Not long left for me now in Brooklyn but there is still time to do the New York thing.
Sit on the stoop. It’s cool to sit on the stoop when the weather is good. Some read the paper in the sun, drink coffee, play guitar or just chill out and watch the people on the sidewalk strolling around the neighbourhood or hurrying to work. There’s a buzz in the atmosphere and the wonderful warm April weather causes everyone to be friendly and chatty. White and pink blossoms are out on all the trees and the new leaves are shooting, I think this is possibly one of the best times of year to be here so aren’t I lucky?
People have Stoop Sales, where they put items out on the steps and either sit there all day trying to sell them or they put out an honesty box. Occasionally, items are just left
for people to help themselves, a charity begins at home situation. There are signs on some of the stoops…NO SITTING…NO SMOKING… NO ALCOHOL. In fact it’s illegal in America to drink alcohol in the streets or parks so no champagne picnic for us in Prospect Park!
It seems to me that in Brooklyn one in ten people own a dog. This means that walking down the street you meet every known variety of pooch. Little ones, medium size and great big things, hairy mutts, smooth coated, well behaved, bouncy, aggressive and passive. The varieties of breed, character, size and shape are endless.
We have a dog in this house and she needs her walkies like every other four-legged friend. So off we go in the mornings, poop bag (or three) in the pocket and walk 20 minutes to the park. You have to be in the park between seven and nine in the morning if you want to let your dog off the leash, notice the American leash… not lead, I’m getting very good at the local lingo. On the way to the park we meet other people walking or jogging with their little canine companions by their sides and then once we arrive, well, it’s doggy mayhem! There are hundreds of dogs, honestly! Well fifty at least at one time. There is one area in the park which is big, square and sandy, it looks like a doggy football pitch with no goals. Dog owners stand around here with coffee ‘to go’ in their fists chatting to other doggie owners about, dog behaviour, dog habits, dog excrement, dog foibles, etc., (May be I’m being harsh, perhaps they’re discussing politics and world news). Meanwhile, the dogs race around, sniff each other (as they do) charge at each other, bark, howl and go about their daily business and have the occasional scrap. I hurry quickly past this area, slalom around the joggers and head for a quieter corner if I can find one.
Our dog likes us to throw a ball for her, which she returns to our feet, when she feels like it and allows us to throw it again. Lots of the other owners throw balls for their dogs too and the most amazing thing is, that on the whole, the dogs stick to their own balls, if you get my meaning! There is no doggy thieving or attempt to score or take possession of a different ball, not so far as I’ve witnessed.
It is not unusual to hire a dog-walker. You can see them everywhere, walking the dogs (obviously). You just know they are dog-walkers and not owners because often they hold a big bunch of keys and sometimes the dogs are a little reluctant to walk. We saw a bull dog living up to his name, sitting stubbornly on the pavement and refusing to move at all. It’s a serious business dog walking, financially rewarding and there are plenty of punters here in Brooklyn who make use of the service. The duty walker comes in, takes your dog out for half an hour, and leaves them back home again. They write a little report for the owner with the time of the walk and any relevant information, for example: –
‘1.30pm. We had a lovely happy walk for half an hour. Five pees and a poop. She picked up a piece of bread on the road and ate it, (naughty thing!) but otherwise she walked well on the leash and was very well behaved. One treat given.’
Gotta go, it’s time to take the dog around a block or two. We have to stop at every tree and every earthy, interesting patch, so it takes a while.