State temporarily drops smoking ban in parks and beaches
The state is temporarily backing off its smoking ban in parks and beaches and will not issue citations while it tries to get the ban formally recognized, but smoking in all city-run parks and beaches is still banned.
The smoking restrictions in the state-run areas were announced in April, and smokers who refused to comply could face a citation for disorderly conduct. But the smokers' rights group C.L.A.S.H. complained that the state didn't follow rules about creating new policies, prompting the temporary lift.
"There's a state rule-making process that we're undergoing that will take a couple of months and in that time we will not issue tickets," said Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the parks office.
"We've designated no-smoking areas in limited parts of the parks, and those remain in place," he said, adding that No Smoking signs will also stay in place.
"Apparently, the crusade against smokers to date has so emboldened government that the rule of law no longer need be practiced when it comes to its citizens that choose to smoke," Audrey Silk, the founder of C.L.A.S.H., said in a statement.
There are handful of state-run parks in the city, including East River State Park, Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park and Riverbank State Park.