Sunday, May 29, 2011

As Expected New Smoking Law Ignored In Coney Island Boardwalk And Beach

Amanda Freeman lights up on the Coney Island beach despite new laws prohibiting such behavior went into effect last week.
Amanda Freeman lights up on the Coney Island beach despite new laws prohibiting such behavior went into effect last week. As expected, the new smoking ban in parks and beaches is being routinely ignored due to the City's lack of enforcement. (Photo: John Taggart for News)


Fuming over the new parks smoking ban, a cigarette-puffing crowd protested Saturday by lighting up along the Coney Island Boardwalk, according to the New York Daily News.

No Park Police came into sight during the hour-and-a-half exercise in civil disobedience led by Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, or CLASH.

Along the section of beach near Brighton Sixth St., Howard Yourow called the ban illegal and unconstitutional, as he carefully cut the tip of a Dominican "Punch" cigar.

"Here we are, the great outdoors, the beach and the huge sky," he said, barefoot and wearing a pin that read "I smoke and I vote."

"For them to ban smoking in the great outdoors is an overreach of power," Yourow said.

He then stuffed a pipe, a cigar and a cigarette into his mouth - all at once.

The City Council voted in February to prohibit smoking in pedestrian plazas, 1,700 city parks and playgrounds, along with 14 miles of public beaches. The newest ban went into effect this week.

Violators face $50 fines. Parks Department enforcement officers, not the NYPD, are in charge of issuing the tickets.

A Daily News staffer got the first ticket on Friday, but only after six hours of wandering the High Line and the Coney Island beach with cigarettes.

"Park Enforcement officers ... do have the ability to issue summonses to those who do not comply with the parks rules, and when possible will educate and advise before taking further action when overseeing compliance," a Parks spokesperson said.

CLASH founder Audrey Silk has been huffing and puffing about smoking bans since then-Gov. George Pataki's 1999 cigarette tax hike.

"[Politicians] have preferred to rescind our civil liberties rather than advise the public to walk away," she said. "What a tyranny we're living under that they make these decisions on a whim? We smoked before the ban, we're going to smoke after the ban."

Jack Kovalev, 21, agreed that people should be able to smoke: "Everyone's stressed out in this city," he said. "Cigarettes take that stress off."

But Galina Turalina, 21, was appalled.

"I'm shocked!" the visitor from Philadelphia said. "It's embarrassing. I've never seen a group of people gathering in favor of smoking. Is this what we're teaching our children?"

Ten-year-old Gabriela Centeno of Brighton Beach, echoed that sentiment. The Public School 253 student thinks the ban is healthy for the future of New York.

"I think it's a good choice because there can be secondhand smoke and people can get asthma, lung cancer and get sick," she said, while walking along the beach with her grandmother and baby brother."

Read More:

New York Daily News - May 28, 2011 - By Al Barbarino and Katie Nelson

A Walk In The Park - May 28, 2011

1 comment:

  1. I realize its the great out doors and they want to smoke, but they make a mess. Smokers don't care where they discard their butts they just do. I live next to a laundromat and people waiting for their clothes are out there all day and night. My white door now has yellow edges and my hall reeks of smoke all the time. I have to go out 3 times a day to sweep up their butts or else I get a ticket for not keeping my sidewalk clean. I put out a can with some dirt in it hoping they would use it and got a ticket for the can. I can't win, I either move to deal with it. Where are my rights? Don't I have the right to a clean sidewalk and fresh air?