From The New York Shitty Inbox: Gone To The Dogs?

May 5, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 


A person we’ll “H” writes:

Over the past 6 months or so it has come to my attention that people have been using the public space as an off-leash dog park.  While in the past people have occasionally left their dogs off leash there it has been respectful and generally confined to the back gated portion (where you would see the dogs from afar and avoid them or the owner would have time to leash the dog)… I have had two interactions here with a man who has two dogs that he refuses to leash.  On both occasions the dogs charged my dog and it took some time for him to be able to restrain them.  People don’t seem to understand that when a dog like mine has fear based aggression towards other dogs it can result in a dog that is normally sociable reacting in defense in an aggressive manner.  In this case the other dogs were not even well socialized either which is tenuous.  Today another person had two dogs off leash which I fortunately saw from afar and retreated away from the park.  When I saw them leaving I asked them to please leash their dogs or use the back enclosed portion of the park so I could also be there to which I was told it’s my problem if my dog is not friendly.  On all three occasions the people have had their dogs off leash just at the bottom of the long walkway to the park, on another occasion the dogs were walking freely down the long alley alone unleashed.  Not only is one dog off leash difficult for me to maneuver but now different individuals both with two dogs seem to have made this their dog park.  I have told both that the dogs should be leashed and if not then they should use the back gated area so that other people like myself can enjoy the park without needing to interact with their dogs.  After the second incident I was scared to go back there.  Now that the flowers are in bloom I don’t want to cower away from the park that I have loved over many years because of others lack of respect… If you or anyone has any advice about this situation please let me know.

Before I proceed I would like to take a moment to make a few things abundantly clear:

  1. I am a cat person.
  2. As such I am not terribly keen on anyone/anything— four-legged or otherwise— running amok. Anywhere. However, I am fully aware this is my “quirk” and as such avoid situations/places where such activity is likely. “Live and let live”, I say. Do not bother me, and I will not bother you!
  3. I am probably about as neutral a party as can be hoped for regarding this matter.
  4. This is why I harbor a certain level of disgust with the “battle” over park space between families and dog owners (E.g.: Transmitter Park).  I am certain the problem does exist, but not to the extent the “media” has presented it. What seems to be missed is the fact that this “problem” would not exist had certain entities/municipal authorities actually planned for the consequences of an increased population (as a result of higher density housing). With more people— especially those in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s— come more parks/open space use. Whether or not the “kids” in question are of the furry or non-furry variety is irrelevant. Issues will arise and in the case of north Brooklyn these issues could have, should have been anticipated and to some extent could have been prevented. (READ: building a dog run in north ‘Point).

Now that this has been established, here’s the deal:


The Newtown Creek Nature Walk is NOT a New York City Park per se. It has its own rules and regulations and these  state pretty clearly that with limited exceptions no dogs are allowed. Clearly this is not being followed. Personally, I do not mind folks taking their dogs to the Nature Walk provided they are on leash and considerate  The latter entails cleaning up after their pets and making them refrain from “watering” the plant life there. This was once known as “common courtesy”. But, I’m not the one making the rules and I digress.

What I do find troubling is the other item I have highlighted above: the prohibition of citizens eating the critters that can be caught in these “waters”. Yesterday when I swung by (so as to take photos for this post) I struck up a conversation with a Time Warner employee eating his lunch. He told me he has seen and admonished fellows who were patronizing this facility to catch the evening’s supper. Is this terrifying? Yes, yes it is.

So now we have established rules are in place and they are not being followed/enforced. This segues quite nicely to what a member of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee (and lifelong Greenpoint resident and overall environmental badass), Laura Hofmann, had to say about “H’s” inquiry:

What’s really problematic is that there’s no security. We’ve been working toward that. Christine (Holowacz — Ed. Note) has been developing a “Friends of the Nature Walk” group so that fund raising can happen to pay for maintenance, security, and so on. There’s a gardener doing maintenance. He’s there during the week. I’ll let him know too. Aside from the dangers, we can’t afford the NW being damaged by dogs. Not often, but once in a while I’ll encounter a dog owner there with the dog unleashed. I always talk to them. And as you can imagine, I let them know who I am, and am adamant about the dog being leashed. But not everyone will do that.

We definitely need a dog run in N. Greenpoint. I emailed Doggone a long time ago. I never received a reply. Are they still active?

Precluding an emergency (in which case 911 should be called) any/all who have concerns, want to report a problem at the Nature Walk; or join the “Friends Of” group should contact Ms. Holowacz via email at: (at) verizon (dot) net. Otherwise and in closing: please, please keep an eye (and/or a leash) on your young ‘uns when enjoying this facility folks. I mean, do you really wanting them getting their hands/jaws on this?


I didn’t think so…

New York Shitty Day Starter: Live From The Polish National Home…

The Public Meeting Regarding The Newtown Creek Superfund Site

To preface: My footage/documentation of this hearing is truncated because;

  1. I left the battery for my digital camera at home. (Hey, occasionally shit happens at Chez Shitty!)
  2. This meeting, which was scheduled to last two hours, ended up being more or less redundant. E.g.; More or less the same complaints/concerns were raised followed by more or less the same answers. (Thus, I feel a lot less guilty for forgetting my battery.)

Nonetheless, I got the presentation in its entirety along with a few questions from the audience (which, it should be noted, became much more substantial after the conflicting meeting regarding the Nassau Avenue Reconstruction meeting was dismissed). Without further ado, here we go!

Parts I – VI: Introduction & Presentation

Part VII: The Q & A Session Kicks Off

Part VIII: Laura Hofmann Speaks

Part IX: A Bone Fide Old School Greenpointer (and all-around Garden Spot/environmental badass) Irene Klementowicz Tenders Her Two Cents

Part X: A Resident Of Oak Street Speaks

It was at this point I— and my electronics— gave up. However, I did take notes. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. It was asked by one citizen if they (being the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Protection) have considered posting notices at local fishing supply shops. They stated they were not aware of any. To wit, he replied:

There’s one two blocks from here.

This was met with surprise by the panel of experts present.

2. It was asked if there are any grants available (via the Department of Health) which would enable community groups to conduct a more comprehensive/focused study. The answer was (essentially) “not that we know of”.

3. It was pointed out by a member of the audience— at the Polish National Home (AKA: The Warsaw)— that little to no outreach has been made by either the Department of Health or the Department of Environmental Protection to the Polish community in Greenpoint, viz a viz, through its local Polish language newspapers. It was agreed by the officials present that this was a sterling idea and solicited information as to whom they could contact. Yours truly helped with this endeavor by giving them the contact information for a reporter at this newspaper.

4. Kate Zidar, Executive Director of the Newtown Creek Alliance, reiterated that these meetings are “repetitive” and advised the civil servants hosting said forum to “take notes” in the hope that— moving forward— these convocations (and health studies regarding the manifold number of toxins manifest in Greenpoint) can move forward. Ms. Zidar was advised notes were, in fact, being taken— and this was pretty awesome given the following:

We do not want a “perfect” health study. We want a health study.

Then she followed this statement up with the following bits of data:

  • In January of 2007 the Newtown Creek Alliance sent a letter to the Department of Health requesting a comprehensive health study of the Greenpoint Oil Spill.
  • After a meeting with the Department of Health in March 2008, the Newtown Creek Alliance (which will henceforth be called the “NCA” — Ed. Note) requested (among many other things) that a skilled Community Liaison be enlisted by the Department of Health. This has not happened.
  • After a meeting with the Department of Health in October of 2008 Ms. Zidar notes the map (and I quote) “does not include features agreed upon at previous meetings”. Which, as I intuit, would include a 1/2 mile radius versus a 1/4 mile radius (from which the Department of Health is operating currently) because…
    • a great deal of residential property is excluded by the current demarcations. Thus this current study is more an occupational/workplace study than one of long-term, consistent exposure.
    • Such a study should include/take into consideration other “hot spots” such as the “Greenpoint oil spill” and “Meeker Avenue Plume”. To date, it does not.

 5. The previous was not overlooked by our local politicians*:

  • Among them our City Councilman, Steve Levin (as seen above texting), noted:
    • He resides not only atop the “Oil Spill” but the “Plume” as well.
    • A half-mile radius study should be employed.
    • To merely focus on the creek is to focus on one part of a manifold number of environmental (and therefore: health-related) problems in Greenpoint.
  • Lincoln Restler (whose back can be seen at right) added his two cents. They were basically as follows: This is an ongoing problem. At what point will we get an honest, expanded study (and due process) so future generations of Greenpointers do not experience and/or are afflicted with what our predecessors— such as Ms. Hofmann and Ms. Klementowicz— have witnessed?

If the intransigence and “timetable” I witnessed last night— coupled with Ms. Klementowicz’s piquant observation:

By 2023, we (This being the people doing the complaining at last night’s meeting— Ed. Note.) will be dead.

this will be continued…

*It should be noted a representative of Joe Lentol’s office was present as well. I do not recall her name, but the DOH/DEP panel made note of her arrival.

  • NYS Flickr Pool

    Rainy Start to DecemberLeaning Christmas Tree
  • Ads