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Families pack Rosedale picnic

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A community picnic for the residents of Rosedale Saturday in Brookville Park went off without any of the drama that surrounded last year’s raucous bash.

The event, organized and promoted by a new group of Rosedale residents this year, did not degenerate into a repeat of last year’s liquor-fueled party, which left the park a mess and drew criticism from residents and parks advocates.

This year more than 700 people filled the park for most of the afternoon and evening to eat hot dogs, burgers and chicken and socialize with their neighbors.

“We — the regular residents of the community — put together this event. We wanted to have a Rosedale family event,” Richard Roberts, the organizer of this year’s event, said as the evening drew to a close. “We want residents to come together. Rosedale’s a melting pot and a lot of people don’t really know each other.”

Last year’s event, the third annual, was hosted by party promoter June Balloon, state Assemblywoman Michelle Titus (D-Far Rockaway) and Jacques Leandre, at the time a City Council candidate.

The party left the park in such disrepair — photos showed piles of litter and a tent advertising an open bar — that Fred Kress, president of the Queens Coalition for Parks, sent a letter earlier this month to the city requesting that it not allow Balloon to host the event again this year.

Roberts said he was originally granted a permit to have 100 people in the park, but the city Parks Department later revoked it, saying other groups, which might or might not have included Balloon’s, had planned concurrent events and officials were concerned it could get out of hand again.

On the morning of the planned party, Roberts said he showed up at the park and Parks Department employees were already there to turn away revelers.

He said he then spoke with Parks Department representatives and that they agreed to allow the picnic to move forward “on courtesy,” but that some of the planned aspects of the event would not be allowed and organizers and attendees complied with the agreement.

“We allowed people to enter the park and have a picnic so long as there was no alcohol, inflatables, amplified music or other things they had planned to have,” said Phil Abramson, a Parks Department spokesman. “We allowed them to have a picnic, but we didn’t allow them to set up their event.”

Abramson said the picnic was free of problems.

Police from the 105th Precinct responded at the end of the party in order to help disperse the crowd, which was lingering after the park closed, but there were no incidents reported or arrests made, a police representative said.

Roberts said he planned to ensure that there was no mess left behind. Brookville Park was relatively free of debris and trash Sunday morning.

“We just basically look to promote the positivity,” he said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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