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.
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.