Snowboarder Brian Paupaw, who was booted from Fort Greene Park, said: ‘It was ridiculous. I’ve been snowboarding in that park for five years.’
That’s totally bogus!
That was the reaction of a snowboarder and his pals after park rangers booted them from Fort Greene Park for riding their boards on a steep hill after a heavy snowstorm before Christmas.
But after the incident was captured on video and became a YouTubesensation, red-faced Parks Department officials were forced to admit there are in fact no rules barring snowboarding in city parks.
“It was ridiculous. I’ve been snowboarding in that park for five years,” saidBrian Paupaw, 35, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, who snowboards regularly in parks across the borough when conditions are right. “There’s no rule against that.”
The run-in happened Dec. 20, when Paupaw headed to the peak of Fort Greene Park for some urban riding, but was soon ushered off the slopes by two park rangers who insisted snowboarding was prohibited in city parks.
Paupaw was accompanied by his filmmaker friend Jason Scott Jones, who filmed the incident and posted it on the Internet.
“Everything happened in front of the camera, which is kind of bizarre,” said Jones, who grew up in Crown Heights. “I was surprised. It wasn’t like we were part of some big event.”
The footage shows Paupaw taking joyrides downhill toward Myrtle Ave., and offering tips to children who befriended him and had never been on a snowboard before borrowing his.
The snowboarders pushed their luck when they commandeered a garbage can and used it as a ramp to launch themselves airborne – prompting the rangers to confront them.
“Snowboarding is illegal in New York City parks,” insisted one ranger seen in the video.
When Paupaw and his friends questioned the crackdown, the ranger stood by the alleged ban but told the group that if it hadn’t misused city property, “we could have looked the other way.”
After reviewing the YouTube video, a spokesman for the Parks Department said the rangers were right to reprimand the snowboarders for misusing the trash can, but added that they goofed when they said the sport is banned.
“The statement that it is not permitted at all is not accurate, and our staff has since been advised otherwise,” said agency spokesman Phil Abramson.
Abramson said snowboarding is permitted in parks, just as sledding and cross-country skiing are allowed when weather permits.
Despite the clarification, Paupaw is still upset and said it shows how much the area has changed.
“There was a time when no one cared what happened in Fort Greene Park,” he said.