Peter Shankman, a marketing specialist is ready to fight against New York City for a citation he received from police for using Central Park prior to its official 6 a.m. opening time.
Shankman was running in the park with a friend at 4:30 AM when the NYPD asked him to stop running, pointed out that he was violating the park’s curfew, and then issued him a citation for violating the law.
The networking guru is incensed that he is not being given a pass on breaking the closing/opening time and is vowing to fight the ticket in court.
Shankman first ran to Facebook to explain what happened and complain about the ticket he got:
At 4:30 this morning in Central Park, at mile 2 of my ten mile run, I was stopped by the police and given a summons for exercising in the park “before it opened.” Apparently, Central Park doesn’t “open” until 6am, and my exercising (running) in the park before 6am is illegal. Note – Running in the park. Not “performing sex acts for crack,” or “laying down explosive charges,” but “running.” Because apparently, a 215 pound man running through Central Park at just over a 9:10 pace is a threat to Manhattan.
To answer the question of why I was running so early – I needed to do ten miles today as part of Ironman training. If I didn’t start that early, I wouldn’t be done before my first meeting of the day.
A “hey, buddy, the park doesn’t open until six, you need to run on the sidewalk outside” from the police officer wouldn’t have sufficed? Apparently not, since he made it clear that his boss was in the car with him, so he had to write me up.
I now get to go to court in May and fight this. What a waste of taxpayer money, and my time. Ridiculous.
“Most people who’ve gotten in touch think it’s a bogus charge, and have mentioned end of the month quotas as a reason I didn’t just get a warning,” he told Gothamist.
Since he was not in the park to have illicit sex or sleep, Shankman feels he didn’t really violate the “spirit” of the law.
“Knowing the law now, I get the spirit of it, i.e., the park closes at 1 a.m. to avoid people sleeping on the benches, or camping out, or etc,” Shankman told the media. “But I don’t feel I violated that–I didn’t “break the curfew” by staying out late–I came in early to workout. And therein lies the irony–I was trying to get in better shape–exactly the point of all the other laws the last 12 years have seen, from no smoking in bars to no big gulps full of sugary sodas.”
So, the author feels he should be excused from his citation.
Shankman is well-known among journalists for having created the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) project, a website where journalists pool resources and pass on sources and topics to each other.