Letters to the Editor, Sept. 22

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Sidewalks (better) get a lot clearer soon

On September 13, the Board of Health met and passed the following with respect to Health Code 161.03 which bears on dog waste on sidewalks and other public places:

Ҥ161.03 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, sidewalk, lawn, garden or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall [or], stairway or entranceway of a building abutting on a public place.”

I’m told this statement of the regulation will go into effect around October 21.

The new statement makes clear that 161.03 applies to both public and private property.  This means that dog owners in STPCV would have to abide by the same rules by which other dog owners in the city are charged to abide. That is, dogs must be curbed, the waste picked up and discarded.

Dogs would do their business in the streets, presumably where the sanitation vehicles clean.   At the public hearing it was said that DHMH legal intends to get in touch with STPCV management about enforcement.

Management policy in STPCV has been to permit dog owners to allow their dogs to do their business on sidewalks, in specified grassy areas and on dog day playgrounds.

I think the clarified statement makes it clear that the current management policy if continued would be in support of activity the board of health would consider illegal.

Would like to know if management intends to follow the clarified HC161.03 or intends to continue current dog waste policies. Would also like to know Dan Garodnick’s position with respect to this issue. To wit, should STPCV management follow the amended HC161.03 or not?

Barry Shapiro, ST


Yet another computer scam

I would like to alert my fellow ST-PCV residents to a current computer scam.

I have always discounted anonymous phone calls alerting me to “serious problems on your computer.” This time, the warning came in a box on the screen, saying that my Microsoft browser had been disabled and that I needed to call a certified technician at a certain 888 number to avoid corruption of my system.  If that occurs to you, just close the computer!

I ended up with a $900 charge for the “repair” and a year’s service, which I authorized, plus a foreign transaction fee which I just discovered. I am not naming the “up and coming” computer security company because I do not know their role in what followed and they have refunded my money.

What followed four days later was a call announcing that the company had problems and was going out of business. To make a long story short, I ended up being threatened with the loss of all my savings unless I went to the nearest Walmart (Secaucus) and effected a wire transfer.

That, of course, did not happen. I was able to close my accounts.

The original screen box may just have been a company’s questionable marketing technique, but thieves have found a way to make use of it.

Be warned!

Name withheld, ST


Squirrels are the ones getting abused

Dear Sabina Mollot, Executive Editor of T&V:

This letter is in response to the defamation of character of Al Salame (writer of letter, “Stuy Town is filled with squirrel haters,” T&V, July 28), an old friend of mine, as well as a witness to his animal-saving activities.

I have never heard, in my 28 years here in Stuy Town, of a squirrel bite incident. However, I have witnessed little and larger children throw rocks, broken items, etc. at squirrels and groups of pigeons, all under the watchful and uncaring eyes of their parents and/or nannies. These same children charge, screaming and in groups, into groups of small and unprotected animals. Who is the victim here? It’s an easy answer!

When my son was in the 5th grade at PS 40, I granted him permission of walk home unaccompanied. He complained about all the bigger boys from an unnamed school and how they attacked the animals and the trees, both. How can parents, who are the child’s first teacher, permit animal abuse to fester and grow? This behavior is known to grow into child abuse when said children launch into adulthood.

Mr. Salame should get a Medal of Honor from animal rights groups, not the condemnation by uneducated adults, who write of what they know nothing of.

Yours truly,

Susan Schoenbaum, ST


Squirrels crawl up evolutionary ladder

Before I moved to PCV – I lived in Flushing. And I have found that the PCV/ST squirrels here are far more friendly here. Visitors have made the same comment.

They are so sweet and frequently as they greet people by approaching them and getting up on their hind legs.

My hypothesis is Darwinian in that that as dogs are actually wolves that over many years have become domesticated and now can relate to us humans… so since the residents of the two developments have treated these creatures so nicely during the past 70 or so years – it has modified their behavior.

If you want something realistic to be concerned about: think about Trump possibly becoming the next president or global warming which can end the viable ecological system which sustains human life on this planet.

David Chowes, PCV


One frustrating cab ride home

Upon being caught in an unexpected downpour (Saturday, August 20) without an umbrella I hailed a yellow cab on the northeast side of Second Avenue and 22nd Street, destination — 7 Peter Cooper Road — left on 22nd across First Avenue into Peter Cooper complex. Four times I needed to repeat the instructions and four times the driver did not understand!

So much for non-English speaking can drivers. So much for a safe trip when the driver cannot read road signs, nor understand the destination of the paying customer.

Helen R. Casciani, PCV

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27 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, Sept. 22

  1. About dog poop:

    The law intended to ‘prevent a nuisance’ has been clarified to include private as well as public spaces, good, but the writer has misunderstood what a ‘nuisance’ is. A ‘nuisance’, in law, is not a euphemism for dog poop.

    From http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/public+nuisance
    “Public Nuisance

    The term public nuisance covers a wide variety of minor crimes that threaten the health, morals, safety, comfort, convenience, or welfare of a community.”

    The law does not mean dogs are not allowed to poop on the sidewalk. Dogs pooping in the street would be dangerous and impracticable in NYC. This is recognized by the city and its administrative code, which allows pooping on the sidewalk but does not allow said poop to be left there, and which specifically mentions sidewalks:

    From the NYC complaint site
    http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1535/dog-or-animal-waste-complaint

    ‘The City enforces the Pooper Scooper Law and accepts reports of places where dog walkers regularly fail to pick up after their dogs. These locations include streets, sidewalks, and other areas such as open front yards next to the public sidewalk.’

    Further misunderstanding: ‘to curb’ does not mean ‘to put off the curb.’ Here the letterwriter is conflating the noun ‘curb’ and the verb ‘to curb’ into one wishfully imagined notion. The word he uses is the verb, and it means . ‘To restrain or keep in check. “she promised she would curb her temper” synonyms:restrain. It does NOT mean ‘Put the dog off the curb and onto the street.”

    Misunderstandings or intentional twisting of meanings, unknown.

    I don’t understand the intense anti-dog sentiment in Stuyvesant Town. The dogs there are, and have always been, subject to the same rules as they are throughout the city. Why is their presence in Stuyvesant Town so much more of a burden than anywhere else?

    • Lynn seems to miss a couple of facts. Since 1978 there have been 2 dog-related nuisance laws in NYC. NYS code 1310 is the Pooper Scooper law and it’s true that the city does take online complaints about this. The other is NYC Admin code 161.03 which I have stated in my letter. The laws mention nothing about curbing. Please re-read 161.03 as I’ve shown it. It specifies clearly where dogs aren’t allowed to make their nuisances.

      Thankfully this is not an issue that gets settled here. STPVC has counsel. The DHMH has general counsel. They should talk.

      If they can’t agree, seems to me there are 2 options. STPCV mgt can challenge HC161.03 and bring a legal action. Or STPCV could decide to ignore HC161.03 and DHMH could bring a legal action.

      • there are 2 options. STPCV mgt can challenge HC161.03 and bring a legal action. Or STPCV could decide to ignore HC161.03 and DHMH could bring a legal action.

        Or … Option 3: they could ignore the dyspeptic imaginings of a dog-non-lover and follow the law as it currently exists: dog owners may allow their dogs to poop on the sidewalk but they must pick up after them.

        • That is not the law. That is current policy. Unless counsel for the DHMH takes some action, even just telling mgt here how it is, I believe that mgt will in fact continue current policy, and nothing will change. I think “Lynn” is actually management.

    • Reckless accusation. Nothing is deliberately misconstrued here. The language of the regulation is straightforward. And my exchanges with the DHMH counsel are clear. The regulation is meant to keep dog messes from being done on all sidewalks.

      I’m a tenant and out front on this. Just pointing out…anyone posting just a single first name could well be from management having a vested interest in making reckless statements, falling into the category of ‘just say anything.’

  2. Yes, I thought someone might bring up how nuisance is construed defying common sense. I agree. It probably means dogs holding loud boisterous parties on the street.

  3. Dog walkers should be walking their dogs at the curb — First Avenue or 20th Street. The reason is that this is where the street cleaners scrub the streets.

    It is unpleasant to see dog owners allowing their dogs to pee in the “dog zones”, because these are not areas that are cleaned by anyone other than the rain.

    That’s just common sense, and it’s the reason behind this new regulation of the Board of Health.

    Let’s hope the naysayers of the Tenants Association can get behind this important Quality of Life improvement.

    David Gravelle.

    • When I grew up here, there were signs posted on the NYC street light poles all over the city that read “Curb Your Dog Under Penalty of Law”. Lynn has likely not lived in NY long enough to remember when street sweeping included street washing, and the water trucks that would follow the sweepers hosing the curbs.

      ST/PCV is a totally different environment than the average city street which has narrow sidewalks which make it easier to guide dogs to the curb. Almost all of the housing developments in the 5 boroughs prohibited dogs because their physical layout caused many of the problems tenants are seeing here today

  4. There is nothing that the DHMH will or can do with respect to the dog owners per se; however, I think there very well may be a legal issue with respect to any management policy that encourages or supports violations of HC161.03.

    In the recent public hearing, DHMH general counsel Thomas Merrill made mention of contacting Stuy Town management about enforcement.

    If you’re concerned that at least the policy here reflects the law, I suggest you write to Tom Merrill and express your concern:

    Email: tmerrill@health.nyc.gov

    • Vickie, Thanks for your concern… I have been living with “the Grifter” con artist for now over a year. And he has cost me over $50,000 and have to (according to NYC )law)have to have anyone who has lived for over 30 days be evicted via the court system — so I I had to retain an attorney (more $$$) and he has done many sadistic thing. E..g., including cutting my phone and computer.

      As “he” continues to prey on me please pray for me!

    • Thanks for your concern dear Vickie!

      Two T&V articles have appeared on the con man sadistic and psychopathic “drifter who has lived with me for the past 2 years or so…

      A NYC law mandates that he must after 30 days be evicted through housing court no matter what. He has cost me $50K + I had to retain an attorney (more $$$).

      He has assaulted me, turned off my computer and phone and….

      And it continues…

      • You mean YOU are the guy who this parasite has inflicted himself on? I had absolutely no idea! I hope you are getting help on this matter. Have you tried (ahem) Elder Care? Sounds like abuse of an older person to me.

  5. I happen to agree with Lynn on the Public Nuisance issue and honestly believe “no harm, no foul”. If people pick up after their animals (and by the way, they should also use water from a bottle to wash away remnants) what is the problem. People should take responsibility for their actions without everything being put into law. Fines never work.

    Let’s try something new that would also affect people who are too busy making $$$, or too busy reading their (not so) smartphones: “Community Service” cleaning up poop and other messes throughout the city. Rather than paying fines, the inconvenience to their selfish lifestyle may have them reconsider having an animal in the first place.

    And as long as I’m adding my voice about Public Nuisances, how about parents who don’t control their children, riding bikes on sidewalks, running too close to the elderly, etc. Perhaps the equivalent of a leash law for children could help the quality of life for those who don’t have children or those with children who raise theirs to show respect as opposed to those who use excuses like the “kids are entitled”, or “they’re just children” when all they are really doing is shirking their responsibilities. It’s the same as those who don’t clean up after their non-human children. Rights have responsibilities.

    And while I’m addressing Public Nuisances, let’s have our elected officials protect everyone’s health by having bikes with assisted motors (i.e.motor bikes) & Citi-Bikes (an advertisement for CitiBank & hence a commercial vehicle) be required to have license plates that can be tracked for violations and ticketed the same a car drivers?

    The onslaught of reckless under-reported infractions only serves those pushing for bike-friendly use, without the responsibilities that come along with the new privileges.

    • Okay, so I think you’re basically saying that laws should be enforced but you disagree with HC161.03. Fine. I suggest to get in touch with the DHMH just as I did and seek a change or clarification to the law. I doubt that a board of about 12 doctors is going to agree the our sidewalks are the very places dogs should do their business, but why not follow the process and give it a try. About the bikes, I completely agree. I’m asking the DOT commissioner and general counsel to clarify codes 19-176-3b and 19-176-3c with respect to private property and posting signs that allow bike riding on sidewalks. 2 reps from the DOT and 2 13th precinct Community Affairs officers have told me that bike riding on any sidewalks, private or public, is a violation of the codes.

  6. Who is there to enforce any laws around here? Public Safety goes in the opposite direction when they see a lawbreaker. They remind me of the Duke of Plaza Toro in the G&S operetta The Gondoliers: “He led his regiment from behind; he found it less exciting.”
    The bicycles, skateboard, skaters, scooters are totally out of control here and seriously hazardous to all pedestrians, most especially the elderly. There is a catastrophic incident and lawsuit just waiting in the wings.

    The dogs don’t bother me, though it would be nice to not have to watch out for dog shit when walking on the property and perimeter. What happened to the “Poop Scoop” laws? What happened to the sanitation trucks that sprayed water. I vaguely remember them.

  7. David Chowes, I am so sorry to learn of your dilemma. It’s too bad you don’t know a few tough guys who would forcibly evict him and all his stuff. You don’t sound like the kind of person who would go that route, but we had to do that when a girlfriend of mine had a room mate from hell who wouldn’t leave. Packed her stuff and put it on the sidewalk and changed the locks.

    I do hope you get rid of this scum very, very soon and don’t get harmed at all. As you are an older person, it wouldn’t surprise me if Management is being unhelpful because THEY want your unrenovated apartment to rent out to 15 parentally-funded undergrads. Have you contacted Dan Garodnick or Brian Kavanah or Brad Hoylman? This situation absolutely cannot go on. I am praying for you.

    Craigslist is an absolute must to avoid. How about getting the press involved, e.g., NYT or Daily News? Seven On Your Side? There has to be a way you can get your home and your life back.

  8. The writer “Vickie” should recognize that sidewalks are carefully defined in the law: they are the pathways between a building property line and the road.

    In other words, they are the cement-covered spaces on First Avenue, and on 20th Street, and on 14th Street.

    “Sidewalks” are not the pathways throughout the private parcel known as “Stuyvesant Town”.

    So, yes, “riding a bicycling on a sidewalk” is illegal. However, a delivery person who is riding a bicycling in the interior of Stuyvesant Town is not breaking any law, because she is not on a “sidewalk”.

    The various hostile letter writers and STPCV Public Safety have to start recognizing this. They harrass delivery men and women who are simply doing their job LEGALLY, by delivering food on a bicycle.

    Should they be courteous and careful: YES. Should they be arrested: NO, because they are not breaking any law.

    The various signage that STVPC has put up to harrass tenants on bicycles is without legal effect.

    End of Story.

    Thank you. As you were.

    A/C

    • I really have to laugh at how ridiculous some of the responses to the codes can get. So what we have here are not sidewalks, they’re paths. On the day that there is an accident here and a lawsuit, you can get up in front of the judge and defend the bike policy here with that argument. I’m sure the judge would double up with laughter.

      • Barry, I truly appreciate what you’ve done with all the research and communication with city agencies, but we will all be long gone before a definitive answer is ever given. If the government (all levels) can be ambiguous, they will be, and it’s for a reason.

        I look at public city streets around manhattan, and all I see are dogs not curbed and bikes on pretty much every sidewalk. These are not just stuy town issues.

        • I doubt your observation applies 100%. When I was on the West side, most people brought their dogs to the street.

          However, individual practice is not the issue and central enforcement isn’t even the issue. The issue is that we have managements that for 10 years have declared a policy that clearly supports the violation of city codes. That is the real issue. I believe that needs to change in order to comply with the law.

          Now…as to enforcement. Do you recall what it was like when dogs were not allowed and playing on the grass was not allowed? My kids (now adults) certainly do. Every time they might have strayed onto the grass, some elderly but feisty lady might say in no kind tone: “Excuse me, young man, but that’s not allowed here.”

          If the rules are clear and known, we might see at least some enforcement here on that level. It’s not unknown.

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