Letters to the Editor, Mar. 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Suggestion for keeping STPCV paths clear

About the dogs, I would just like to put the following out for consideration.

NYC Health code 161.03 specifies: “A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall or stairway of a building abutting on a public place.”

Whether or not the sidewalks of STPCV are deemed public or private, the reason this law is relevant is that we have very dense populations here of both people and dogs (perhaps the most dense in the city), and we have a lot of toddlers here who play and fall on these sidewalks all the time. These small children are the most important factor of all.

Even if dog owners clean up the messes, does that really matter so far as children’s health is concerned? There is residual fecal matter in all cases and in some cases, effective “picking up” is impossible especially if the dog is sick.

Just as in the rest of the city, dogs should not be allowed to defecate on our sidewalks. There’s actually more reason for this law to apply here than in the rest of the city.

In lieu of phasing out dogs here entirely, I’ll offer the following possible solution.

Today as I walked from the Oval toward 18th Street, I saw a couple with its dog doing its business off the sidewalk in a small, open mulched area. The dog finished, they picked up.  Fine.  Not on the sidewalk, totally within the law.

There is a small mulched area near the flagpole at 22nd Street where I’ve seen a man bring his dog. He stays on the mulch, stays off the grass, picks up afterward. Seems totally within the law.  Again, nothing done on the sidewalk.

Seems to me given appropriate limitations, a little intelligent planning and intelligent application of effort, small mulched areas could be set up around the buildings and used for the dogs to relieve themselves, and that would help. I’m not talking about dog runs. Just talking about small mulched areas where dogs could do their thing, owners pick up and then go on with their walks.

Of course, there would also have to be a cap on the number of dogs allowed here.  Past a certain point under any circumstances, the problem becomes totally unhealthy and unmanageable.

Any fines management decides to impose would also need to be enforced with respect to dog owners who refuse to cooperate. Accidents happen so fines would be limited to those who don’t clean up afterward (in accordance with NYS Heath Code 1310).

Barry Shapiro, PCV

Not much of a view from here

To the Editor:

One of the (dwindling) pleasures of living in Stuy Town is the view from windows. You can see trees and a fair amount of grounds. For those of us who live on Avenue C Loop, in front of the playground with white tent covering the basketball courts during winter months, this simple pleasure of looking out of window to the grounds is taken away for three months of the year.

All we see is white tarp obstructing the view, especially during Christmas when we used to be able see all the way through to the Oval with its holiday lights. While I, together with my neighbors, are OK for providing winter weather haven for young people to play, this tent is supposed to come down on March 1.  Unless I missed the announcement, I gather the tent now is not coming down until April 10?

Are we to expect this extension of dismantling the tent to be ongoing every year – that maybe next year the management will decide to keep the tent up for year-round so the young people are not playing out in the heat of summer? Since March the weather has been fairly pleasant, young people can work up the warmth by playing in the open like it is meant to be.

Another point I have is dogs. I agree with readers who have noticed an increase in dog poop. I have also seen dog walkers walk away without picking up the poop while on their phone, and seen dog walkers lift their dogs to put them on the other side of the little fences meant to keep dogs out. I also agree that there are enough dog-runs within the neighborhood than to take any playground away to make way for a dog-run.  I, too love dogs but dog owners/walkers need to be mindful of rest of the community that live here.

Name withheld, ST

Soapbox column was in poor taste

Tasteless is only one word to describe your Soapbox column of March 17, “What wouldn’t Jesus do?” Totally tactless is another. Especially offensive coming across it at this time of the year as Holy Week begins. It would seem to be intentionally designed to give offense to Christians while ignorantly not even realizing just how profoundly disrespectful and hurtful it is to another’s religious beliefs.

This supposedly “funny” sketch falters even at fifth-rate comedy and is on the same low level as the very politicians it’s attempting to skewer. How ironic it appears next to Sanders’ column — see his last two paragraphs: “vile attacks and verbal slurs now passes for political discourse.”

Really think T&Vs editorial judgment could be questioned if it “is proud to present” this particular Soapbox!

Name withheld, ST

33 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, Mar. 31

  1. Are today’s children so puny and cosseted that they can’t play outside in cold weather? For years kids played in the playgrounds without the “benefit” of a huge, ugly circus tent and not only did they survive, they flourished!

    With the massacre of the tree park on the Oval and the general arboricide since MetLife started the Uglification of PCVST, we have very little left that is genuinely pleasing to the eye and to the senses.

  2. Don’t people have courage anymore? Why are so many T&V comments in the both the print publication and blog signed “name withheld”? Own what you say or don’t say anything,

  3. RE: Suggestion for keeping STPCV paths clear

    I’ve seen this NYC Health Code proposal a couple times now and I have to point out once again that if you read the health code it does not say “your dog is not allowed to do his business on NYC sidewalks”. Do you really believe that dogs do not go on sidewalks in NYC? The keyword here is “nuisance”, this health code requires all owners to pick-up after their dogs and not leave a mess behind. So implementing this NYC Health Code into STPCV will do nothing to actually fix the problem and probably cause more friction between non-dog-owner and dog-owner residents.

    I too have noticed more “nuisances” left behind or not picked up well enough and I think we need to remember we are dealing with “bad” dog owners not bad dogs. We need to think of practical solutions that will lead to change and I am pretty sure implementing this health code is not the answer. One solution may be a few doggy-designated-areas of grass or mulch. The vast majority of grass areas (even those originally designated dog-friendly) were closed of with fences 6+ months ago. We have a lot of responsible dog owners at STPCV who could police these areas. Also, someone (not sure if it was management or TA) took down the very few doggy bag dispensers from PCV and ST. Obviously, these dispensers weren’t solving this problem, but taking them away certainly does not help the situation. We need more feasible solutions from the community…

    Ryan M., PCV

    • Dogs must poop and they must run, it’s non-negotiable and it can’t be legislated away. Allow this in a controlled manner, don’t try to forbid the pooping or squeeze it into impossibility, nor the running into non-existence (an impossibility), give a little, accept a little change, and everyone can be happy.

      The strong anti-dog sentiment is a throwback to an earlier time when dogs were forbidden altogether. The best way to get along with dogs in PCVST is to make sufficient accomodation such that they don’t HAVE TO break the rules in order to survive.

      Stuyvesant Town and PC Village dogs need more, not less, places to go.

      Take down the fences around those areas originally designated for dogs, put the doggie bags back, and organize a supervised dog run. There are dog owners who neglect to pick up after their dogs but they are a tiny minority.

      • I’d agree with all you’ve suggested here— except the dog run, Laura. Maybe outside of your window? There’s neither a place for it, nor, with a bit of thoughtful planning and compromise, a need. They are also 2 dog runs (even 3 if you count far-flung Madison Square) within a very reasonable walking distance. Not everything is right outside your window in the city, like it is in the suburbs or country. If we’re to share this island, accommodation rules the day. You made some excellent points here!

        • I suggest a SUPERVISED dog run. The others are not supervised and mayhem ensues. I don’t use any of them, not because they aren’t just outside my window (good one:) but because they are unsafe. I am a dog trainer and i know from whence i speak.

        • I thank you for your concurrence on the other issues. For my dog, finding a place where he can safely run and play off leash is our biggest problem. It is almost nonexistent in the city. The dog runs are filled with people chatting while the dogs are unsupervised. Sometimes that works out fine, but there is always a party pooper, often an unfixed male, and that one dog can ruin it for all. Supervision is key.

    • What makes you think the TA (who don’t have the authority to do so) removed the dispensers? Seems like a poisoned logic. Nevertheless, I agree that more bag dispensers is a better tactic, not fewer. I also endorse fining pooper scooper scofflaws. Use the cash to buy and service the bag dispensers.

      • I did not say it was a fact that the TA took it down! I suggested they may have had something to do with it, that is what I’ve heard from numerous residents. Why so defensive? I know management is pro-dogs, but I’ve heard negative things about the TA and their views on dogs in the community. Again, I do not know that this is true but me and a number of other young pro-dog residents will make sure our voices are heard at future TA mtgs. If you just look at the Facebook posts by residents on STPCV/TA group this anti-dog sentiment is pervasive in the community.

        • Well there are certainly 2 who come to mind who have a (wait for it) bone to pick. 😉

          Not defensive, actually. Just uncertain how the TA (a favorite whipping boy, sometimes with and sometimes without reason) would even be considered to have any such property authority. Just cuz 2 posters on their FB page have a beef against dogs (there, I did it again), doesn’t mean those posters in any way represent the membership. For all anyone knows, neither of those who bark the loudest are even members.

          So remember, the rumor mill is, just that, a rumor mill. BTW, not all pro-dog residents are young and it will be a welcome, surprising change to see anyone under 40 at a TA meeting. Consider not being a one issue only attendee as if you’re not informed and part of the solution, you not only lose the right to complain, but you are def part of the problem. Looking forward to hearing what’s on your minds! I’d also recommend you rethink your target audience: MGMT is a better one for doggy policy than the TA. They’re the ones who’ll dictate and accommodate final policy so I’d try them first!

    • The TA has stated on its Facebook page that it had nothing to do with the removal of doggy bag dispensers and directed inquiries about their disappearance to Management.

  4. Perhaps next time you need to go you will directed to pass options to your designated facility and see how you like it then

  5. Another thought is to pull back all the fencing by about a foot. Dogs gravitate toward the fences anyhow. This way the messes would be mostly off to the side instead of on the sidewalks.

  6. There won’t be any dog runs here. Most non-dog owners won’t want the noise or even the idea of the messes next to their buildings. And I’m sure at least half the dogs owners would see the one-sided unreasonableness of having dog runs near their buildings. But I do think the possibility of unreasonable perspective was created here by Tishman-Speyer when they came in and changed the dog policy but made no real provision for creating a people and pet-friendly environment. With no enforcement they essentially implied to pet owners that they could pretty much go where they want and do what they please. CWC/CR was pretty much the same. Meanwhile, the dog population started building, finally.to the point where we now have enough irresponsible owners here to adversely impact the buildings, sidewalks and the rest of us. Now that complaints about dog messes are very much on the radar, I expect that eventually some sort of compromise is going to be worked out. I stand by the letter. Deliberate dog defecation on the sidewalks is not allowed anywhere else in Manhattan, and there is no reason why it should be allowed here.

    • Dog owners as a group are not looking for opportunities to “pretty much go where they want and do what they please.” This is an unfounded and overly broad brushstroke, founded in anger, it sounds.

      The law does not prohibit dog defecation on the sidewalk. It prohibits leaving it there.

      A supervised run would not be nearly as noisy as you assume.They exist elsewhere, coexisting peacefully in urban environments quite close to people’s homes. Again, supervision is key.

      The dogs are here and that bell can’t be unrung. lets work on it together.

      • I’ve quoted NYC HC 161.03. You can look it up for yourself. Since 1978 under the Koch administration this has been the law. Dogs are not permitted to defecate on public sidewalks. You can choose to ignore this, but you can’t change the actual language.

        • This is probably not worth arguing over but Barry you are simply wrong! Read the health code again. Tell us where it says your dog cannot go on an NYC sidewalk?

        • Barry, I agree with you on some things, but have to agree with Laura and Ryan on this one. The NYC HC 161.03 mentions a nuisance. I am not a lawyer, but the word nuisance is so vague that it can not really be enforced. If it could, this city could make trillions every year on the enforcement. Can any lawyers chime in?

          This property has a lot of work to do in terms of dog enforcement, but continuing to quote this code seems totally pointless.

  7. OK. This is worth going over because there are important distinctions that have gotten conflated all to the benefit of Tishman-Speyer and CWC who didn’t really want to deal with any difficult issues.

    The law says nothing about walking your dog. You can walk your dog on any public sidewalk. What the law says is “A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place,” And ‘nuisance’ in this case at least includes defecation.

    In 2003 the law was amended with the support of the Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene to allow people from the Dept of Parks and the Dept of Sanitation to issue tickets to violators.

    Unless I’ve something in my research, what I’ve stated in the law.

  8. I’m happy to have lawyers weigh in on this. Let’s remember the context. In 1978 there was a push under the Koch administration to deal with dog problems in the city. The clean-up law couldn’t pass the city council for fear of political repercussions. So our state legislators went to Albany and Health code 1310 was passed there. Some time after that the curbing law was passed by the city council, went into effect and all of us living here at that time knew the law meant dogs had to be curbed. That’s the context.

    Anyway, this isn’t going to get settled here. It may be that the Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene will have to get involved just as it has in the past.

  9. This is not an ambiguous point, it is quite clear. You can define nuisance how you like but your definition is just yours, it isn’t in the law. What IS in the law is a requirement to pick it up.

    From the 2003 amendment: “…remove their dog’s feces from any public areas (see, Health Code §161.03 and New York Public Health Law §1310).”

    Full text here.
    In addition to having their dogs actively vaccinated against the disease of rabies, responsible dog owners must obtain a license (New York City Dog License Law, Ch. 115 of the Laws of 1894, as amended); attach a dog license tag to the dog’s collar when the animal is in a public place (see, Health Code §161.04); hold the dog on a leash no longer than six feet when the dog is in a public place (see, Health Code §161.05); and remove their dog’s feces from any public areas (see, Health Code §161.03 and New York Public Health Law §1310).

    • Let’s not confuse the issue. All were talking about here is HC 161.03.

      Here is the law as amended in 2003.

      §161.03 Control of dogs and other animals to prevent nuisance.
      (a) A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall or stairway of a building abutting on a public place.
      (b) Notices of violation for failure to comply with this section may be issued by any authorized employee, officer or agent of the Department, or of the Departments of Sanitation and Parks and Recreation, or successor agencies.

      Section 161.03 was amended by resolution adopted on December 10, 2003, adding a new subsection (b) to authorize its enforcement by duly authorized employees and agents of the Department and the Departments of Sanitation and Parks and Recreation.

      Clearly Sanitation is involved because the ‘nuisance’ is dog feces.

      You know, we can keep going back and forth about this, and you can keep denying, but the law is pretty clear, and anyone who was here back in 1978 knows what was generally made known back then. Dogs are not allow to defecate on the sidewalks. Period.

        • Nowhere does the law define nuisance as feces. No point for Barry.

          ‘Nuisance’ is a general term, not a specific or euphemistic reference to dog feces. Elsewhere in the same code nuisance is reference thusly:

          The owner, lessee or person in charge of any place where animals are kept
          pursuant to a permit required by § 161.09, shall take all measures for insect and rodent control required by Article 151 and shall conduct such place so as not to create a nuisance by reason of the noise of the animals, the escape of offensive odors, or the maintenance of any condition dangerous or prejudicial to public health.

          (e) Whenever the Department finds a dog or other animal to be vicious or dangerous under subsection (c) hereof, it shall be presumed that the owner or keeper trained, caused or permitted such animal to be vicious or dangerous, so as to establish a prima facie maintenance of a nuisance in violation of § 3.11 of this Code.

          I am done here.

  10. Just clean up your dog shit and don’t leave any of it behind. Is that too much to ask? Pull your dog over to the curb when it has to go if you can. If you can’t do that, then just clean up the shit so we don’t have to look at it and step in it.

  11. STPCV’s owners took a clearly anti-dog position in the new House Rules. And, the Tenants Association has hated dogs and cats for a long time. Since the pathways are not public sidewalks, however, the Tenants Association doesn’t have any jurisdiction there. So pet owners and their pets can live in peace.

    • There is absolutely no evidence that the TA hates cats and dogs. Matter of fact, several board members are longtime pet owners! Do you believe everything you read on one conspiracy obsessed blog? Guess so. Wondering, too, why you’d even mention the TA and their lack of jurisdiction over the walkways. They would never claim to have jurisdiction over anything in this community.

  12. The Tenants Association certainly has been seeking to eradicate the Farmers Market for the last three years. The TA has said that it believes it has sua sponte enforcement powers over the “non-commercial uses” of the property — and has not even filed a complaint with 311 or the Department of Buildings! Get your facts straight.

    • Wondering how you’d explain the regular presence of several board members as shoppers every single week, then? That said, there are several legitimate legal concerns regarding the use of this residential property for commercial uses. Your ever so thinly veiled anti-TA bias notwithstanding, those aren’t the agencies with whom the complaint would be filed, so get a life, give up this thread, and go back to plotting your personal takeover of the board. That no one but you is keeping this thread alive is a testament to your tiny worldview. May your life grow richer and fuller in the future; you even might consider getting your own facts straight before seeking to reviving a long abandoned thread about dogs… not the Farmers Market or your anti-TA victim of the day. BTW, I won’t be responding should you feel compelled to get in the last word.

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