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Tales From Parks and Recreation - Can't Please Everyone


Note: I work for a park slowly in continuing development in Manhattan that is five miles along the waterfront of the Hudson River. As a Public Programs Coordinator, yours truly handles anything public related in regards to permitting (athletic facilities, film shoots, photo shoots, weddings, and other small gatherings), and of course, dealing with any questions or inquiries from the public. The following series will present stories, e-mails, phone calls, conversations, interactions, and sights I've seen from the people of New York City in regards to a public park. And yes, these are all real! And are all true!

Welcome to another little snippet of Parks and Recreation.

For some reason, people tend to really care about the resources of their parks more so than their own private uses. It's as if public parks and government entities should be overly concerned with the usage and protection of natural resources. If such parks or government entities follow the same patterns - you know, that we all do -  when handling water, trees, plants, or the air quality, it is a sudden cause for red flags, protests, and notices to the mayors office. It's a huge double-standard. We know. It's part of working for the public. 

The following tale is an example of the different views from the public on minor things such as public resources and how they should be dispersed. Some will believe we are wasting them, while in the same sense, others will believe we are under utilizing them. 

Either way, it is just another example of the craziness that is dealing with the public, and the hard place public complaints places us in. 

Here are two e-mails sent to us on the same day, a typical hot July summer day in the 90's. With a responsible approach to wasting water, the park elected to invest in providing water to park patrons and several dog runs throughout the park. Here is the public's response: 

E-mail #1 

"Hours have passed, and still nothing has been done to water the new plantings on the --- River near --- Street. Every day more plants and trees die. This is heartbreaking! Can you please tell me if anything is being done to save the remaining trees and plants?"

E-mail #2

"To whom this may concern:
I am visiting NY with my children.
Yesterday we took a boat scenic tour out of the ---.
We arrived early and wandered through the park.
Nearby we stop to see the dogs at the dog run adjacent a magnificent eatable garden.
The people that take their dogs put a couple of children plastic pools and using [sic] the hose from the eatable garden let it run until the pool fills and contemplate their dogs while the precious liquid spill over and goes down the drain.
This is outrageous when half of the country is experiencing the toughest draught in history.
And, the world is fighting for the precious liquid.
PLEASE PUT A STOP TO THIS PRACTICE IT IS OFFENSIVE AND A SHOULD BE A CRIME."

Yes, folks. You help the plants, you lose. You help the dogs, you lose. Patrons are never happy in the business of Parks and Recreation. There is always something to complain about. You simply can't please everyone. 

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