by Dan Savage
on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 8:35 AM
The idea has been floated in Seattle—and isn't going anywhere—and now it's being floated in New York. I basically agree with Dom and outraged Slog commenters: banning smoking in all public parks is unworkable and stupid, and ridiculous nicotine addicts should be allowed to "enjoy" their stupid, ridiculous nicotine addiction in their own homes and outside. But perhaps we could make an exception for parks so tiny that they're practically enclosed spaces, parks like...
...Madison Park. The smoke wafting around Madison Park on a nice day makes the park—always packed—pretty much uninhabitable for non-smokers and unsuitable for children. Sitting in Madison Park on a sunny day is like sitting in Linda's in 1997. You leave the park—you leave the beach—with your clothes stinking of smoke. So while I agree that banning smoking in all public parks would be draconian and unenforceable—I'm with Dom and Philip—I don't think banning smoking in a few tiny and crowded public parks would be. Or as New York mayor Michael Bloomberg put it...
“It may not be logistically possible to enforce a ban across thousands of acres, but there may be areas within parks where restricting smoking can protect health.”
Madison Park—the patch of it along the water—would be one of those areas.