Let’s start with full disclosure here.
I admit I was never a smoker, but it’s hats off to Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council for the new law banning smoking in 43 square miles of parks, public plazas, beaches, and boardwalks in the city.
That means no smoking in Central Park, the pedestrian plaza even in Times Square, or again, at the beaches.
From my point of view, it’s not about infringing on the rights of smokers, but the health of all of us.
The law, armed with a $50 fine attached, aims to protect New Yorkers from secondhand smoking in often elbow-to-elbow environments.
Yes, some health experts question whether the smoke in open spaces poses a serious danger, and yes, critics say the city is trampling on civil liberties, but what about this question, hasn’t the city forbidding smoking in restaurants and bars proven to be good public health policy?
For your smokers, Battery Park City and Hudson River Park may be exempt because they fall under state, not city, jurisdiction.