Friday, September 27, 2019

Reader mailbag: Is this a new dog run in Tompkins Square Park?

[Reader-submitted photo of the West Lawn]

From the EVG inbox...

I was playing with my toddler in the unlocked area in Tompkins Square Park — north of the chess tables and south of the St. Mark's Place entrance. I’ve noticed the New Amsterdam School playing there so I assumed it was a space where children are allowed. A couple of people came in and let their very large dogs off leash. One woman informed me that this area was now an official dog area, though there is no sign posted. She said that for over a year this is the only area (besides the official dog run) where you won’t get a ticket for letting your dog off-leash.

I was wondering if you knew if this area is an official dog area, or just an area that dog owners are claiming for themselves.

The reader asked to put this question out to readers. (One vote for B — dog owners are claiming it for themselves.)

This came up several times last year... when Park regulars complained about more and more people letting their (large) dogs run loose in sections of Tompkins Square Park — especially in that West Lawn the reader above described ...

One owner of a large dog said at the time last year that he didn't like to use the official dog run because it gets too crowded.

Park officials eventually padlocked the West Lawn... for awhile.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Makeshift dog run in Tompkins Square Park has been padlocked


Anonymous said...

I see dig owners with dogs off leash in that section daily. I also see the same thing happening now on the central lawn. I wish the parks dept would crack down on this. Washington square park has uniformed park rangers to control a standard of civility And guaranteed the new low fences in the renovated section on B and 7th is only going to further augment the situation! I am a dog owner but maybe I am old fashion, I respect established rules like dog runs and cleaning up after my dog. Maybe it is a millennial entitlement thing. Whatever the reason, it is very sad and disrespectful!

noble neolani said...

This is no way this is a "new dog run" its a green space with beautiful trees. Take a look at the "real" dog run and you will see a special surface has been laid down which can take the punishment of dogs running on it. Grass is alway dug up when dogs claws meet it.

I assume the park employees don't feel they are paid enough to confront these entitled dog owners daily. The parks department had to replant grass in this area a year or two ago because of the damage cause by these people. If you want to do something about this take photos, and send those along with an email to the parks department and demand action before that and other sections become fenced in dirt. These people give all dog owners a bad reputation.

Anonymous said...

yes, it is a millennial/20-nothing entitlement thing.

Anonymous said...

No, it is not a dog run! I spoke with park staff who were just exasperated by dog owners letting their dogs into the planted areas. They unlocked this gste, figuring these people with dogs would go in there and leave the other gardens alone.

There used to be grass here that people could enjoy, but look at it now - all dirt/mud. It's frustrating that certain dog owners just have to take an entire part of the park for themselves when there is already a dog run. Not blaming the dogs - it's the arrogant, entitled owners who feel they are above the rules and can just ruin our public park for their own selfish pleasure.

As long as there's no enforcement, it will just get worse.

Anonymous said...

This is an ongoing problem. And this certainly isn't a millennial thing. The person I see with his dog off leash is in his 60s. His pit bull breed has leaped up on me and other people. He gets angry if you say anything to him. In general there's a lawlessness in the Park. No one seems to give a shit.

Anonymous said...

I spoke with one park ranger, who confirmed what the mystery dog owner in the OP said, but with the caveat that it *only* applies to millennials and younger.

Anonymous said...

Call the Parks Enforcement department and report this. While I am a dog lover and a former dog owner, there is no excuse for this type of "entitled behavior." Dog runs in all parks are clearly defined and posted as such.

noble neolani said...

I sent in a complaint online to 311, explained this is a daily recurring problem and that this section was recently planted with grass which will need to be done again. If we don't act the park will lose all its lawns.

Anonymous said...

Unless your dog has issues where he can't play with other dogs, bring it to the fucking dog park. You don't get to make your own park, you're entitled and annoying. I have empathy for those whose dog needs to play alone, but other than that you're annoying.

Anonymous said...

This is one issue where, to achieve civility, we will have to risk confrontation. Yes there are Parks Department employees around but they can't be everywhere.

It's up to good dog owners, us non-dog owner dog lovers and general parks people to confront off leash dog owners. Yes, it could get ugly so try to not go in angry. Dogs are great but they will tear up the area. Dog owners/people can be among the most entitled jerks and, no, this isn't a demographic issue. Occasional packs of dog people have been entitled jerks in the park since long before this current crop of millennials were even born.

I get it. The big dogs want to run. But it's too crowded to carve out rules for your own special fido. Except, just maybe, the concrete skateboard, baseball and street hockey area. If your dog isn't going to get nuts and chew somebody's leg / ball / toddler and it's relatively empty keep an eye out and occasionally sneak in an early morning long distance fetch. But keep off the grass.

Neighbor said...

Would be lovely if we could get police enforcement in general... Maybe start with higher priority things like the open air heroin use just south of this area.

That said, it's clearly not another dog run. I'm a dog owner and man can some dog owners be entitled assholes (thankfully most in Tompkins are not, though)

cmarrtyy said...

This is a City wide problem - aggressive dog owners taking over park space.

Hey, Useless-Rivera, pass a law against the unlawful use of park space! Ticket the offenders. Also Rangers... keep the gates locked.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the dog owners that lets my dog run free in this area.
He is a large dog; and in the dog run, other dogs have issues with him, hence this is the only place where I can let him stretch and run.

While I understand that this may upset some people, I do not see a reason that this would not be allowed.
All the dog owners clean up after their dogs and are responsible. This zone is not used for anything else but homeless people sleeping and throwing their food, feeding rats.
If I had a child, I would not allow it to play there anyways.
Also there is a beautiful lawn in the park for children to play in, where no dogs are allowed, and there are a lot of childrens' playgrounds.

I think that since dog owners started letting their dogs in here, the area has become cleaner re: rats.

Anonymous said...

To 1:54 -- I also have a big dog and my dog doesn't get along with other dogs, so we don't go to the dog run. I hate seeing dogs off leash in other parts of the park -- I have to worry that the dog will leave wherever they are and run up to my dog, and a fight will start. I should have the right to sit on a bench with my dog at my feet and relax, but I always have to keep my eyes out for people who are breaking the rules with their dogs. This isn't just paranoia -- it has happened several times over the years. If the other dog isn't on a leash, it's almost impossible to break up a scuffle. It's really thoughtless and entitled to let your dog run around the park and not to think about how other people are feeling!

cmarrtyy said...


It's not up to you to determine how valuable park space is used. People come first.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand, but this area is fenced off, so no dog will be approaching you or your dog, and causing you stress.
Saying all this seems unfair and a little bit much. I have not offended anyone, or called them an asshole or entitled or what not. Some people really should get a life!

noble neolani said...

@1:54 PM
You comment is pretty typical when I have spoken to dog owners who refuse to follow park and safety rules. The city created designated dog runs as a courtesy to dog owners, the rest of the park dogs must be on leash and off grassy areas. Sunbathers do not want to lay in dog urine or step in dog poo that some dog owner forgot to pick up. Please keep the park a pleasant, green space for all to enjoy by following park rules. it works best that way.

Anonymous said...

Answer to the woman's question:
No. The new dog run is the Central Lawn area. Ever since they removed the "No Dogs" sign at the gate, and dogs, indeed, do run freely there. That is the new alt-dog run.

Anonymous said...

@1:54 PM

It doesn't work that way. Your dog is supposed to be on a leash except in the dog run. You don't like it, get a petition going and change the law. The reason is maybe your dog isn't going to bite a little kid, but how to we differentiate between you and the dog owner whose dog will bite a little kid.

I love dogs, don't have one, and am a parent. An off leash dog bit my little kid a few years ago. No broken skin so the dog wasn't turned in to animal control. The owner was an asshole but rethought and backed down and left the park in one piece.

Kids play sports and tag and run all over the park. It just takes one dog, obviously not yours, to get too excited. There's no way to tell which big dogs are in control and which aren't. You don't get a special off leash pass just because you think you're dog is good.

Anonymous said...


No, it's not up to me, obviously it's up to you. :)
The nice lady that looks after the park has given us permission, but I guess that doesn't matter as it's very annoying for you to see us use that space. you'd rather have needles and rotten food
People come firms? Sure, that's why this planet is doing so great.
Please excuse the sarcasm.

Tater said...

I get manic and sometimes hump other dogs when the dog run is crowded. Occasionally my momager lets me run around the park off leash. She got two tickets at Washington Square Park. Paid them in full ($50 each) and in a timely manner. Tompkins should definitely get some park police to give out tickets. It will have two successful results, less incidence of dogs running around off leash in grassy areas, more funds for the parks department to plant fresh grass!

Anonymous said...

Lol at all the people in a frenzy about a dog off leash when feet away we have rampant drug use. The amount of needles I’ve seen in the park recently is scary, this morning I saw several people drugged out nearly dead on the main lawn. I’m so worried one day a child will step on or pick up a used needle and god knows then what. I’d rather have a dog running around playing ball in an enclosed area than drug use. also to this whole “entitled millennial thing” grow up, I walk through the park to and from work everyday and I see more people in their 40’s - 60’s in this area playing with their dog. This park has bigger problems than this, let’s fix those first.

Anonymous said...

Please can we have that space for people who want to enjoy some grass without dog poop/needles/garbage/people camped out like on the main lawn? i love the park, love going there daily with my toddler, listening to music, watching dogs, playing, talking to people... But the lawn is barely safe for a child, the playground is packed and there seems to be no movement on the opening of the newly renovated playgrounds. We do not have enough clean, public green space in our neighborhood.

If your dog can't be in the dog run, that's unfortunate. Take him to the east river park while that's still an option. Take him early to the dog run before it gets crowded. The folks that work in the park are lovely but don't really seem to have authority to do much about people disobeying the rules, and they certainly are kept busy picking up all the trash that people leave behind.

Scuba Diva said...

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous said:

He is a large dog; and in the dog run, other dogs have issues with him, hence this is the only place where I can let him stretch and run.

If you got him neutered, the other dogs might have fewer issues. (I know, in a perfect world, no dog would have to be neutered, but when we're living cheek-by-jowl, it's preferable to neuter your dog unless you're using him as a stud. Sorry to jump to conclusions like that, but I've known several big dogs that got along well with other dogs.)

I don't think this lawn should be used as a dog run at all; I've had three dogs in the past, and saw how once, when First Run was being resurfaced, Parks gave us the temporary use of one of the alternate lawns to run our dogs. It very quickly became a mud pit.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the deemed dog area was clean and did not smell dog owners would not feel the need to go to another area.

Maybe a bigger issue is the main lawn where the number of homeless grow by the day, needles in the lawn and homeless people going to the restroom in the main lawn where people used to lay. At least the dog owners are picking up after their dog.

Additionally, there has been increased violence in the park. Maybe instead of focusing on dogs we should be focusing on violent crime and health safety.

Billsville said...

This is why they had to move the annual Halloween Dog Parade to east River Park. There are too many dogs and too many dog owners in the EV now, and it created a huge mess, not to mention some dangerous overcrowding. I heard they are trying to get Amazon to sponsor it this year, as if we don’t have enough Amazon in our lives already. Anyway, there are plenty of off leash dogs in East River Park, including a couple of pit bulls, so go enjoy it before they tear the park down and close it off for the next half decade.

Anonymous said...

Letting your dog ruin a planted lawn within a park that has a tremendously difficult time maintaining any sort of landscaping is wildly selfish.
There is a dog run in this park! Very early and very late in the day it’s almost empty. There’s an enclosed very lightly used basketball court on
10th and D. Check out these options and remove your entitled self from an area that’s not yours to exploit.
Are you looking for kudos for picking up your dogs poop? This is your legal obligation every time your dog poops in any public place.
Our park is the neglected stepchild of the Village when it very clearly should be treated as the jewel it has the potential to be. Don’t be a jerk!