I visited Prospect Park yesterday with a video camera for the first time in a while. It's the middle of fall bird migration, when New York's park are flooded not only with birds but also with out-of-town birders. You'd think that at least the Mayor's office would realize that these people spend money in the city and would want them to come back. Think again.
Nothing has changed. Dog owners still run their dogs on the Nethermead Meadow whenever they want, but particularly beginning at 5pm. This first video was shot between 5:45pm and 6:15pm. There were about 12 dogs running around the field while the Jamaican soccer players had to sit on the hillside at the base of Lookout Hill because they could no longer play. The scofflaws made no attempt to obey the rules and didn't seem to care that I was standing right in front of them shooting video. I said to one person that I thought the off-leash hours didn't start until 9pm. She told me that Tupper Thomas gave them permission to use the Nethermead Meadow from 5pm.
This woman was allowing her off-leash dog to dig a large hole in the ground at the Music Grove. When she saw me videotaping her, she retrieved the dog's leash and clipped him in. By her actions, it seems clear that knew what she was doing was wrong, but didn't care as long as nobody told her otherwise.
This one shows the effectiveness of the Parks Enforcement Patrols. Two officers sat at a bench near the Lily Pond from 4 P.M. until 4:30 P.M. At 4:30 P.M. they walked to the Lullwater Bridge, about 200 yards away, where they stood for 20 minutes. During that time two people had their dogs off-leash on the Nethermead, which is in the line of sight from the Lullwater Bridge. One dog owner was allowing his dog to stalk and chase squirrels. At one point, a woman and her off-leash dog walked down the path that leads to the Lullwater Bridge. For five minutes her dog was in view of the PEP officers. Either the officers somehow didn't see the dog or they didn't care. At 4:50 P.M. the officers walked back through the Ravine to the Litchfield Mansion. Despite the fact that we keep complaining to Tupper Thomas that people unleash their dogs on the Nethermead Meadow beginning at 5 P.M., officers leave the park before then.