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Friday, August 28, 2009
Public Access, Dogs, Bicycles, and Security
Here’s a recent e-mail I received from a reader of this blog who has given me permission to publish it online:
I’d like to inform you of a visit I made to the Management Office. Armed with a few questions and the patience of Job, I tried to find someone in the office who I could speak to about four issues that appear to bothering longtime Stuy Town residents such as myself:
1) How can this be a private community, with signs stating that trespassers could face prosecution, when it seems that security doesn’t stop non-residents from walking through and using the property, such as the Oval?
2) What are the rules concerning dogs relieving themselves in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper? Where are they allowed to do “the numbers”?
3) What’s the status of the “no bicycle-riding” rule?
4) And why is there so little security presence in the Oval?
After speaking to a couple of people behind the desk, one of whom was clearly annoyed with my questions, I spoke to a security guard who tried to be helpful, but who didn’t have tangible explanations. Could I speak to someone else, please? Finally I had a sit-down with the head of security (who had artfully turned his badge around so I couldn’t read his name). It was a pleasant give and take, however, and I appreciate the time he took to answer my questions. Here are the responses:
1) This is “private property with public access.” Unless someone is being a nuisance, security is not going to throw them out.
2) Dogs are able to do “the numbers” anyplace, except in the areas they are not allowed on, such as the grass. This means that, yes, a dog is allowed to defecate on a walkway, as long as the owner picks up the droppings. The “curb your dog” policy has been replaced by the “pick up after your dog” policy. (The security head appeared not to know that retractable leashes that extend beyond six feet are illegal, however.)
3) Bicycle riding is still prohibited in Stuy Town and Peter Cooper. Security on occasion will hand out notices informing riders of this and each tenant has the bicycle rule on their lease when they move in. (I got the sense, though, that this rule is one that security is not too concerned about enforcing, which we all know is true.)
4) Security is always around the Oval someplace. If not in the security booth, then walking the around the Oval or investigating one of the adjacent buildings. (I assured the head of security that this has not been the case through personal observation and the observation of my neighbors I’ve spoken to.)
I did notice an increase in security presence the week following my conversation at the Management Office. Though I’m not saying that this was a direct response to the concerns I had voiced, I do think we should make sure to contact the appropriate people at Management (in person is the best and most effective way) if we want things to get done or taken seriously. I’m sure there’s a point beyond which matters will not change, but without more personal involvement from tenants, matters will certainly not change.