Thursday, September 25, 2008

Off-Leash Hours and Dirty Bookstores

An interview with independent filmmaker and self-described dog lover Kelly Reichardt in TimeOut New York:
What’s the future of New York? What are your hopes, and what needs to happen?
Kelly Reichardt: I suppose the future of New York is that it continues to become this amusement park. We need to get the peep shows and dirty bookstores back on 42nd Street so that people will go visit Disney in Florida and California. We need more mo’-better rent protection, fewer NYU dorms and more off-leash hours.
They go well together. And while, as our good friend and faithful correspondent Surreal points out, the juxtaposition might seem "wacky", it is no more "extreme" (to use Surreal's language) than the notion of off-leash in heavily-used municipal parks, or any parks with wildlife. Indeed, the juxtaposition confirms an important point about the fundamental nature of off-leash: like dirty bookstores and peep shows, it is entertainment for dog owners, and nothing more.

* * * *
Tuesday, around 4 P.M., a couple of unleashed dogs in the Central Park ramble. Yesterday around 5:30 P.M., a couple of unleashed dogs at Plum Beach. As usual, all owners were white.


Datnioides said...

How about off leash dogs in bookstores? Or, on-leash dogs in bookstores. Dog owners just keep finding more and better ways to impose the unwanted presence of their darlings on the rest of us. (I am an old-school dog owner who does not believe in bringing my dog into every shop I visit.. in fact, I don't bring my dog into any shops, at all, with the possible exception of Petland Discounts.)

I was in Strands a few weeks ago, on a Friday evening, when it tends to become very crowded. This fool was there with two giant pointers on leads. I was browsing the Americana section when this jackass came and blocked the stacks with these two huge dogs. Anyone who has visited Strands knows how narrow the space is between the stacks. Two large pointers standing in the way will not permit anyone to pass. I kept trying to avoid these animals and yet every time I turned a corner, there they were.

The selfishness of today's "Dog Lovers" knows no bounds. I wouldn't dream of bringing one dog into Strands bookstore..let alone two. And speaking of dirty bookstores, a friend of mine witnessed a Labrador Retriever taking a dump inside the Barnes and Noble on 17th Street. Nice.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of places serving or selling food, the decision to allow dogs in a private, commercial establishment is up to the landlord and/or renter.

The prior poster can call it selfish but these business owners would call it good business.

Dogs are allowed in Bloomingdales and other high end stores. As a proponent of freedom, one would think that merchants should be allowed theirs. Of course, it is also your choice to shop elsewhere.

As to the "dump" and B&N, there are many books that could be described as being a "dump."

Datnioides said...

Like the DOPR, the merchants have been bamboozled by the swarms of ill-mannered rich white people who, like infants, find it difficult to relinquish their ambulatory teddy bears long enough to run inside a shop and pick up their copy of "Merle's Door". Personally, I think merchants should have the choice to allow smoking in their establishments as well. If you don't like smoke, don't go. It's all about freedom, isn't it?

Despite the signs outside Tupper Thomas's villa exhorting one to "Discover the Prospect park you don't know", there is no other Prospect Park, no quiet dog free zone available for one to avoid the swarms of off leash scofflaw pests. And there is no place to shop elsewhere if there's only one Strands. (Their annex is closing.) I would say the decadent culture that venerates dogs over humans, and the bookstore that promotes piles of garbage written by new age gibbermeister Eckhart Tolle, shrill strident rants by vegan "skinny bitches", and the boring travails of a whiny yuppie eating and praying her way around the world, deserve each other's smelly heaps.

Anonymous said...

Now now.. don't blow a gasket. Your vitriole is unbecoming and your screed is too disjointed for a rational discussion. But a few points might spur further intercourse.

The difference between smoking and leashed dogs in retail stores is simple to understand. Smoking is not confined. Cigarette smoke has scientifically proven health dangers to non-smokers.

While you are disturbed by leashed dogs in your favorite stores, the presence of dogs does not endanger your health. Those allergic or afraid of dogs can wait avoid them in stores as the numbers of dogs there is never high. (I, too, will miss the Strand Annex.)

Your vituperative rant against vegans and vegetarians is unwarranted. There are nearly one billion vegetarians in the world. How do their individual choices negative impact you?

So you dislike Eckhart Tolle. I only know of his books; having not read them. Despite my attempt at humor with the comparison of poop to some books, I abhor any censorship (even on blogs). We saw it in Germany and, sadly, countless communities in our country. We have seen it throughout history and in present day China and Myramar. Even the Jerome Corsi’s of the world should have the right to write. Otherwise how are intelligent people able to expose and challenge hate mongers and liars?

Getting back to merchants; do you really think merchants are so naïve as to be “bamboozled by the swarms of rich white people” you describe? Retailers respond faster than almost any business owners. If their net incomes were hurt by the RWP (rich white people) dog owners, they would change their pet policies accordingly. So I think your own biases and anger are clouding your ability to see the facts.

Many European cities are far more pet friendly than New York. Berlin allows dogs everywhere on leash but every dog must be muzzled all the time. Do you want to muzzle your dogs? In much of Europe, leashed dogs are allowed in cafes and local restaurants without incident. In parts of the US –especially in the non-RWP parts- dogs are allowed in local bars. In all of these places, merchants respond with policies to maximize potential income.

CREDO has commented about the lack of “quiet spaces” and I agree. There should be a quiet zone like the one in Central Park where no bikes, ball playing, music, pets, etc. are permitted. It would be for quiet relaxation. Of course, you would not be allowed with your dogs, but that should not be a problem for you; leave them home.

Society does not venerate dogs over humans. If it did, we would not be euthanizing millions of dogs yearly. You have written many times that you own dogs. You may not venerate them. You might not love them. But, I suppose, you at least like them. There are those who dislike dogs entirely. Would you have them ban you from owning your pets? Would you have them take away your charges?

In society, we make compromises of personal freedoms to do as we wish in return for things we value or need (safety). You may not like the compromises. I don’t always agree with some of them either. It is always a delicate balance.

Off-leash in Prospect Park works. I do not like those who abuse it, but they are in the minority and should be punished.

Datnioides said...

Calm down surreal! Reread before spouting off! I must have stuck a noive. Time and space don't permit a response to all of your straw men, but I must say, I don't know where I advocated censorship. I love reading about bad books and the people who write them. I just don't want to worry about dogs in bookshops lifting their legs on bottom shelf books by Ecchhhart Tolle, Jonathan Safran Foer, Ted Kerasote, or anyone else, no matter how deserving their works may be of such treatment.

I wasn't ranting against vegetarians, but against an incredibly stupid little book, "Skinny Bitch" and its spinoffs, currently being heavily marketed by mass market bookstores. These books are nasty little PETA profanity-laced vegan propaganda tracts. Check one out sometime. Talk about vituperative.

Off leash works only for the "FIDO" set who indulge in it. (FIDO does not work in the interest of RESPONSIBLE dog owners like myself. If they did, they would have to call themselves FIRDO.) I hate to clue you in to this, but people who abuse the off leash privilege are NOT in the minority. They can be seen all day long, each and every day, in Prospect Park. Nobody rebukes them.

Just last Sunday at 12.30 pm, a white owner of a black Lab let it loose at the ballfields for it to run toward dog beach, where several other loose dogs were playing. I had to wait for the running loose dog to cross my path before I could continue on my way. In the Long Meadow, a yellowish dog was romping many yards away from its nonchalant white owner, getting close enough to me for me to worry about my pit bull objecting to its unwanted presence. Two or three other white people's unleashed dogs were disporting themselves, undiscouraged, in the middle of the field.

Scofflaws are not the minority if one encounters numbers of them each and every time one visits the park, whatever time of day it may be. Perhaps the scofflaws used to be the minority, many years ago. They are not the minority now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Datnoides for taking the good fight up! I'm tired of Off-Leash Prospect Park and the incredibly disrespectful, mostly white, group of entitled miserable people who spend their mornings screaming after their dogs trying to run away from them and then plying the poor four leggers with treats to get them to behave. I would love to have dog-free zones so I wouldn't have to put up with their humans. Had it with the dog people in Prospect Park.