August 11, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Bay Ridge / Meadows of Shame

BBQ’ers make mess in Owls Head Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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Another weekend of illegal barbecuing in Owls Head Park had some residents steaming, other residents demanding that the city create areas for permitted grilling and the cops just throwing up their hands.

On Monday morning, a typical post-weekend scene greeted visitors to the hilltop greenspace at Colonial Road and 68th Street: piles of trash, food and spent charcoal so disgusting that some residents don’t bother using their park.

“I never go to the park during the weekend because [all the grilling] is just too much,” complained one Senator Street resident. “It’s normally filthy, but Monday mornings are the absolute worst.

The resident even had to stop her 23-month-old from picking up trash left behind by the picnickers.

“We paid a lot of money for our house, and it’s very upsetting to have my kids play in a park that’s filled with trash,” she added.

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann reported that her office received a flurry of complaints on Monday morning. She knows that some Owls Head users want the city to set aside some space for grilling, but her loyalties are with the anti-BBQ crowd.

“Owls Head,” she said, “is not designed for barbecuing” because of its rolling hills and soil erosion problems.

That could explain why Community Board 10 has not asked the Parks Department to consider designating space for barbecuing in Owls Head Park — a first step towards legalized sizzling, said Phil Abramson, a spokesman for the agency.

“We are open to reviewing any potential proposals,” Abramson said, but none has been made.

Families who barbecue in the park think they’re being punished for the neighborhood’s reluctance to create a movable feast inside the park.

“What can we do if everything is illegal?” asked a grill jockey named Luis, who did not give his last name. “Stay home? We don’t have a backyard. Some of us don’t have what others have. I think they should enjoy their backyards.”

The NYPD, which could put a stop to illegal grilling, said it is reluctant to issue tickets.

“Who exactly lit the fire? Who do you write the summons to?” an NYPD source said. “You have to see it happening. If there’s a complaint, cops are instructed to tell the people that the fire needs to be put out.”

The drama playing out in Owls Head Park is similar to the mess that greets Prospect Park goers most summer Mondays, as workers struggle to dig out from the hoardes of grillers who take over the park every weekend.

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Chris from Bay Ridge says:
I find it funny how people say and I quote "piles of trash, food and spent charcoal" are found in the park but I don't see any pictures of this. You would think that if the problem was so bad there would be at least one picture.
Aug. 12, 2010, 6:31 pm
SK from Bay Ridge says:
The situation is disgusting in Owls Head and I blame the 68th precinct for not enforcing the no-fire/no bbq rule. The cops at the 68th don't even have to necessarily write a summons, they can just tell the people that they have to put out their fires. Perhaps some large signs clearly stating that fires and bbq'g are prohibited are needed.

No one is saying these people shouldn't be allowed to picnic and enjoy the park. But these people are filthy slobs who are used to throwing their trash anywhere (just look at Sunset Park) and worse yet they discard still-burning coals right up against the trees. I've even seen a used baby diaper that was left on the ground!
Aug. 12, 2010, 7:16 pm
VC from Bay Ridge says:
What is "-- -- and sppics" Mobley Sampson from Bay Ridge? Your comments is racist and prejudiced. Cleanliness, consideration, and courtesy is not race specific.
Aug. 13, 2010, 9:44 am
VC from Bay Ridge says:
Slight grammatical error in my comment above directed at Mobley Sampson's comment should have read: "Your comment is racist and prejudiced."

Since the park is public property owned by the City of New York, people should be permitted to use the park freely. However, I understand some neighbors' frustration because park-goers should clean up after themselves --if not for the pride in their community, then at least out of environmental concern. Yet, a ban on BBQs in Owl's Head Park will not make inconsiderate people more or less likely to clean up after themselves since they can still leave trash from non-BBQ picnics.
Aug. 13, 2010, 10:01 am
SK from Bay Ridge says:
The MAIN issue is that barbecuing and careless disposal of smoldering coals pose a fire hazard. There is also concern about the damage to trees when still-burning coals are discarded against them. However, it does seem that the garbage is primarily generated by the apparently ever-increasing number of illegal barbecuers, and not by the law-abiding non-barbecuers who usually follow the rules and also dispose of their trash properly.

Commander Eric Rodriquez of the 68th Precinct needs to get off his hindquarters and do the job that taxpayers are paying him to do. It is BS for cops to say they can't issue a summons unless they actually see the person light the fire. Since fires in Owls Head are illegal, all the cops have to do is tell the barbecuers that their barbecue fires have to be extinguished. If these people are hassled enough, they eventually will get the message and either comply or move on to another location.

To that so-called grill jockey, Luis, who gave the stupid excuse that: "What can we do if everything is illegal? We don’t have a backyard. Some of us don’t have what others have. I think they should enjoy their backyards.” Well, guess what? Many people in Bay Ridge live in apts./co-ops so they also don't have backyards. Owls Head is the closest thing that many of us in Bay Ridge have for a backyard. It also looks like most of those illegal barbecuers have SUVs or cars (unlike many of my neighbors and myself). So it shouldn't be difficult at all for those people who want to barbecue to simply drive themselves to another location that already has the appropriate facilities to safely accommodate barbecue cooking.
Aug. 13, 2010, 4:10 pm
Bennie from Bay Ridge says:
The problem is bad and getting worse because the barbecuers know the cops couldn't care less. I guess it'll take a serious fire in the park before the problem is acknowledged.

It was the same thing with that shooting in Owls Head. Complaints were made to the 68th precinct about the drinking and smoking teenage thugs hanging out by the childrens playground. As usual, the cops made lame excuses and did nothing. It took a daytime shootout with young kids playing nearby before the 68th finally woke up.
Aug. 14, 2010, 3:23 pm
Matty from Bay Ridge says:
Owls head has been dirty and seedy for a while, this isnt news. I never set foot in owls head.

On the other hand, the people should just clean up after themselves, have a good time and enjoy summer in the park. Just clean up. Not a big deal.
Aug. 16, 2010, 1 am
Pat K from Bay Ridge says:
The Day time shooting in the Park is a big wake up call we would like to keep this Park clean and safe and frankly not become an extension of Sunset Park.
Aug. 16, 2010, 10:22 pm
m from dyker heights says:
The parks and the neighborhoods are getting very dirty. People dont get it.They have no pride. Myself, my parents and my grandparents worked hard for what we have. Bay Ridge and Dyker was once a great place to live. Now ts discusting. I lived here 53 years, now where do we go. I guess N.J. Did you ever see their parks? really nice areas are expensive but hey some are very clean.
Oct. 30, 2010, 10:13 pm
Michele from sun set park says:
Sk what do you mean have you seen sunset park an theses people you racist ass well I own a home right down the block from the park an the homes are worth over a million dollars as is my brownstone an its because of the park an the view ! The Arab Coulter is all by you my friend maybe you might wanna rethink your state meant
Oct. 4, 2014, 12:39 pm
Shannon from Bay Ridge says:
Maybe it's time for the neighbors to take some pride and ownership in "their" park if they are so invested. Maybe it's time to organize a community cleanup day and draw some attention to the direction you hope things will go. I walk through this park very often and the broken glass/paper/bottles alone tells a story of how the neighbors value's "their" park that they "paid so much to live near". Owl's Head park is not more your park then anyone elses. If you don't like what is going on, lead by example, be proactive and do something about it. Money doesn't buy you the respect you feel like you deserve in a public place. I can't help but think "get a real problem" or get proactive.
March 3, 2016, 3:28 pm

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