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People Defy Warning Signs, Walk On Semi-Frozen Pond In Central Park

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It was a beautiful day to be outside Monday, especially in Central Park.

But officials have a warning if you're near the pond.

The warmer weather has brought more people through the park, but rather than sit on a bench or just enjoy the sights, many are opting to take risky photos out on the partially frozen pond: Something you're very clearly not supposed to do.

CBS2's Alice Gainer was out walking in the park Monday morning. She noticed two people out on the pond, which quickly turned into almost a dozen people at around 11:30 a.m.

Despite multiple, bright red warning signs surrounding the area and the melting ice, people posed for pics and walked around.

Eventually someone came by and yelled for people to get off, and they slowly sauntered away.

This afternoon, more people ventured out there. This time, two NYPD transit officers - who told Gainer this wasn't even their patrol - came over to tell them to get off, but eventually the officers had to get going.

"I've seen two people walk out on the ice and I filmed it because I didn't know how that was going turn out. And then they sat for a while, then came back, and I've seen another person walk out," said Manhattan resident Lamont Coleman.

Coleman told Gainer he didn't see anybody tell them to get off the ice.

Footprints can be seen all over the top of the pond, and photos show this has been happening for days. On Saturday, people gathered on the pond and were kicked off.

After CBS2 alerted the Parks Department to the video it shot, they called a press conference and said they've instructed their parks enforcement patrol to come by more often.

"Now we're seeing an uptick of people walking onto the ice, we saw this morning, which is why we called this press conference," said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. "They're here with us right now, we're making sure they have a regular presence while we see the ice here in Central Park an in our other park systems."

In previous years, CBS2 has reported on people falling through the ice. There have been multiple water rescues that happen at the pond. Last year, a boy in Queens fell through the ice and died. Just last month, CBS2 got a look at how the NYPD trains for ice rescues while they were out in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

It seems like common sense to stay off the semi-frozen pond, but the warning signs don't exactly say no, either, Gainer reported.

"The signs don't actually say 'stay off the ice,' it says 'danger, thin ice.' Should you change the signs to explicitly say stay off the ice?" Gainer asked Silver.

"That's a good point. That's something we'll consider," Silver said.

Silver said if you're asked to get off the ice on the pond and you don't comply you'll get a summons with a fine of about $50. They also have red ladders stationed around the pond which can be used to help rescue someone, but officials say always call 911 first if you see someone fall in.

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