NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – New York City parks commissioner Adrian Benepe insists the city is committed to keeping new smoke-free zones smoke-free.
“Our enforcement officers are out there telling people not to smoke and everybody’s obeying and if they don’t obey, we’ll give them a ticket,” he said on Friday at an event on Randalls Island.
Just one ticket has been issued since the law took effect on May 23. It banned smoking in all city parks and pedestrian plazas as well as on all city beaches.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On Randalls Island
That ticket was issued to a newspaper photographer.
“That’s because people simply obey. When we say ‘put out the cigarette or leave the park’ they do it,” he said.
“We haven’t seen that,” replied WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.
“You know, I haven’t seen people smoking in the parks,” said Benepe.
“Some people are being defiant,” said Diamond.
“Well, if they’re being defiant, they can be jerks. If somebody wants to be a jerk, they can be a jerk,” said Benepe.
Right now, it appears education is the goal.
“We don’t want to raise revenue this way,” said Benepe.
The Parks Department says 700 smokers have been given warnings.
“We’re going to rely on peer pressure. The other dog owners, when they see someone who doesn’t pick up after his or her dog, they say ‘pick up after your dog, don’t be a slob,'” said Benepe.
Benepe says if someone lights up, parkgoers can help by politely pointing the smoker’s attention to the no smoking signs.
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