BYOBBQ? OMG! City rule allows Cooper Park visitors to bring own grills

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Williamsburg residents fear that where there’s smoke, there’s going to be, well, more smoke.

Some neighbors of Cooper Park were already fired up about charcoal fumes, trash, and crowds in the green space after the city installed a barbecue pit with eight grills — and now they’re up in flames over the fact park rules will allow patrons to bring their own Webers.

“I think it’s totally irresponsible that they are allowing an unlimited number of grills and smokers,” said Carrie Perry, who lives near the Maspeth Avenue park. “I will be smelling barbecue in my living room.”

The city implements a bring-your-own-grill policy at parks that boast grill pits, such as Prospect Park and Red Hook’s Coffey Park — a fact that many anti-grilling activists only realized as they protested summer searing at three community meetings last week.

“When we held our ground at zero [grills, the city] dropped the bomb that anyone can bring grills anyway — so what negotiation were we really having when the number of grills on any given day is unlimited!” said Perry. “What a joke.”

Visitors can now bring as many grills as they want to Cooper Park, so long as they stay in the designated area in the northeastern corner and don’t come in groups of 20 or more (larger crowds require permits from the city).

North Brooklyn Parks honcho Stephanie Thayer and an aide to Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D–Williamsbu­rg) told residents at a recent community meeting that the city originally planned to add 10 grills — then reduced the number to eight due to neighborhood opposition.

But the city may add two additional grills later this summer, and the Parks Department is preparing to add another eight grill stations next year as part of a $2.6-million Cooper Park renovation if the cooking equipment proves popular.

Fans of outdoor food preparation, including residents from Cooper Park Houses who lobbied for the grills, flocked to the green space to debut the cookware last Saturday — and they promised to fight for more grills.

“I’m disappointed we only eight,” said grill fan Karen Leader. “We had an agreement for more.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

anywho says:
Yeah meat!
May 17, 2012, 7:48 am
Ben from Greenpoint says:
some trouble is on the way ready to happen !!!
May 17, 2012, 10:19 am
Ben from Greenpoint says:
some trouble is on the way ready to happen !!!
May 17, 2012, 10:19 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I remain embarrassed by my neighbors.
May 17, 2012, 10:37 am
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
Where there's smoke, there's trash.
May 17, 2012, 11:53 am
prillis says:
enough internet talk of trouble and trash. folks, just hang some nooses to express your true feelings.
May 17, 2012, 1:02 pm
Meat from Kent Ave says:
I want to move there just so I can smell the BBQ in my apt. Its amazing to me that people would complain over something as absurd as this.
May 17, 2012, 3:09 pm
C. Brooks from Meadow Winds says:
I am going to go there with the biggest barbecue smoker I can find, not because I want to barbecue, but because I want to smoke out the haters.
May 17, 2012, 7:12 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
o my goodness - the darkies are gonna check out de white womins -go back to ida ho
May 17, 2012, 11:29 pm
Yupster from Kent Ave says:
The only thing to keep an eye on is what kind of a job people do in cleaning up after themselves. As long as they keep the park clean there is no reason not to allow the BBQers. This should not be an issue.

Also, its interesting that people automatically presume this to be a race issue. Why do people assume that its only going to be black people or latin people that want to BBQ? Even if they are the ones predominantly doing the BBQing why does that bother people?

I like C. Brooks' idea. To further that, I think there should be a massive Cooper Park BBQ Contest. It would be a great way to bring the various communities together and eliminate all this negativity.

May 18, 2012, 8:15 am
Steamed from Williamsburg says:
Arrests already happened last weekend - the first of BBQ in Cooper. That should be in the story. Check the blotter.

The race thing is so lame. There are white people in the neighborhood for the grills and non-whites against. Racism against whites is just as ignorant as racism against anyone else.
May 19, 2012, 11:59 am
Alice from Williamsburg says:
I think what the person above was commenting on illustrates what people are concerned with here.

A large party was gathered in the BBQ area until way after midnight - with amplified music, boozing and all.
Next thing you know, the party spirals out of control - the police have to respond to break up fights and at least one person gets arrested.
Mind you this is happening directly across the street from people's houses at 1am.
I like seeing families gathered there enjoying the park and having a good time.
What I don't like is that this could attract more large unruly parties that go unchecked until the wee hours of the night.
Allowing the BBQ'ing until 1am every night makes absolutely no sense at all. All it does is asking for trouble.
May 20, 2012, 8:09 pm
concerned from across the street says:
My concern is there are no Park Rangers policing these events. The Parks Department does not regularly clean the park, the bathrooms are insufficient. The Police Department does not police the park as often as they should. They come early in the morning when the park is empty. When the park is in full swing, there is no police presence. I'm all for people using the "green spaces" around the city, but what about grilling in McCarren Park, which is 3 city blocks large?
May 23, 2012, 1:34 pm
happy place from Cooper Park says:
I love it when certain people call other people haters for not wanting smoke and lighter fluid smell coming into their homes. or noise for that matter....or for expressing their disappointment in losing a green area that is JUST GREEN and nothing's pathetic to hear whiners want to be hostile towards people exercising their right to speak out "against" something that effects their quality of life. It always tells me who the REAL HATER is...the ones that want to bully others into accepting their environment to change in a way that suits them. Pint blank. The Bullies call other people "racist" and "haters" to shut them up and take away their rights to voice their concerns, opinions and needs for a quality of life that is "different" from the much for respecting other views. There are some really hostile, immature and ridiculous people.
June 2, 2012, 9:59 pm
30 Debevoise Ave from Cooper Park Houses says:
@happy place from Cooper Park:

Has someone taken your right to voice your opinion? I'm reading it right now, so I don't believe that is the case.

Your assertion that long-time residents are "bullies" instead of concerned members of the community is indeed telling of your fears and insecurities. How are our cries for park space any less valid than anyone else's?

"Quality of life" you say? Imagine living in the projects, told your not allowed to bbq on the premises, AND to boot--- not in the local park. Where then, if not our home or our local park, should we go? I'll cyber-smack the crap out of you if you even muster a thought like..."Somewhere out of the neighborhood".

You have the audacity to comment on matters that you clearly haven't pondered beyond your loathing of charcoal and lighter fluid. Where was your outrage at the noise of the numerous construction crews erecting these God-awful and gaudy buildings in Williamsburg? The tar smell? The dust and steel welding smells?

You and your ilk have gone the way of the Dodo and soon will be even smaller in the already minority opposed to TRUE progress in this country. Shame on you.
June 24, 2012, 1:32 am
Jennifer from Williamsburg says:
I seriously don't understand the controvery regarding the BBQ grills. Can't we just all get along and let the kids see their parents and friends hanging out together and they can play in the playground? BBQ is day for our kids to hang out in a positive environment. For pete's sake, we need to get a grip.
June 24, 2012, 6:05 pm

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