Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More About the Dog Beach

From a correspondent:
Above are photos of a new sign that has been installed in a few locations around Prospect Park. This one is adjacent to the "Dog Beach". There is only one problem; read the rules closely, then look at the sign posted only about 6' away (and behind the park bench). It contradicts both the new sign by allowing 5pm offleash and the amended health code times.

Anyone who frequents Prospect Park knows that the leash rules are rarely enforced anywhere, but never enforced at the "Dog Beach". This summer I approached Officer D. Scott of the Parks Enforcement Patrols to tell her that several dogs were running around, unleashed, in that area. I was told that they usually stay away from the dog beach to avoid confrontation with dog owners. Unleashed dogs can be found at any time of day running from the water and on to the surrounding fields. Dogs that run around on the hillside beneath the stand of elm trees northwest of the beach have completely denuded it of undergrowth. In addition, a satellite image from Google Earth clearly shows the same kind of damage caused by the dogs to the edge of the field just southwest of the "Dog Beach". Finally, I was there today at noon and the garbage can next to the beach reeked so badly of dog waste that I could smell it from several yards away. No surprise that there are rats hanging around that area. Olmstead and Vaux are turning over in their graves.

So PEP agents "usually stay away from the dog beach to avoid confrontation with dog owners". Indeed. That's like saying a pass receiver usually heads straight out of bounds as soon as the football is snapped to avoid confrontation with tacklers. Or the leadoff hitter usually takes three called strikes to avoid confrontation with the pitcher. Isn't "confrontation with dog owners" one of things these people are paid to do?

Update: In a comment subsequent to those published below, which we chose not to publish because (among other reasons) we had closed the discussion, Surreal writes "You obviously do not understand the dynamics of baseball. Infielders play primarily around the bases or baselines. Outfielders cover large expanses of grass in sweeping arcs." Of course infielders do; that--and the fact that this is where baserunners are-- is a reason those areas are dirt. But, as we said, infielders go onto the relatively small grassy area to field slow grounders or bunts, and the pitcher runs over to first base to cover it. By the same token, baserunners do not go into the outfield, and the outfield areas are sufficiently large that any one place has relatively little use. The overall impact of fielders on any one area of the smaller, but relatively infrequently trampled, infield grassy area and the far larger, but more frequently trampled outfield areas ought to be roughly the same.


surreal947 said...

If you go to Google maps, which you obviously did, you will notice barren and worn spots throughout the park. The existence of worn spots elsewhere in the park belies your claims unless you want to blame dogs for those spots as well.

The SW corner you mention is at the intersection of several curved paths. This invites all people (not just dog owners) to cut the corner to save a few steps.

Attributing this to dogs is simply conjecture.

credo-ny said...

Would you also consider it to be conjecture that the large bare spots seen from space at the dog runs within the Long Meadow, Nethermead Meadow and Peninsula Meadow were caused by dogs? Here's a simple experiment in observation you may want to try. Spend a couple of hours in Prospect Park during peak offleash time over several days. Note where the dogs mostly congregate. Now here's the difficult part, compare those areas to Google's satellite images.

Surreal947 said...

Perhaps you are right. Perhaps you are wrong.

There are humans all over the park (some with dogs).

The largest bare or worn spots are in the outfields for every ballfield in the park. Unless dogs are playing ball, we can assume heavy use by ballplayers caused this.

The bottom line: there will be worn spots where there is high use. High use correlates with the purpose of the park- recreation and relaxation for the most people possible.

Central Park has meticulously manicured lawns- all fenced and off limits except for those with permits (ballplayers on North Fields and Great Lawn) or those using Sheeps Meadow at quiet times.

Give me my Prospect Park any time.

Interesting comments on Credo2 today. Gave me a lot to consider.

credo-ny said...

Ah: very good. And it is illegal to loose dogs on the ballfields, so the damage on the ballfields can't come from dogs, right? If you think so, you might go to Prospect Park's dog--uh,ball--fields during dog hours (or, for that matter, after dog hours), and count the number of dogs running around tearing up the fields. We have, and we've reported them on this blog. So it's fair to say that at least some of the damage on the ballfields was caused by loose dogs as well.

Dog-caused damage extends far beyond "high use". We maintain that this is not the sort of use--abuse--for which parks were ever intended.

Surreal947 said...

Once again you distort - you should work for Fixed News.

The google photos of Prospect Park show damage in the outfields. Dogs do not know infields from outfields. If they were the cause of damage there, there would be evidence of it everywhere.

Any gardener or field maintenance person would tell you (if you ever bothered to actually research instead of accusing) that baseball outfields suffer surface damage due to cleats on ballplayer shoes. This is commonly known. It is one reason why certain fields (like Central Park's lawn museums) prohibit them.

To see for yourself, Google this: "ballfields, cleats, damage."

Your obsession with dogs clouds any reasonable discussion.

While you are right about this Marcia woman, you lose credibility with your other comments.

credo-ny said...

Now, now, Surreal, remember your manners: no abusive postings. But we've decided to answer this time and then close the discussion:

Cleats can't tell outfield grass from infield grass any more than dogs can. Infielders run on the infield grass to field balls, so if cleats were the problem, you'd expect the infield to get torn up too. So why blame dogs for the outfield? Outfields are broad expanses of grass, the better to let dogs run, roll over, and dig. In the infield, there's a fair amount of dirt, a backstop, and maybe even bases, all in all not very appealing if you want your dog to--literally--tear around. If you were a dog, where would you rather run? Besides, we suspect that some dog owners think--or like to think--that the baseball fields on which they're not allowed to run their dogs is limited to the baseball diamond. So once again,it makes sense to blame the dogs (or rather, their owners) if it's only the outfield that's torn up.