Since the law went into effect prohibiting smokers from lighting up in city parks, pedestrian plazas, boardwalks and beaches, only one smoker has been given a ticket. And that ticket was issued to a Daily News photographer who practically begged Parks police to issue it, for the benefit of an article about how parks police are not enforcing the ban. The complete lack of enforcement—which officials fully acknowledge—has some wondering what the point is of having a law that everyone can disregard with impunity.
The Parks Department reports that since the ban went into effect on May 23rd, parks officials have approached smokers some 700 times to warn them they were violating the law. And Council Member Gale Brewer, the law's lead sponsor, tells the Wall Street Journal this will be the "summer of warnings" (which we imagine is like the Summer of George, but more carcinogenic). "I don't want people to get tickets and feel like there is somebody doing this for revenue," Brewer adds. "I like the fact that there are warnings." But if you're a cyclist biking around with a tote bag on your handlebars or going over 25 mph in the park—BOOK 'EM.
Poor Ida Sanoff, a 59-year-old Brighton Beach woman with asthma, thinks smokers have had enough warnings. She loves going to the beach, but she's just about given up on getting fresh air there, because inconsiderate scofflaws blow their cancer fumes her way. "The new smoking law is an absolute joke," she tells the Journal. "I have asthma and there are days when I've had to move my chair three times because people, sometimes in groups, sat down near me and started smoking like chimneys. It doesn't make sense to put a law into place without any way of enforcing it. Why bother?"