May 23 marked the first anniversary of smoke-free parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas in New York City.
The Bay Terrace Community Alliance, the first civic association known to publicly call upon the mayor and City Council in 2007 to adopt a smoke-free park ordinance, is pleased with the public acceptance of the quality of life measure that has resulted in local parks being a cleaner, safer and healthier place for their residents to enjoy the outdoors with their friends and family.
Little Bay Park, Fort Totten Park and Joe Michael’s Mile are three very popular places in Bay Terrace to spend time away from the city’s everyday hustle and bustle lifestyle.
Although initially there were a few public protests against the expansion of the city’s smoke-free law, park goers in most part are compliant with the law. The Parks Department PEP officers have increased the amount of summonses issued to defiant individuals when necessary but I have found that peer pressure is all that is necessary to keep our local parks smoke-free.
I have noticed that as a result of the smoking restrictions in parks, cigarette butts are no longer littered throughout the park boundaries. Cigarette butts are the number one littered item picked up by environmental groups worldwide. Smoke-free parks also reduce the cleanup cost for the Parks Department throughout the city when all city agencies are looking to reduce costs.