West Side Rag’ Law Enforcement ‘Blitz’ Hits Local Park Where Dogs Roam A Little Too Free

Posted on January 28, 2022 at 3:03 p.m. by West Side Rag

Bull Moose Dog Race. Photograph by Michael McDowell.

By Mary Holmes

At a meeting of Community Board 7’s Parks and Environment Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 26, the board passed a resolution to address concerns about the Bull Moose Dog Run at Theodore Roosevelt Park, adjacent to the American Museum of natural history on 81st street.

Attending was NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner Bill Castro, who responded to community members‘ concerns and suggestions by promising to dispatch Parks Enforcement Patrol officers as early as next Monday.

“The solution is a summons book,” Castro said.

Members and speakers agreed that the main issues with the dog enclosure are noise pollution and the illicit use of a lawn in nearby Theodore Roosevelt Park as an off-leash area. Several speakers noted that these issues have been exacerbated by the increase in dog ownership during the pandemic.

The problem of unauthorized lawn use is compounded by the surface material of the dog run. When it was renovated and reopened last July, the floor was covered in rice gravel, which was described as “not hospitable to dogs” by active member of the canine community, Elaine Boxer. At an earlier meeting of the CB7 parks and environment committee, Boxer reported that the contractor in charge of the renovations was unable to source the pea gravel previously used in the enclosure to dogs, hence the introduction of the sharper rice gravel.

Theodore Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association (TRPNA) board member and president of the 35 W 81st Street Co-Op, Robyn Epstein, said her pup, Macho, suffered a corneal detachment after being punched in the eye by a piece of rice. gravel.

According to Steve Anderson, president of TRPNA, the association of 81st Street blocks between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, the gravel problem has resulted in “a second de facto dog recreation area.”

A de facto dog recreation area has sprung up nearby. Photography via TRPNA.

Linda Alexander, a local resident and CB7 board member, shared photos and a short video, which she says was taken recently, of dogs frolicking exuberantly on the lawn, located near the north corner -west of the park, while the owners lounge carefree on the nearby grass. . Such intrusion on the lawn, says Anderson, leads to damage to the grass and an increase in the already intolerable noise.

Members of the Friends of Roosevelt Park, which receives funds from the Natural History Museum and direct donations, spoke about the long-standing problem of excessive noise emanating from the dog enclosure at all hours. The genesis of the problem is structural, as the dog enclosure abuts the 20-foot garage wall of the museum’s planetarium, “catapulting” noise into the opposite apartment buildings on 81st Street, according to Peter Wright, who spoke on behalf of Friends of Roosevelt Park.

Wright gave a comprehensive overview of the solutions that have been proposed over the years to ameliorate the noise problem. Two possibilities quickly dismissed as ineffective are planting bushes against the wall and installing “acoustic” equipment. Acoustics firm Cerami also explored inserting 10-foot-tall transparent barriers along the length of the dog enclosure, which it said would absorb 50% of the noise, at a cost of around $300,000. This money had previously been allocated to the city budget by Gale Brewer, however, it remains to be confirmed that the money is still available for this project.

The immediate recommendation from the Friends of Roosevelt Park was a return to a policy that had been in effect many years ago: to close the dog enclosure overnight. The group proposed a 9 p.m. closing time for the dog park, after which it would be locked by a park employee. “We believe this proposal is the most practical,” Wright concluded. “That means there will be barking until a certain time,” he acknowledged, “but not at midnight.”

Commissioner Castro began his response by noting that the Parks Department had contacted the supplier to change the surfacing material for the dog enclosure, and they were told that fine gravel was still not available. He suggested trying to find “an alternative surface”. He expressed doubts about the effectiveness of transparent barriers, but was an enthusiastic supporter of increased enforcement.

“We had a problem at a park on the east side and we brought our law enforcement patrol to the parks,” Castro said. “It really changed things,” he said, promising to send officers to Theodore Roosevelt Park on Monday. “I’ll have them day and night and we’re going to blitz it,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, the committee passed a resolution that outlined issues affecting people living near the park, recommending that the dog park establish official hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., as well as increased attendance. of the Parks Enforcement Patrol to issue summonses for rule violations, such as allowing dogs to run off-leash on the lawn.

TRPNA is forming a working group and is particularly interested in hearing from those who use the dog park. Email [email protected] for more information.

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