Residents Want Dogs Permanently Banned from Financial District Park

By Irene Plagianos on March 28, 2013 1:57pm 

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Downtowners have a message for dog owners walking their pets through DeLury Square Park: It’s time to cut the crap.

Fed up with dogs allegedly using the manicured greenery as their toilet, locals want pooches completely banned from the small park that sits at Fulton and Gold streets.

“It’s the pee and the poop that’s the issue,” said Community Board 1 member Paul Hovitz at a meeting Wednesday evening. "It’s killing the plants.”

The board passed a resolution supporting an effort to make the park — which features several benches, a waterfall cascading down large boulders in the warmer months, a curving path, trees and bushes — into a "No Dogs Allowed" zone.

Frustrated residents say keeping dogs from “doing their business” has been an issue since the 8,800-square-foot park, funded by $2.6 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., opened in 2010.

A group called Friends of DeLury Park was created last year to start a volunteer clean-up crew, in cooperation with the Parks Department.

To help quash the problem, fences were put up along some of the open green space, and numerous signs were hung throughout the park warning owners to keep Fido off the lawns.

But locals say their efforts haven’t curbed the mess.

“We ask the owner to clean up after their dogs, and they are so nasty with us,” said Rhoda Lefkowitz, 77, a resident of neighboring Southbridge Towers, on a visit to the park Thursday. “They give us the MYOB attitude — mind your own business. These people don’t even live here, they just come here to dump on us.”

Longtime local resident Daniel Rechelbacher said Thursday he walks his 5-year-old dog Guillermo through the park, but that he’d happily stay out to support the ban.

“The truth is, I’ve watched them clearing out lots of dog crap from that park,” said Rechelbacher, 44. “I think a lot of owners don’t take responsibility for their dogs, they’re just busy on their cellphones and don’t care.”

However, some believe the proposed ban is unnecessary.

“The dogs can’t even play on the lawns, you’re just letting them walk through the park,” added Rob Schoen, a dog owner who regularly walks his border terrier Ponty in the neighborhood.

“It’s not that big a deal, but I don’t think you should stop people and their pets from going into a open, public space."

Other residents said that's a load of bull.

"This place was created to give residents a little green space, a place of calm," said a local who asked that her name not be used. "It's a public park, not a public bathroom."
 

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