From The New York Shitty Inbox: No Dogs Allowed At Barge Park?

February 28, 2011 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

My friend T (who hails from Eagle Street and sent me the above photo) writes:

Well, another dog friendly park bites the dust.  I discovered this on Sunday morning as I sauntered over to Newton Barge Park for my routine morning walk with my dog around the lovely concrete.  As I approached the park I noticed a bunch of Park employees doing their usual Sunday morning clean up.  What I did not notice was the new sign, a photo of which is attached.  I was bee-lining for the entrance when from about 30 yards away a Parks dude starts gesticulating and pointing.  I thought it might be words were issuing from his mouth…but then his colleague also started gesticulating and pointing.

Concerned, I shot them a “What??”  They responded with more gesticulating and pointing.  I re-iterated my query. One of them managed to utter “Read the sign” to which I replied “I can read…how about you talk to me like a human being and explain what’s going on”.  To which I got more pointing and gesticulating.  When I finally convinced one of these dudes that I wasn’t going to just sulk away with my and my dog’s tails between our legs, he came over and said “I don’t want to get political with you, but we got so many 311 calls after the snow about dog crap in the park that we had to do this”.

My God… THEY HAD TO!  If only there were some law….something on the books that might be used to discourage these fecal polluters…some tool or mechanism for those burdened to Protect And Serve us to use to quell this tide of irresponsible dog owners.  I mean, maybe the giant sign that says CURB YOUR DOG 1,000 DOLLAR FINE which has been there for years is just someone’s idea of a silly joke.  Must be since I’ve never seen anyone get a ticket.

What I want to understand, given that there is not a SINGLE other enclosed, dog-friendly park in Northern Greenpoint, is how the Parks Department goes from “We’ve got complaints” to “Shut down that park for dogs” without first trying to actually enforce their laws.  I mean, no one enforces all the non-dog related laws in that park – the littering, the loitering, the drinking, the glass, etc etc, yet they haven’t closed the park to humans.

Here were the options I was given by the Parks dude:

1)  Go to McCarren Park.  Uh huh.  I could also drive Westchester…probably be just as practical
2)  There’s gonna be a new park on Commerical Ave.  Uh meant the one that the MTA is making no signs of evacuating?
3)  The new park on Greenpoint Ave will be open in December.  Thanks, man! My dog only shits bi-annually so that will come right in handy
4)  Go screw yourself.  Yup, that’s the one that works for me!

Fortunately, I talked to Mr. Moustache* (Community Board 1’s Public Safety Chair, Mieszko Kalita — Ed. Note) at Beata this morning.  He said that if I organized an official group of dog owners and than came to a CB1 meeting and presented a request for a dog run, that the city would actually give me fencing, wood chips, garbage pails, a lock, etc, as well as a parcel of land, and then I could run my own dog park.  So, help me spread the word, Heather!  I need about 20 dog owners who are willing to start some kind of loose group to run a dog park.

Here’s the deal: one of the items on the ballot regarding the funds allocated by the Department of Environmental Conservation to foster parks development/improvement in communities impacted by the Shit Tits was a dog run at Barge Park. I, despite not being a dog owner, voted for it because as my friend has clearly pointed out one is clearly needed! Certainly there are twenty north Greenpoint dog lovers reading this who would like to see a dog run in our fair corner of the neighborhood? Anyone?

Update, 8:16 p.m.: T has started laying a foundation to get this endeavor rolling. Here are the deets!

Ok, we’re in business!  I’ve named the group D.O.G.G.O.NE – Dog Owners Group Greenpoint on Newtown

here’s the link to the yahoo group:

email address is

Miss Heather

*I can assure this is not at all derisive. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it is high praise. Yours truly happens to know for a fact that the idea of dedicating a Facebook fan page to this chap’s mustache has been bandied about. I’m not kidding.


4 Comments on From The New York Shitty Inbox: No Dogs Allowed At Barge Park?

  1. rutila on Mon, 28th Feb 2011 4:25 pm
  2. How can I use “fecal polluter” at least once a day?

  3. eagle_teater on Mon, 28th Feb 2011 8:39 pm
  4. You’re welcome to use it as often as you wish at a low low price of 5 U.S. cents per use. Enjoy!

  5. SpillConspirator on Tue, 1st Mar 2011 1:35 am
  6. I agree. We do need a dog run in N.Greenpoint. But why does the community have to find the location for a dog run? During the rezoning, it was made clear through the city’s own CEQRA process that we were not being given enough park space to address community need. The city claimed that our community prioritized our so called affordable housing over open space. Now we have neither open space or affordable housing.

    I think it’s a rezoning dealbreaker that the community should be raising hell over.
    Since the community has chosen not to take up a battle over the lack of open space we are left with sharing the little open space we have.

    Having dogs and children share a common play area has been a problem for quite some time.

    Dog owners need to understand that Barge Park is in fact, not a park. It consists of two children’s playgrounds;Greenpoint Playground and Newtown Barge Playground. Playgrounds are bound by a different set of regulations than parks. The top priority at a children’s playground is and should be the safety and sanitary conditions for the children playing there. Greenpoint Playground is a tot lot. Dogs are never permitted to share
    playground areas with children. The sign is just a reminder of a regulation that has existed for as long as I can remember. Adults are actually not permitted in a tot lot unless they are accompanied by a child.

    Newtown Barge Playground is targeted for older children and is often unusable to the kids and teens who want to play ball there, because the field is soiled with dog poop. There are responsible dog owners and irresponsible dog owners. Even when a responsible dog owner picks up dog poop from the ballfield, they aren’t able to pick up every particle and germ. Kids fall while playing on the field. Their cuts and scrapes are exposed to those particles and germs. In the same way that a child shouldn’t play in a cat’s litter box, they shouldn’t play on a soiled ballfield soiled with dog poop.

    Several times we requested thata dog run be considered for Barge Park. We were always told that there is no room. That’s when the old “No Dogs Allowed” sign came down. That was the Parks Dept’s quick fix for a shared space that isn’t working. (Just like the shared bike/pedestrian path on the Pulaski Bridge!)

    I pointed out, the tot lot is not available to adults unaccompanied by a child. That would leave Newtown Barge Playground to be considered. According to the Parks Dept. all of the playing fields must be regulation size. At one time, there were only two half court basketball courts. The Parks Dept. had to literally squeeze in a regulation size full court basketball in the playground. So, I believe their claim that the playground is too small to fit the dog run. So what did the Parks Dept do? Nothing! They never sought a solution. They just left the sign down until too many complaints about dog poop were filed. I gaurantee that the sign will come down and go up for as long as the community plays along with the city’s game.

    I suggest that everyone start registering 311 complaints about the lack of a dog run in N. Greenpoint. That would put pressure on the Parks Dept. to figure out the problem sooner than later. The Parks Dept need to come to the table with a solution. Especially since the city is NOT producing the parks space promised in it’s rezoning committments!!!! I would be glad to collect 311 complaint numbers in one place. I also invite folks to become members in Barge Park Pals. Many members were priced out of the neighborhood and we could really use the help fighting for our parks issues! Including the parkhouse with toilet that hasn’t been constructed yet! The Parks Dept HAS the money for it.
    Laura Hofmann
    Barge Park Pals

  7. eagle_teater on Tue, 1st Mar 2011 3:14 pm
  8. Hi, T here. My goal with this is not necessarily to get the Barge Park back to being open to dogs (more on that later) but to get some resolution on an actual dog run. I was given instruction by a CB1 board member that the city would provide funds and a parcel of land if I had an organized group of dog owners requesting it. I’m not so naive as to think that just creating a group is going to make this happen, but it is step one. There is a strip of crap mud and dirt about 6 to 7 feet wide and maybe 30 feet long directly outside the Boardwalk Empire fence. This could easily be fenced off and turned into a dog run. Alternatively, enough pressure in this direction might force the city’s hand in other directions. Regardless, I see the addition of another group advocating for something like this as only positive…the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I don’t see how there can be a downside as it’s not like they can take away a dog run that doesn’t exist.

    Now, about the closing of the “Playground” to dogs. Everything you have said is all well and good, but the reality is that the parks dept doesn’t enforce anything in there anyway. They didn’t enforce pooper scooper laws…they sure as hell don’t enforce littering and other human related laws and I’ve actually witnessed the same Parks dept person who I talked to chatting with a certain husky owner as the husky ran around unleashed in that park. So I’m not really too concerned with them enforcing this no dogs policy. In fact, not 20 minutes after my conversation with the parks guy, I came back around and there was a guy in there with his dog. Point being, there are supposed to means of punishing irresponsible dog owners – either use those means and actually enforce the rules so that everyone is treated fairly or leave us alone. Why should I, being responsible, be punished when the irresponsible people are going to flaunt the rules and take their dogs in there regardless?

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