Cheryl Krist, pictured with her husband Joseph and her service dog Bocci in Stuyvesant Town last year (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Last summer, Town & Village published an interview with Cheryl Krist, a Stuyvesant Town dog owner, who spoke about how her service pooch, Bocci, once saved her life. Krist, who walks with the aid of a cane due to a neurological condition that gives her tremors, had fallen backwards into a dip on the road after becoming started by a wild turkey. (This was in a rural road in Pennsylvania.) When Krist was unable to get back up, Bocci blocked his owner when a car came down the road, by standing up on his hind legs in front of her. Meanwhile, Krist also mentioned then as well as in prior interviews with this newspaper that she’s often had Bocci denied entry to neighborhood stores.
On Sunday, The Post published a story about two disabled New Yorkers who’ve filed lawsuits against various businesses over access issues, including Krist, who, according to the paper, has filed a total of seven.
Reached at home this week, Krist (who recently moved from Stuyvesant Town to Riverdale), declined to get into detail about specifics for the cases that are pending. One, however, she said she won last year against Gracefully. The store paid her a sum she said she isn’t allowed to discuss as well as a fine to the city. (A call to Gracefully wasn’t returned.) Another suit, against a local diner, she lost. But, according to Krist, there’s never a reason to deny her dog entry because Bocci wears a jacket that identifies him as a service dog.
At a recent Dog Days event in Stuyvesant Town, Town & Village asked several of those in attendance what their biggest concern or challenge is as dog owners in New York City, as well as in ST/PCV. In a rare instance, the answers from all were unanimous: The biggest challenge was finding open space for dogs to play.
Photos by Maya Rader
“Finding a good place, especially with grass, for dogs to hang out and go to the bathroom. I think it’s even more evident in this area, because there are so many restrictions on where you can have dogs. Like you can’t walk them on any grass, which is a big thing. That’s probably the biggest. It would be nice if they had a good dog park here.”
In his “America’s Soul” column, T&V, Sept. 14, Steven Sanders put forward the idea that people who are “fleeing oppression, or [for that matter] just seeking a decent life,” have the same right to be here, on that account, as those who came here legally in the past. Mr. Sanders does acknowledge that “…these people and their children [are] not here lawfully,” and “nations need to have policies to accept new citizens,” yet neither acknowledgement counts for much in his column. Both get set aside… largely because America is the “beacon of hope.”
I too think that Mr. Trump’s maybe-desire to send them back to their native land is sleazy, despicable and expected, but I differ from Mr. Sanders undeclared view that there is now a new way, previously unknown, to obtain citizen status here in America: pain, fear suffering and illegal entry. A person’s life in a foreign country — even a brutal life in a brutal country — may be a horror, and it may be a good and relevant reason to consider granting, and then granting, citizenship, but a life in another country is neither a grant nor a right to U.S. citizenship. Living here as a citizen is not a right one can grant oneself.