Tag Archives: Parks

No, No, a Thousand Times No

Common wisdom says that we’re living in an “anything goes” era, when the norms of society have been run through a wood-chipper. This may be true, but it hasn’t stopped people from attempting to regulate — and especially to prohibit — various forms of behavior. Witness this sign:









Okay, I understand the passion that prompted this sign. Who wants to dig into plumbing and remove food, not to mention cat litter? What intrigues me is the capitalization. Why throw a capital letter at a “Q-Tip” and withhold one from “baby wipes”? Maybe it’s a brand-name issue, but I doubt there’s a copyrighted product called “Food” or “Sanitary Towels.” Before I move on to the next sign, I should mention that I’m not completely sure what  “baby wipes even they are flushable (they really are not)” means. I’m leaning toward “don’t believe the blurb on the package,” a statement that I apply to everything I buy.

And then there’s this sign in a public plaza:









I understand most of these prohibitions, even though I don’t necessarily agree with the choices. “Bike crossing” makes me imagine a Schwinn spending some private time with a Citibike, and before you know it, a bike crossing occurs.  Just kidding. In real life, my best guess is that “crossing” refers to cutting diagonally from one street to another that’s perpendicular. But is it really necessary to state that a bike shouldn’t be ridden through a twisted, narrow path in a plaza full of people, many of whom are little kids? This is New York, so the answer is probably yes, but because this is New York, the sign  won’t make one bit of difference. While reading and puzzling over the sign, the cyclist will probably run into someone anyway.

Moving (but not cycling) on:









How did “music” arrive on this list? And is “site safety prohibited”? And is music that dangerous? Having lived through the Sixties, I agree that revolutions have soundtracks. Still, it’s disturbing to see music listed with smoking, drugs, and weapons. I do love the last line, especially “shall be strictly enforced.” “Shall,” which once upon a time was the emphatic form in the third person (as you see it here), has largely given way to “will” in American English. Adhering to this venerable usage makes me want to observe every rule this site-manager insists on.  I just have to say yes, yes, a thousand times yes, to anyone who writes “shall be.”


Thanks for nothing

Recently I took advantage of New York City’s IDNYC program, which gave me an official photo ID and a raft of free membership offers to some of the city’s best museums. In redeeming one of those membership offers at an institution I won’t embarrass by naming, I received an email thanking me for my “contribution of $0.00” and telling me that donations such as mine “support the work of the museum.” If that’s true, the museum is probably nearing bankruptcy. Continue reading

Live from NY, it’s Mother Nature!

New Yorkers tend to see nature as something you beat into submission by (a) covering it with concrete or (b) manicuring it so that any semblance to actual greenery and wildlife is accidental. My favorite moment during a recent blizzard took place outside Eli’s, a fashionable (and expensive) food store on the Upper East Side. A store employee was loading plastic-wrapped logs into a taxi, presumably so their new owner  — who was wearing high heels! in the snow! — could keep warm. Roughing it, New York style.

But I digress. This post is about signs in Central Park, Manhattan’s closest brush with nature. The first appeared near a large open space dotted with some tufts of . . . well, some tufts. (I’m a New Yorker. Don’t ask me to identify plants.)

Renovation: Not just for houses anymore.

Renovation: Not just for houses anymore.









I can envision “reseeding,” “rehabilitation,” or even “new sod.” But “renovation”? Nor was I aware that a lawn could be “closed.” The day I snapped this photo, the sparrow population of the area hadn’t gotten the message.

Logically, anything that’s closed can open. Hence this sign:

How do you open a lawn?

Unzip  each blade of grass . . .









Even the animal kingdom is subject to New Yorkers’ orders:

Noisy turtles, beware.

Noisy turtles, beware.


Good to know that, as in Amtrak’s quiet cars, no one around this pond will be distracted by turtles talking on cell phones or playing loud music. Now if we could just get the snapping turtles to tone it down a little . . .