Neighbor Geoffrey wrote to us and told us that, while walking home through the Parade Grounds around 11:15pm Tuesday night, he was incredibly surprised when he was stopped by a uniformed officer from the 70th Precinct, who asked for his ID and proceeded to write him a ticket for remaining in the park after dark.
Around that time, Geoffrey noted he was one of five people being written up for walking or biking down the path that’s adjacent to the Tennis Center and the baseball fields – something he said was a great surprise to him, as he has used the walkway (which is regularly traversed by people after sundown) at night for years without issue.
The neighbor said he wanted to get the word out about the experience because, while he had identification on him, “a late-night jogger or biker who neglected to have ID with them might have an altogether more unpleasant experience.”
Geoffrey also noted that of the individuals who were being ticketed, “none of us were hanging out.”
“These were people quite literally walking home or biking through what, by all appearances is, an open path that leads to Stratford Road and Caton Avenue,” he wrote.
From the neighbor’s email to us:
I was contestant number 3 on, “Surprise! Betcha didn’t know walking through this inviting, well travelled street after dark gets you a ticket.” None of us were too happy with it because, despite the officers saying there’s a sign, not one of us can recall seeing it, and I’ve lived here for over 5 years. On my way out looking for such a sign, pink ticket in hand, I asked a lady sitting on a bench at Caton and Stratford if she had ever heard of such a thing, and she said in her 40 years of living here, this was the first. Then a guy walking his dog asked me whether I also got one of those tickets because he had gotten one earlier. This was at around 11:30 PM and I had my run-in with the officers at 11:15. So I’m not sure when the ticket fun begins.
This was a multi-ethnic crowd of “offenders.” Myself, being black, a white guy, another black guy and 2 Latino gentlemen I was unable to waive off before the officers pulled them to the side, and the guy walking his dog who had gotten his ticket earlier.
The neighbor went on to stress that “it’s very surprising to get a ticket for what is essentially walking through an obvious footpath with no gate, and no apparent signage indicating that no one is permitted past a certain time.”
“Even as me and my fellow unlucky pedestrians were standing to the side while the officers ran warrant checks, several other people biked by us on the same path, also blissfully unaware that they were “guilty” of being in the park after dark, but the officer said he couldn’t chase after them while he was dealing with us,” Geoffrey wrote to us.
Additionally, the neighbor pointed out how many people use this path – which we too have seen late at night.
“This is something that can happen to anyone who walks or bikes regularly through that path in the evenings,” he wrote. “If you are walking down Prospect Park Southwest, heading east of Coney Island Ave., it’s the path of least resistance and many people naturally walk or bike down it.”
We’ve reached out to the 70th Precinct about the tickets, as well as when people can no longer walk through the Parade Grounds. On the Prospect Park website, it notes that the Parade Ground fields close at dusk.