GANTRY PARK GOING TO THE DOGS

And justice for all.

And justice for all.

OK readers, today we give you a guest commentary on a hot button topic here in LIC.  I have added some of my own thoughts at the bottom:

I love living in Long Island City. As a mother of two small children, it is a perfect spot for our family, and Gantry State Park is a major selling point. The completion of the grass lawn and playground a few years ago really made this location worth staying in. It’s safe, clean, and a great place for my children to meet and play with other kids.
Dogs have always been allowed in the Park in designated areas, such as the piers. Signs around the park inform dog owners where their pets were not allowed. These rules were obeyed until recently, right up until the leasing of the new TF Cornerstone buildings. Some dog owners started bringing their dogs in behind the furthest building, where construction is still going on. I guess they figured that the Parks employees couldn’t see them over there. From my apartment, I also saw dogs in the great lawn early in the morning. When my daughter almost stepped in a big pile of dog poop in the grass lawn, I confronted the Parks employees. They told me that some dog owners stole the ‘no dogs allowed’ signs and many others refused to obey the rules.
It now seems as if dogs are allowed in the park because I see them that regularly. However, they are NOT. With the addition of these dogs also comes the smell of pee on warm days, as well as the smell of poop and increased droppings of dog poop. I spoke to the Parks supervisor and he told me that the dog owners sued the State for access and the owners lost.
I do not hate dogs. I love dogs. My family has owned many dogs while we grew up. What I don’t like is adults who deliberately break rules.  When my daughter was 2, she was playing in some leaves in the neighborhood and ended up picking up dog poop with her hand because it wasn’t picked up. During the hot summer months, we have to hold our breaths for half a block around each of the apartment buildings because of the smell of dog pee around them. So be it, that’s life in the big city.  Yet it was nice to have one place where we could feel safe to bring our children. This Spring, I couldn’t let my daughter pick dandelions in the park because I had seen dog owners letting their dogs pee on them.
If dog owners want rules changed, then fight the State to have them changed. Until the law is changed, then they should abide by the rules. Dogs are allowed on the piers. There is a dog run on Vernon and TF Cornerstone is looking to put another dog park in by the new buildings. But the dog owners should really respect the current rules as well as think about the little babies and toddlers and even the older kids and adults who want a place where they can play and lay down and not have to worry about getting feces on themselves. Just like dogs have designated areas, people should be allowed designated areas as well.
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Here’s the dual problem as I, The Editor, see it.  By not enforcing the “No Dogs in Gantry Park” rule, a few people start bringing their dogs in, thereby setting a precedent, and opening the flood gates.  The park rangers are in a tight spot, as other than telling people they can’t bring their dogs in, they have no other enforcement capabilities.  Furthermore, they can’t be in all places at all times.  On the other hand, there has been some very poor planning, as Center Boulevard no longer has an official, dedicated dog-run.  Fortunately, there is a partial solution.  As anyone who has been by the QueensWest Field in the last year knows, there is an unofficial dog run just north of it by the picnic tables.  The solution is to get rid of the never-used tables, fence it all in, and make it an official dog-run.  That should take about 72 hours.  As a token of your appreciation for dispensing my Solomonic wisdom, you can call it the LICtalk Dog Run.

23 thoughts on “GANTRY PARK GOING TO THE DOGS

  1. Anonymous says:

    The little bit of good news is that I *believe* the local LIC DOG group is also for banning dogs in Gantry park proper. Can they somehow help keep the green parts of the park dog-free?

    I spoke to a ranger in the park, he says that local dog owners keep phoning into the park manager demanding they be allowed to bring their dogs into the park. Let’s support the park rangers and the state laws by calling in to say we support them.

  2. Casey says:

    I think it’s a few bad apples that are once again making all dog owners look bad.

  3. anon says:

    Several of your statements need correction. First of all, there was once a time when dogs were allowed on ALL the piers. That was taken away a few years ago as the Gantry Park expansion came closer to completion. Dogs were never allowed into the newer area of Gantry Park, and dogs were also then forbidden to go on ANY of the piers, something that dog owners had enjoyed for years which was then unceremoniously taken away. The poor excuse given was that dog urine destroyed the wood on the piers. With a lot of hard work, the local group DOGLIC won back permission to go on ONE of the piers – the southernmost pier ONLY. Since then, not only has the wood NOT deteriorated beyond normal weathering conditions, I go there regularly with my dog, and the only destruction I have noticed was the continual gouging and scratchitti on the railings and benches, so much so that you can barely see the original finish in some places. Oh, yes, and the litter, despite the access to plenty of wastecans along the pier. I can assure you this was most certainly NOT the work of dogs. Dogs still cannot go onto any of the other three piers.

    A lawsuit by the dog owners against the state is untrue. Many dog owners through DOGLIC have been trying to work WITH the state to come to some kind of compromise, with dog owners doing most of the giving and the state doing mostly nothing.

    As far as the no dogs allowed signs being stolen, who knows? Perhaps they were taken down by outraged dog owners, but we can’t be sure. The signs they originally put up were on thin paper stuck into a plastic envelope and tied to the poles. It was done haphazardly, and cheaply, not looking official at all. Not that hard to get damaged and blow away. Perhaps the state should think about posting more permanent signs.

    I do not condone anyone bringing their dog into the park as it is unlawful to do so, but dog owners would like to enjoy the park with their dogs as parents can now enjoy the park with their children. There will always be a few bad apples, and the majority of dog owners are law abiding, and clean up after their pets. It makes me just as disgusted as a dog owner to see dog waste on the sidewalk. I have on many, many occasions picked up other people’s dog waste and it makes me angry to do so, but I do it because I care about the cleanliness of our community. That being said, I also feel like I am being punished because I can’t go into most of Gantry Park without my dog. So I don’t use the park. At all.

    The smell of dog waste around the buildings is the responsibility of the buildings. These buildings are pet friendly, and they need to hose down the sidewalks regularly. If you’re smelling dog pee, then they’re not hosing down often enough.

    You paint an unfairly negative picture of dog owners, and I am deeply offended. I know plenty of other dog owners who have tried their best to be considerate, as do I, every day. We live in an urban environment. There’s broken glass on the streets, discarded bottles of alcohol, paper trash, discarded fast food, urine-filled bottles, and general nastiness. In the summer the subway reeks beyond anything I’ve ever experienced anywhere else. It seems to me that you’re being particularly sensitive to dog-related trash, and overlooking everything else. And since you’ve got an outlet for your erroneous opinions via this blog, it’s particularly unfair.

    And while we’re on the subject of abiding by the rules, please keep your children out of our dog run. It’s the only place where the dogs can run around and play freely, and there is a sign clearly stating that small children aren’t allowed in the run for their safety, yet parents continue to bring their strollers and toddlers into the run. You’ve pretty much taken over the neighborhood, why can’t you leave the one place we’ve got left alone?

    • anon2 says:

      I don’t think this mom is painting an unfairly negative picture of ALL dog owners. In fact she concedes both acknowledgement of dealing with the smells of a big city, and the probability that it’s a select few dog owners who are flouting the rules and giving the majority of them a bad rap.

      • Anon says:

        I don’t think her comments are even handed at all. This entry seems more concerned with damning dog owners in general than with acknowledging the overall positive aspects of the dog owners who do follow the rules. Plus so many of her statements assume too much, she’s not done her fact checking very well, and some statements are just plain wrong!

        Note this: dog owners walk our dogs several times a day. We are out in the community. We know each other, our neighbors, the merchants, and the neighborhood in general. We are more of a social glue for the community than the parents who only seem to congregate with each other and complain about the lack of schools, or anything having to do with their children to the exclusion of all else. We are out and about. We’re the neighborhood watchdogs (pardon the pun). I can’t speak for everyone, but my dog means the world to me, I am extremely considerate when walking my dog, and I’m sick of hearing nothing but negatives about the few who don’t follow the rules.

        I bet it will be some time before we get a post that praises the positives that dog owners have done. What would that accomplish, right? Better to publish something geared toward a debate than the truth. Where was this author when several DOGLIC members took time out of their Saturday a few weeks ago to clean up the dog run, including getting the gravel off the sidewalk to make it safer? I don’t see a blog entry about that. They were doing work that we pay the Parks Department to do through our taxes! The fact is, even her headline is written to incite debate, and has successfully accomplished this, as I have taken time out of my busy, productive day to deal with this nonsense. I can assure you that, no matter what this mom thinks, Gantry Park is most certainly NOT “going to the dogs.”

        And, by the way, I can see over to the “promised land” from my Siberia on the southernmost pier, and I can tell you, I NEVER see dogs in the park.

    • Anonymous says:

      I find it odd that this dog owner keeps comparing their dogs to human kids. In general kids are crapping or peeing on the streets and digging up all the grass nor running and barking at people. I said “in general”. ;-) Oh and dogs don’t grow up to actually become productive members of society… err and they’re dogs.

    • Anonymous says:

      The entitlement of dog owners is always flabbergasting. Why should your animals be able to piss and shit where ever it likes? And if you claim that is not a big deal, then let me know your apt number and I can have my toddler take a piss there every morning for you. Oh and I will make sure I pick up after him too if he happens to do a deuce. I am sure you won’t mind that either. Responsibility of the building to hose that down I guess, and as you say we are just sensitive to the smell of piss and shit.

  4. AnonyMom says:

    Dogs or no dogs, we could really use a Shady Park today!

  5. Anon says:

    Correction to my earlier replies – I meant the northernmost pier. This pier, closest to the forbidden part of the park, is the only one that dogs can go on. The southernmost pier is off limits, and it’s just as well, as the people who fish off that pier often leave hooks and other debris that would be harmful to my dog.

    Again – who is at fault here? The dog owners or the people who use the pier for their own enjoyment? And what about when one of the wood loungers caught on fire and burned completely down, scorching the pier underneath? And remember the red Adirondack chairs that were stolen from the new part of the park? All acts committed by people – having nothing to do with dog owners.

    Glass houses, people, glass houses.

  6. Yo says:

    Boy these comments are really lengthy – a bit much for a dog isn’t it?

  7. St. Stephen says:

    I love dogs, but they don’t belong in the non-designated part of the park.(period)

  8. anon3 says:

    Look anon, no matter what you see or don’t see from whichever pier, there has been considerable slippage on the No Dogs in Gantry Park. One of the reasons you may not have seen it is because it’s been predominantly small dogs. For some reason these owners think there’s an exception if they can carry their dogs in and out of the park. Of course when another dog owner sees this, the mindset becomes “Why not mine?” That’s how this proliferation builds momentum.

  9. Brian says:

    That’s so sad that your kid picked up poop once, and can’t pick dandelions. Must have been real hard to wash her hands too. I know dogs who have stepped on glass (thanks, humans), choked on chicken bones (thanks, humans), shat out rocks (thanks for a rock & mud based dog park on vernon, humans), gotten their feet run over by bicycles (people riding on sidewalks, thanks humans), etc etc etc… I think people affect dogs (and all animals in general) a lot more than dogs.

    It’s unfortunate people have to ‘share’ the earth with man’s best friend. Don’t you wish we could have ALL of the land to ourselves, and just give them a small pen somewhere where they can crap and pee in a 40×40 cell? It would be nice to have it all to oursevces. Still, I’ve never once seen a dog in the kids playground, or the basketball courts, or the tennis courts, or the bars, or your restaurants. I wouldn’t say that park is the humans only “DESIGNATED AREA”. I would say that it would be nice if smug parents put up with dog lovers, much like dog lovers put up with lack of dog spaces in the city. Win-win.

    (and no, you are not a dog lover. stop trying to hide it with the “my best friend is black” line. If you think a smart, intelligent, loving creature should be limited to 2-3 rocky, dirty, small enclosures in a neighborhood… you are not a dog lover).

    I’ll be out on the park tonight at 10:30. See ya there!

    • Anonymous says:

      dogs don’t belong in the city. If you really cared about your dog you would move to the suburbs or the country.

    • Clean Parks says:

      The the dog owners comments here all seem to think dogs are humans. If they are, then lets treat them like humans. Its illegal for humans to publicly urinate and defecate in public, so to it should be for your dogs. Lets cut the the chase, the the problem is your dogs crap and piss all over everything. You can barley make it past the doors of the build buildings in the morning without gagging because of the smell of urine and crap. I know you all claim that its a few bad apples and you always pick up the shit, but you never pick up the piss, so you are batting 50% at best. The piss kills the trees and the grass and in general stinks. How can you blame people for not wanting to sit in grass covered in dog piss. You only need to look at the grass area next to the soccer park to see what Gantry will look like if dogs are allowed in it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @teen angst – it’s called Gantry park.

    • Brian says:

      That’s my dog’s back yard too! How precious.
      p.s. I’d also post anonymously if I had no counter-argument

  11. Anonymous says:

    there is no need to provide counter-arguments to people who equate animals to people and think that they are entitled to the same consideration.

    btw, the anonymous postings are coming from different people.

  12. Tru Green says:

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other person’s web site link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar for you.

  13. […] in May, I published an editorial from a local mom which called for enforcing the ban on dogs in Gantry Park.  In hearing her reasons and then […]

  14. xyz says:

    Who the hell cares about any of this. So your kid touched dog waste. You live in NYC. I am sure she touches worse. You don’t like the smell of piss. Have you taken a subway? Seriously people, get over it.

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