the surrounding communities. Charcoal smoke is so toxic that Canadian federal law requires that every bag of charcoal contain the statement: “WARNING: Toxic fumes may occur and cause death if the charcoal is burned without adequate ventilation.” The Park’s current policy basically corrals dozens of barbecues and a large number of people into small designated areas. There is no limit to the number of barbecues. Such a policy effectively does not provide adequate ventilation and endangers the health of those living, walking, playing and sitting nearby as well as to the barbecuers themselves!
Data available on the NYC.gov website shows that the population of Brooklyn and all of NYC has increased over the past 10 years. The number of park users and barbecues has also significantly increased. What may have been good policy in the past may no longer be good policy today or for the future.
There is just TOO MUCH SMOKE!
Many of the “designated sections” where barbecuing is currently permitted are nearby to:
- residential areas, where homes become full of smoke
- the ball field, where children play baseball and soccer,
- the 11th St and Prospect Park Southwest playgrounds, and
- the parkside, park entrances and the park drive where hundreds if not thousands of people walk, jog and bike.
Please help get a conversation going between our community representatives, the NYC Parks Department, and the Prospect Park Alliance to consider making changes to the current barbecue policy. Proposed changes could include moving designated areas away from residential areas, away from the parkside and away from the ball field and playgrounds, or even perhaps banning barbecuing entirely! (For example, Central Park in Manhattan does not permit any barbecues.) Note that the leadership of the Prospect Park Alliance will soon change, giving us a new opportunity to be heard.
If you want the current policy to change let your civic leaders know by:
Signing this petition
Directly contact our Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams at:
Eric L Adams, Brooklyn Borough President
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201