Thursday, July 30, 2009

More from SF; The Uniqueness of NYC

From yesterday's San Francisco Examiner:

July 29, 2009

"Taking sides on parks"

Why did The Examiner chastise Recreation and Park Department rangers for doing their jobs, and then echo a call for oversight pushed by dog owners? Of the 10 complaints per year the rangers receive, I’ll bet that nine, if not all, are from dog owners. Everyone else is glad to see them cited for allowing dogs to run amok.

Park department officials spend too much time dreaming up ways to make money off of everything that used to be free, then instructing rangers to check for paid permits. Residents must buy permits for picnic tables while dog owners pay for nothing, yet cause some of the worst conflicts and messes.

The rangers collect much of their overtime from the added responsibility of overseeing large events in places like Dolores Park, and are then paid from those permits.

The Examiner should not take the side of park abusers over other park visitors.

– Andrea O’Leary, San Francisco

* * *

A comment on a comment to yesterday's post asserts that plenty of places around the country are permitting dogs to be unleashed in unfenced areas of their parks. That might, in fact, be true in San Francisco, de jure or de facto. But I challenge readers to point to any other substantial urban park in the the country where unleashed dogs are permitted to roam in unfenced areas in the presence of other pedestrians, bicyclists, and horses. Note, for example, that in Prospect Park, 300 unfenced areas are loose dog zones, and all of Central Park's 800 acres except for places specifically designated is a loose dog zone.

On which we received the following comment:

surreal947 ( has left a new comment on your post "More from SF; The Uniqueness of NYC":

Dogs are permanently banned off-and on-leash in easily 50 percent of Central Park.

Figure it this way:

Park 843 acres
Reservoir: 106.0
Great 55.0
North 23.0
Hecksher 3.0
Zoo: 6.5
Pond: 5.0
Lake: 22.0
North Woods: 90.0
Harlem Meer: 11.0
The Ramble 38.0
Subtotal 359.5

This does not include the maintenance areas, two skating rinks, south ballfields, gardens, Conservatory, Turtle Pond, restaurants/snack bars/bathrooms, carousel, tennis courts, boci courts, horse trail, children’s playgrounds, etc. ALL OF WHICH BAN DOGS OFF-LEASH AND MOST BAN THEM EVEN ON LEASH.

Off-leash is very limited in Central Park. I know because I used to live there before moving to Brooklyn.

As to your other challenge: just google off-leash and parks and many will come up.
(1) Find us any park outside of NYC--any park--that has anything like 400 unfenced acres open to unleashed dogs in the presence of non-dog-owning pedestrians, skaters, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Find us one that allows them on sidewalks in pedestrian areas. You can do Google research yourself. (2) During--and after-- dog hours, as we have reported many times, the areas that are supposed to be off-limits to them, especially the North Woods,the Ramble, ballfields, horse-paths and the Turtle Pond area, and including the areas around the zoo, are in fact infested with them, and that is in large part due to the lunacy of unfenced off-leash areas. Prospect Park is no different.


Anonymous said...

To Credo,
Posting this letter out of context is simply wrong. Here is the story to which it refers:

Nowhere in the original editorial are dog owners cited as a problem. The person who wrote the letter that you posted clearly has an issue with dogs and owners. Anyone can write a letter. It does not mean it is factually correct.

winston said...

Perhaps we can petition Tupper Thomas for a dog free part of the park. A place where I can let my small child touch a tree without wondering if it was recently sprayed with dog urine. Or sit on the grass without considering the fact that a good dog owner just picked up a pile of fecal with a plastic bag.