Neighbors Want to Ban Barbecues in Park


A group of residents who live near Prospect Park want to ban grilling in the park, because they say it causes toxic fumes to waft into playgrounds, public walkways and nearby homes. Park Sloper Daz Ryan has garnered 132 signatures so far on his petition, “Make Prospect Park Toxic Free by 2015.”

She told the Daily News she lives near the park on 14th Street and suffered through years of hazardous smoke seeping into her house. She is forced to close all her windows, and the smoke has even set off her carbon monoxide detector, she said.

Grilling is only allowed in certain areas on the outskirts of the park, but plenty of parkgoers ignore the rules and set up grills wherever they please, according to the story. The fumes also affect aquatic life, herons, ducks, turtles, frogs and possums, according to park cleanup volunteer Randi Lass.

“Runoff from the charcoal wind up in the lake, threatening all living things that require the lake for sustenance,” she told the News.

At least one park goer was outraged by the proposal. “This is everybody’s backyard,” he said as he grilled burgers. “Not everybody has the privilege of having a backyard.”

Borough President Eric Adams’ office said they were considering the issue. What do you think should be done?

Prospect Park-Goers Call for a Barbecue Ban in the Massive Green Space [NYDN]
Photo by Kristin Resurreccion

55 Comment

  • yes, ban something that everyone can enjoy because some park slope nimby ahole doesn’t like it.

  • What do you guys think of a ban on lighter fluid throughout Brooklyn? We don’t live anywhere near Prospect Park but the fumes are intense when neighbors grill with lighter fluid. It doesn’t seem as bad when people start fires naturally.

    • well from a BBQ purist point of view yes, ban lighter fluid and match light charcoal because it makes the food taste like shit. but from a THIS IS THE GOSH DARN U. S. of A. point of view, NO!

      • And yes, it also makes food taste like shit, but that’s not as important as the fumes disturbing others. As Moonface points out “THIS IS THE GOSH DARN U. S. of A.” We should respect people’s right to east shit, as long as they don’t disturb others :-)

    • I’d love to see charcoal lighter fluid banned throughout NYC. Not only does the stuff smell awful, which disturbs others, but it’s unnecessary. A chimney lighter with a few sheets of newspaper works much faster. The chimneys cost about as much as a few cans of charcoal lighter and can even be fashioned for free from a large restaurant-size tin can.

      • What is this “newspaper” of which you speak?

        • Stuff only used by old farts like me. It is an analogue medium that has many secondary uses, such as lining bird cages, or wrapping fish and it’s far better for lighting charcoal than its digital equivalent.

          • Thanks for the explanation. Wish I had read your reply before attempting to use my Kindle as kindling.

          • A Kindle should work fine, especially if soaked in charcoal lighter, or gasoline [although that might defeat the purpose] but it would be rather expensive, unless you used one of those worthless obsolete models >90 days old.

    • Lighter fluid is already banning in california and should be banned here also.

  • I think charcoal fires should be banned in backyards. Really is ob-noxious.

    The favorite rallying cry of some of the most obstinate and intolerant people on our planet.

  • maybe this BBQ ban is really about getting rid of all the immigrant people who do most of the family picnics there? Just a thought.

  • What a load of garbage. Anyone living on Prospect Park West is getting more exhaust fumes in their home than smoke from BBQ. Somehow, several generations of Brooklynites have survived these “toxic” fumes. What a busybody. Just the worst type of person.

  • i lived in the area for years. every weekend, the park between 9th and 14th would get destroyed by people who came by car to BBQ in undesignated areas off the 9th st path.

  • This is a poorly veiled class war.
    Daz Ryan: get a life.

  • This is definitely a class war. the vast majority of people grilling are immigrant families or people of color. There is no other outdoor place for these people, and having a big BBQ is their bit of American culture. The Parks police could do a better job of working with this people so that they use the park better, and provide some receptacles for ash. But don’t ban them! It’s just like the drinking issue several years ago; it was OK for affluent white people to drink wine on a blanket in Central Park, while poor people in Coney Island were being ticketed for drinking beer on the beach.

  • Is it racist to suggest that people using the park should follow the rules and clean up after themselves?

  • Banning barbecues seems to be on a par with banning cigarette smoking in the park as far as rationale and enforceability go (and perhaps class war too).

  • Sell the park to developers so more luxury housing can be built. Two birds, one stone.

  • We may have found a topic that is as easy to get people excited about as “banning kids in bars” or “not picking up after one’s dog”.

  • Ridiculous. But, don’t think this can’t happen. Your moron mayor just banned fireplaces.

  • wait for it…. daz racist!

    but in all seriousness this is a guise, sham, whatever you want to call it. anyone who lives in the area knows this is not really about the bbq’ing but instead to get ride of the “undesirables”.

  • This level of thinking is something I will never comprehend. If you are that sensitive to noise, or sounds, or smells that you don’t want park BBQ drafting into your home, then why are you living in a city. Its that same mentality of those that move to Ludlow Street and complain about noise from bars. I mean, you pay a premium for that energy. If you want a noise free, quiet and peaceful community, where other peoples behaviors will not interfere with your quality of life, there are so many other wonderful places to live around the city for a fraction of the cost.

  • Does anyone know when Berg’N is opening? Wasn’t the grand opening scheduled for a few weeks ago?

    • it’s been scheduled to open every month for since the end of last year. whoever the guys are that are running that place seem to have no idea what they are doing. how do you set an opening date without even having a liquor license??

  • I regularly run in the park through the clouds of smoke generated by the grillers and I find it quite … delicious. I’m often tempted to stop ask for a taste.

  • Why would such a ban be “silly”? There’s such a ban in Central Park.

    Moonface, you are becoming more and more tiresome everyday. Can you please find somewhere else to vent all your outrage and self-righteousness?

    • i don’t think Prospect Park has the density issues such as central park, nor the mass amount of tourism.

      however, i see the smoke as a larger issue to of enforcement. The no BBQ picture signs are up, (or they are torn down for plausible deniability) but enforcement seems to not exist. The concept of open grilling should be re-thought if the Park can not enforce grilling in non-grilling areas. Huge problem, Park either has no resources or is checked out. If that is the case, then just ban it. People try to hide it on the edge of forested areas literally smoking out wildlife. I walk in the park several times a day on every weekend – – they set up under huge shaded areas where wildlife is teaming above, areas that as far as i know are not legal. One of those areas is between the path and PPW in the area in question. The set up literally on the horse path thinking no one sees them. AYFKM? I never see any enforcement, but if there is perhaps the Park can step on to this board and defend themselves.

      Yes, they are working class and many are immigrants, yes there is probably not enough space to accommodate all, but there is no question wildlife is getting smoked out. And now apparently people (hey folks, grilling is banned in certain areas for a reason!!). Can PPA please hire some spanish speaking employees to enforce? Can we have some fines? Surely working class people will remember when there is a huge fine. Sure, i realize that everyone wants their own space the size of a baseball field – but if you want to grill this is not reality. If you want to grill, you grill in designated areas and you pack them in if need be. Grilling is a perk – a great one that is widely abused. Grilling with fire in a public park is not in the constitution, if you can’t follow the rules and the Park staff is afraid of conflict or underfunded, then that would be good to know and a ban can be addressed. Either way, i put the problem on the people who run the park since the activity is condoned.

  • I live very near the park and love that people gather there to grill, but the amount of trash left behind is upsetting. I really wish there were better enforcement and safe trash cans.

    But you know what really grates (pun intended)? The fact that one park slope person can make the whole dang neighborhood look bad. People just LOVE to pick up on these threads and run with them. It’s like last summer when ONE mom didn’t want ice cream vendors in the playground and everyone thought that everyone in Park Slope was against ice cream in the park. Grrr. We’re not all sanctimonious busybodies! In fact, very few of us are. Rant over. Thanks.

    • yeah the real problem is the garbage, the parks dept needs to pick it up more frequently during the weekend, otherwise the cans get full and the trash just spills over and by Monday AM its a huge mess. Seems like it would be more efficient if they picked it up Sat and Sunday afternoons and avoided a bigger mess on Mondays.

  • I think the Park is ruined more by music than fires, but whatever…

  • Yeah the fumes from BBQ’s are a huge problem – Thank Goodness there aren’t any other fumes in Brooklyn, from anything else besides BBQ’s, FEW!
    While we’re at it, lets petition going into the park at all – they could set up LED screens around the boarder of the park that let you virtually walk through it – that way the grass would stay greener and there’d be less trash.
    I truly hope the self-centered privileged people fail on this one…

  • Enforce the regulations that say where, when and how you can BBQ. Make the fines for violating those rules pricey. Start a fund with the money collected that can benefit the park in various ways. Disposing of coals improperly, especially at the bottom of trees or in streams, can not be tolerated. I don’t understand people. They always want to mess up something for the rest of us and then they complain when everything is taken away!