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NYPD Kicks 73-Year-Old Out Of Park Because She Doesn't Have Children

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A woman sitting in a New York City park was struck by a ball, but she was the one who ended up getting tossed out.

CBS 2's John Slattery reports on an unusual park problem on the Upper East Side.

At 73, Harri Molese doesn't look like a threat to society, but as she walked into Ruppert Park she became a law-breaker.

"Yes, I am. I am breaking the law. I was told on Saturday by a police officer I was not allowed to be in here," Molese said.

That's according to a Parks Department sign posted at the park entrance: "Adults prohibited except in the company of children."

Molese, who lives on Second Avenue right next to the park, has, for years, come to the park to sit and read, usually at a checkers table in a large circle. As she sat there recently, teenage boys playing Wiffle ball were using her table as third base.

"I was just sitting down and they hit me with a Wiffle ball," Molese said.

She said she asked the boys to come out onto 91st Street, which is closed to traffic, to play ball, but they declined.

On Saturday, she came back and said the same boys would hit her table as they rounded the bases. She questioned one of their fathers.

"He said to me you're not allowed to be in here. You don't have a child," Molese said.

It's a park that has a playground in one quadrant, but the rest is typical park, with paths and benches. The rule is to protect children from potential pedophiles.

"It's not even crazy. It's ridiculous. Where is common sense in this world today?" Molese said.

Slattery contacted the Parks Department and got this response:

"The majority of the park is a passive sitting area with trees and shrubs, and senior citizens as well as all members of the public are welcome to sit there. We will move the signage indicating the no adults in playground rule away from the park entrance at East 91st Street and move it closer to the physical playground, to avoid any future confusion."

So, Molese fought City Hall -- and won.

Seniors who live in that area say there is a similar problem with the signs at John Jay Park at 77th near the FDR Drive.

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