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Claremont Park Tops the List for South Bronx 'Public Drinking' Tickets

By Eddie Small | June 29, 2015 7:33am
 Claremont and Franz Sigel Parks have been the most common parks in the South Bronx for people to get a public drinking ticket over the past two years.
South Bronx Drinking Tickets
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SOUTH BRONX — Outdoor drinkers in The Bronx prefer to sip their suds in Claremont and Franz Sigel Parks.

The two green spaces are the most common spots in the South Bronx for people to get ticketed for public drinking over the past two years, with imbibers in Claremont getting 18 violations from spring 2013 to spring 2015 and people in Franz Sigel getting 10 over the same time period, according to data from the Parks Department and the Environmental Control Board.


Other common spots where people got caught drinking were St. Mary's Park, Crotona Park and Mullaly Park, which saw five tickets apiece over the past two years.

August tends to be the time when people get the most tickets for public drinking. South Bronx park-goers received nine in August 2013 and 16 in August 2014, more than any other month in those years.

Claremont and Franz Sigel are both located in Bronx Community District 4 and are both extremely popular spots for people to host barbecues and picnics, one of the main reasons people also drink there, according to Bronx Community Board 4 Parks Chair John Howard-Algarin.

He said these parties can become disruptive and suggested that improved signage explaining park rules could cut down on the number of violations. However, he stressed that he also did not want these efforts to become overbearing.

"We have to be mindful of the community’s need to let down its hair and enjoy the green spaces," he said. "That is not to say that we condone any open alcohol in any of the green spaces."

Howard-Algarin maintained that increasing the visibility of parks enforcement could also help solve the problem.

"I think they need to hire more parks enforcement officers," he said. "There are not enough for the borough of The Bronx. There are just not enough."

There are 11 parks enforcement officers assigned to the South Bronx, according to the Parks Department.

The agency states that people are not allowed to consume any alcohol in park properties or facilities, apart from areas that have been specifically permitted by the commissioner. The standard penalty for drinking is a $25 fine.

Parks started an initiative last year in which members of the Parks Enforcement Patrol reached out to people about park rules in response to neighborhood concerns about illegal drinking and other quality of life issues, according to the agency.

Several people in Franz Sigel and Claremont Parks said they did not think it mattered very much if people drank alcohol in them.

"I don't care," said Abran Fernandez, a Home Depot employee who was picnicking in Franz Sigel Park on Tuesday. "A lot of people drink in their house or whatever, but sometimes they want to come outside, feel the breeze, drink a little wine and go home."

Christopher Shoulders, a 47-year-old student who was in Claremont Park on Wednesday, said he had received a ticket for public drinking himself before and did view either the fine or the offense as a very big deal, especially when compared to other illegal activities the city has to deal with.

"It's not like you're stealing or anything," he said.

John Dent, 48, was in Claremont on Wednesday and agreed that public drinking was not a serious offense. He said he would prefer to see the city spend its time and resources on other issues, especially given that many people drinking in parks are not bothering anyone.

"Most of these people are hardworking people," he said. "People who just want to have a beer on a hot day."