Saturday, May 28, 2011

First Smoker Finally Ticketed In Ban - City Lies About Number Of Officers

Photographer Pearl Gabel finally scored a ticket around 6 p.m. after flouting the new city rules for hours without detection.
After flagrantly flouting the law PEP officer Carlton Conheim finally writes the City's first smoking ticket on the High Line. In a front page story, under the banner, CITY"S WACKY OUTDOOR SMOKING BAN, the Daily News spent a total of six hours doing everything they could to get a ticket five days after the ban went into effect. They got a first-hand look at the lax enforcement. The Parks Department falsely claims it has 400 officers patrolling its parks when in fact they have less than 100, and of those the majority are assigned to privately run contract parks (Photo: Kevin Hagen for the NY Daily News)

City Wide

The Daily News landed the city's first smoking ban ticket Friday - and it took all day to do it.

The News sent one staffer to the beach at Coney Island and another to the High Line, spending a total of six hours doing everything they could to get a ticket. They got a first-hand look at the lax enforcement.

Photographer Pearl Gabel, after flagrantly puffing in the presence of a Parks Department officer for a couple hours, finally scored about 6 p.m.

"I warned you before," said Officer Carlton Conheim, a smoldering enforcement agent with a menthol green uniform.

Then he wrote out a $50 summons for ignoring the ban, which began on Monday, that prohibits smoking in parks, pedestrian plazas and beaches.

"Have a nice day," Conheim said.

Then he turned on his heels and headed back down the High Line.

Getting the ticket wasn't easy.

Gabel had to walk a mile with her Camel Lights before she even saw a Parks officer. Standing 4 feet away, the officer refused to even look at the shutterbug, who was smoking like a chimney as he passed.

Newser Joe Jackson headed to Coney Island, lighting up his first American Spirits cigarette just after 2 p.m. An NYPD officer assigned to the 60th Precinct gave Jackson an immediate heads-up.

"Be careful," he said. "Parks Department will give you a ticket."

The NYPD will not enforce the smoking ban after several City Council members feared the new law would be an excuse to question and frisk people. But at the beach yesterday, it didn't appear Parks police were enforcing it either.

Two Parks police officers patrolling the Boardwalk in an SUV didn't give Jackson a second look as he took a drag on a cigarette. Other Parks officers made eye contact, but then zoomed by on four-wheelers.

Nearly four hours bled off the clock. Parks police officers rolled back and forth. Jackson burned through seven cigarettes. And nothing. Not even a warning from the Parks police.

The Parks Department has said that with 400 officers patrolling 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beaches, it doesn't have the manpower to enforce the law. City officials said they were depending on the public to enforce the ban.

Good luck with that.

Michael Mooney, 28, a soul singer from Queens, was enjoying the weather on the High Line yesterday. No one hassled him about his habit.

"I was smoking over by the bench and no one gave me a problem," he said.

Read More:

New York Daily News - May 28, 2011 - By Pearl Gabel, Joe Jackson and Janon Fisher

New York Daily News - May 24, 2011 - By Kerry Burke, Erin Einhorn and John Lauinger

A Walk In The Park - May 26, 2011 - By Geoffrey Croft

No comments:

Post a Comment