June 2, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Dog day after strewn! Garbage, charcoal in Prospect Park makes pet lovers livid

The Brooklyn Paper
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Dog lovers were barking mad on Tuesday morning as they arrived in Prospect Park to find their beloved meadow peppered with chicken legs and charcoal — though park officials say the post-Memorial-Day litter could have been much worse.

The swaths of rubbish on the green meadows were nowhere to be found — park employees had managed to gather much of the trash and pile it up for collection, but a small group of activists from FIDO, a dog-advocacy group, still managed to fill up at least six bags of trash at the peninsula near the northwestern portion of Prospect Park lake.

“There is no enforcement [of park regulation­s],” said Angelo Izzi, who was in the park with his Newfound-retriever pooch. “All this charcoal — it’s killing the trees.”

But Prospect Park Alliance president Tupper Thomas sought to put the weekend’s revelry in perspective, and said that she had been in the area on Memorial Day doling out trashbags and spreading the word about proper charcoal disposal.

“We’ve had much worse over the years,” said Thomas, who will be retiring at the end of the year. “In the early years, we had random barbecuing with no enforcement and no designated areas. This was a great [improveme­nt].”

Thomas also touted the Alliance’s public awareness campaign about proper charcoal disposal.

But she did concede that the park did not have many enforcement agents at its disposal on Memorial Day.

“On Memorial Day enforcement is tough — beaches are open — so the amount of actual tickets being given is really small,” Thomas said.

And it was the consequences of the lack of enforcement — though at least six park workers were doing outreach on Monday — that had the president of the dog group FIDO practically panting in anger.

Tony Chiappelloni was especially upset because the peninsula — which is a dog run — is ostensibly off-limits for grilling, though the chicken bones and charcoal-piles proved that many park-goers had ignored the small signs posted on the edge of the field.

“Chicken bones splinter [in a dog’s stomach],” said Chiappelloni while picking up garbage. “Charcoal in the lake — that’s petroleum — it’s toxic!

“And more trash means more rats, and they carry diseases,” he added.

As another dog-lover, Frances Brodeur, collected garbage, she lamented that some people just seem to have no respect for Brooklyn’s most-cherished natural area.

“If the trash is in a bag, why not drag it out?” she asked. “You don’t have to leave it next to a trash can so that animals can tear it open overnight.”

But as frustrated as Brodeur and her fellow dog-walkers were, Thomas expressed satisfaction in the aftermath the barbecue bonanza.

“Years ago I never would have come into the park after Memorial Day — I had a black lab that would eat anything!” Thomas said. “My understanding is it looks pretty good now.”

Anticipating the occasional call for an all-out barbecue-ban, Prospect Park’s chief added that grilling is a ritual that all park-goers enjoy, no matter what their neighborhood.

“Barbecuing is a part of everyone’s culture,” she said. “The summertime comes and you see people from every country in the world out there doing different types of barbecues — it’s a family activity and its part of why everyone loves the park.”

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Orrin from Kensington says:
Thank you FIDO for devoting time to make Prospect Park a better place. The tens of thousands of dollars you've donated to the park and the volunteer time you put in show that responsible dog owners are a great asset. Long live FIDO and the 9-9 Off-leash Hours.
June 4, 2010, 12:14 pm
Winston Smith from Poop Slope says:
This story is a joke (as is comment #1). The only real statement is “There is no enforcement [of park regulations],” ...

Why wasn't the trash picked up continually all weekend? Why wait till the Tuesday after Memorial Day to pile up the trash for collection?

Tupper has an excuse for everything: “On Memorial Day enforcement is tough — beaches are open — so the amount of actual tickets being given is really small,” Thomas said. If there was SOME enforcement on other weekends, maybe it would not be so bad on holiday weekends. The Alliance thinks that handing out little park user cards will change behavior. All it does is cause more litter.

Look at the Park ANY Sunday afternoon. The pails are all overfull (even the new dumpsters). Bikes a being ridden on sidewalks and the wrong way on the road. Beer and wine is being consumed in the open. Personal cars are coming and going like it is ok. Dogs are let wild all over the place. Are vendors allowed to sell ices and balloons out of push cards on the Long Meadow?

It is no wonder businesses like MIH Ventures go in and do whatever they want in the Prospect Park.

BTW Brooklyn Paper, they MIH ever make good on their offer to clean the park?
June 6, 2010, 6:10 am
Christina W from Middle Village says:
FIDO is right when they bring to the public eye the disgusting conditions following the rampant BBQing in the park.

As much as I dislike dogs and dog owners, I have to admit that FIDO has worked hard to educate dog owners and to get them to comply with off leash rules. They are not the ones ruining the park.
June 6, 2010, 5:18 pm
Winston Smith from Poop Slope says:
Yes, Christina,

FIDO is a good organization.

If only all dog owners would join them and follow their guidelines


if only FIDO would stop acting like all dog owners did.
June 7, 2010, 5:23 am
Jen Jie from South Slope says:
Thanks, FIDO! We need more community groups like you.
June 8, 2010, 12:31 pm
Carl from Windsor Terrace says:
Tupper Thomas has never been a friend to FIDO. We are glad that the leadership has finally taken a stand against the abuse of the park by the Prospect Park Alliance.
The filth that is left behind from Friday night, through Saturday into Sunday, by the Alliance's inability to run a safe and healthy park is unforgivable each weekend.
Tupper Thomas is no volunteer, she should be out there cleaning up her mess.
June 9, 2010, 9:58 am
Pat K from Park Slope says:
it seems there park will be heavilly used this Summer again. Being nice works only once and it seems to go unheeded. What is NOW neeed are some of the type of regulations ( which will annoy people no doubt) that are used in central park and keep that place managable even in heavy summer use. of course central park is bigger and has more Private & to use. It is now to the point where you CAN't come in propsect park and just do your own thing like your the only one there ex. barbeue's under trees, booze, and yes cars eneteing the park without Permits- by the way - this seems to be new! This park is shared by locals and vistors alike, There has to be enforecment otherwise we have Chaos and a peek at the bad old days.
June 9, 2010, 11:01 am
John from Park Slope says:
We want the Alliance to stop making excuses for its failures. There is no plan in place, no enforcement of any common sense rules.
It is a disgrace that we have to listen to more of Tupper Thomas' half-baked opinions.
She does not have a clue and the park is falling apart rapidly.
Open your eyes and ears Brooklyn, another day of neglect awaits you from her.
June 9, 2010, 11:24 am
richie rich from parkslope says:
We need to outlaw bbq in the park.
June 16, 2010, 3:56 pm
jewels from winsor terrece says:
It doesnt matter how long the trash was there, if we enjoyed the park that day ,or night, we should be responsible adults and clean up after ourselves its only fair to us and those around us and our pets... seriously we're better than this.... show pride in your community, and how much you enjoy being there at this park ...
June 23, 2010, 2 pm

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