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.
The following tale is another doozy that simply baffles the human mind. Working in Parks and Recreation, over time, you develop a certain layer of professionalism that helps in dealing with the head scratching idiocy of fellow members of man-kind to deliver a kind, gentle, and very customer-service friendly response. Somehow, you become immune to the immediate laugh or eye-brow raising facial expression you would normally give someone. You develop a sense of staying in the moment, and giving an answer to get out of it.
The following True Tale is an example of that. This tale is a phone call I received from a person looking to bring their dog to one of our many dog runs.
Me: Good afternoon, this is Devin.
Caller: Hi, yes, I had a question about your park...
Me: Sure, how can I assist you?
Caller: I am new to New York, I just moved from Kansas, and I saw that you have specific rules about dogs in your park.
Me: Yes we do. All lawns in the park are dog-free lawns. Also, dogs are not permitted on the bike path. Dogs are allowed on the waterfront esplanade walk-path. However, we recommend one of our many dog-runs which provide an enclosed space for your dog to roam free in.
Caller: Oh, I think she would love that! She is a country-dog at heart, and she really hasn't settled into the city-life. She's spooked by how busy it is. hahaha.
Me: [Courtesy laugh and eye roll].
Caller: Now the question that concerns me is the apparel for dogs in the park. Is their a clothing rule?
Me: Ummm...for the dog? Or yourself? [Very confused at this point]
Caller: For my little girl.
Me: Your daughter?
Caller: No, Cindy, my little terrier.
Me: Oh...[Highly confused now]
Caller: I noticed here in the city a lot of the dogs roam the streets and the parks naked. Is that allowed. Or are these folks taking a chance?
Me: [mind racing...and hoping this is a prank call...hoping!] Well, no, there are no requirements other than leashes for dogs while in the park. You can take your dog off the leash once in the dog-run.
Caller: OK! Great! [super hyper and excited now] Cindy, usually accessorizes her little outfit with her leash. It's the cutest! [she laughs hysterically now].
Me: [Officially confused. Partly disturbed. More courtesy laugh]
Caller: So ok! Sooooo, Cindy can go naked to the dog-run if she'd like? Ah mean, most likely she'll wear a cut little shirt I purchased for her, but just in case the dog runs are dirty, I guess she can go naked for the day, right? No fines or anything like that?
Me: [VERY concerned for this lady. Now with a slow voice] Yup. She can go naked to the dog-run. [I can't believe I just said that.]
At this point my cubilce-mates turn and look at me in interest. I make a silent laughing and twirl my finger by my temple signifying the lunacy.
Caller: OK. Maybe I'll let her wear an old KU giddyup (yes, she said giddyup, one of the more memorable things from this story). [In her true country drawl now...] Her naked in the city! How about that? The guys will be going crazy. [She begins talking to Cindy the dog now, by first talking in an annoying doggy voice then stating...] We're going out in the city, girl! And you can be naked if you want!
Me: [Highly disturbed for this woman at this point] Alright ma'am, all the best in visiting the park, and have a great day.
Caller: [country drawl really letting loose] Well alright now. Thank you for being so kind and helping us as we adjust to nue-yawk-citay! Cindy and I can't wait. I'll be clothed, she'll be naked! [more ear screaching laughter] We can't wait to hit the town. Thanks again! Byyyyyyye!
And even after typing that, I still can't believe the call, or the fact that this lady believed in the "naked" dog. Unbelievable.