All Dogs Go To Heaven

While some bemoan—and tacitly celebrate—the coarsening of city life, at least one part of Manhattan has gotten warmer and fuzzier in the last two years.

In this week’s New York Times ‘City’ section, Seth Kugel rubs the tummy of Tompkins Square Park’s dog run denizens, and discovers:

[T]he site of a social life and gossip scene so vibrant that dog owners compare it to everything from a church congregation to a high school lunchroom to an even friendlier version of the neighborhood bar.” (Good Times at the Growl ‘n’ Prowl, Sept. 18, 2005.)

Lovely! Who doesn’t love to see happy New Yorker frolicking in the park with their doggies? But it wasn’t always so. Let us paws to look back to some bygone dog days when Tompkins Square Park was meaner than a junkyard dog.

Caroline F. Campion, wrote in the Times in 2003 that the very same dog run was beset by:

[A]ll manner of ethnic, racial, economic and class-related conflicts [that] have played themselves out at the run. Gentrification, ownership of public space, animal rights, self-expression, politics — all these issues have reverberated in the dogs’ play space. ( Straining at the Leash, Sept. 16, 2003.)

Is your dog better off now that it was two years ago? Consider it one more gentrification battle won by the cute and cuddly puppies.