They have a license to grill!
Prospect Park is cooking up a new legal barbecuing area after neighbors on the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens side of the park clamored for more places to get their grill on.
The new location, a patch of grass near the corner of Lincoln Road and East Drive, will provide an accessible, aboveboard cookout spot for the neighborhoods bordering a side of the park that has long lacked the plentiful sanctioned grilling zones near Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Ditmas Park, a park representative said.
“Previously there were not as many barbecue areas on the east end of the park,” said Prospect Park Alliance spokeswoman Grace McCreight. “Since we are Brooklyn’s Backyard, we’re really looking to accommodate everyone.”
The new hot spot, which opens Memorial Day weekend, will bring the number of designated grilling areas in the park to 13. The new area does not currently have any fixed grills, so would-be pit masters will need to supply their own cooking apparatuses. Bring-your-own-barbecues must be charcoal — not propane — and must be at least two feet off the ground. And parties of 20 or more will need to secure a permit before lighting up.
Barbecuing in the park has been a burning issue in past warm-weather seasons. Neighbors have long complained about meat-heads grilling illegally — setting up their smokers in unsanctioned locations or using unauthorized equipment — as well as the effects of charcoal smoke and increased trash. One local launched an online petition last summer to ban grilling in the park outright, garnering 186 signatures.
But McCreight says she doesn’t expect neighbors to get broiled up about the new grill zone. Park honchos selected the new location precisely because it is relatively far from residential areas, mitigating the risk of wafting smoke, she said, and besides — they were the ones who asked for the new area in the first place.
“The interest in more grilling areas came from the community, and I haven’t heard any complaints about the area,” she said.
And the park will hire additional staff during barbecue season to help address the trash problem, McCreight added.