Hudson River Park mulls banning smoking in green space
A city smoker's lobby group is fuming over a plan that could snuff out cigarettes in Hudson River Park.
The Hudson River Park Trust, which operates the five-mile green space, has proposed a smoking ban to keep the park clean for its 17 million annual visits.
A trust spokeswoman said the proposal was needed because the park is part state and city owned land and was excluded from last year's law that prohibited smoking in city public spaces.
"Therefore, our board has asked us to initiate the formal state process required to amend the park's rules," trust representative Ann Clark said.
The park stretches from Battery Park City to 59th Street and includes various popular hot spots including the Pier 62 carousel.
The trust will be taking public comments before it moves forward with the ban, which has no set timetable, and it's already outraged smoking advocates.
New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoking Harassment, or NYC C.L.A.S.H., a smokers rights group that is suing the state for its public space smoking ban, lashed out against the trust.
"My immediate reaction to that was, 'What are they thinking?' " the group's founder Audrey Silk said.
Due to the C.L.A.S.H.'s lawsuit, the state is currently allowing smoking in its public spaces but hasn't removed signs that tell visitors that is prohibited.
The lobbying group sent a letter to the trust board this week stating their objections and questioning the timing of the proposal.
Silk said she was particularly troubled that Diana Taylor, the mayor's girlfriend, and State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey, who is named in C.L.A.S.H.'s lawsuit, are voting board members.
"[Harvey] is prematurely pursuing a new identical ban in cooperation with the other board members when she should be advising 'wait and see' instead," she said.
The city's department of health declined to comment and the mayor's office could not be reached by press time.