Tag Archives: New York

Dog parks: The strange rituals—and stranger people—you find at the dog run.

Writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis is traveling the country meeting dog-obsessed Americans for a book about dogs in America. He kicked things off by spending a full day with his dog at Tompkins Square Park in New York’s East Village, the oldest in the city.

Dog parks are a relatively modern invention, a “kind of victory over the anonymity and transience of life,” as writer Mary Battiata put it. They’re a place of long-lasting friendships, longer-lasting feuds, and dog-park know-it-alls who disapprove of the job you’re doing with your pet. At a dog park in Boston, where I live, the park’s queen bee once asked me what I was feeding Casey.

She didn’t like my answer. “Well, you can certainly feed him that if you want to _kill_him,” she barked.

I’d come to New York City to experience the rituals and rhythms of the city’s oldest dog run. The New York Times has described Tompkins Square (also called First Run) as a lively and contentious place, one brimming with dog-park politics and the kind of class-related tension that led one woman to declare that some dogs deserved to get “roughed up because they wore sweaters.”

One dog park regular says it’s a great place to meet people, and a few of the regulars have even gotten married. Another regular, a woman, replied, “I try not to date where my dog shits.”

Dog parts engender community. Immediately after 9/11, regulars flocked to the dog park to be with people close to them.

Dog parks: The strange rituals—and stranger people—you find at the dog run..


“The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction”


The brother of a woman killed at the World Trade Center visits the 9/11 museum.

For the rest of America, 9/11 is a vast symbol. But for Steve Kandell and his family, it was a personal tragedy.

Kandell’s sister wasn’t a hero. She was just somebody who got murdered because she went to the office early.

I think now of every war memorial I ever yawned through on a class trip, how someone else’s past horror was my vacant diversion and maybe I learned something but I didn’t feel anything. Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life and be forced to attend it with a bunch of tourists from Denmark. Annotated divorce papers blown up and mounted, interactive exhibits detailing how your mom’s last round of chemo didn’t take, souvenir T-shirts emblazoned with your best friend’s last words before the car crash. And you should have to see for yourself how little your pain matters to a family of five who need to get some food before the kids melt down. Or maybe worse, watch it be co-opted by people who want, for whatever reason, to feel that connection so acutely.

There are two recording booths for people to tell their own stories of the day, or remembrances of loved ones who were lost. A man exits one of the confessionals, sees me, shakes his head, and says, “Amazing idea.” I enter, sit down, and stare at the screen ahead and say Shari’s name and how I was 3,000 miles away that morning and didn’t even know she was working there until I got the call at 6 in the morning and that I wish I had seen her more in those last years and remembered more about her and had something better prepared to say and that I wished my kids would have known her and that she’d think it’s pretty fucking weird that I’m talking about her to an invisible camera in the bowels of a museum dedicated to the fact that she was killed by an airplane while sitting at her desk and at some point the timer is up.

I never knew anybody who was killed 9/11. I visited the World Trade Center several times on business. And yet the memory of 9/11 is raw and personal to me. I haven’t watched any documentaries of the day. I never visited Ground Zero. I don’t expect I’ll have a problem going to the new building there if I ever have a reason to. But I don’t expect to ever visit the museum. Not ever.

David Milch is working on an HBO series about 19th Century New York’s Boss Tweed

Milch created Deadwood and collaborated on NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues.

This sounds like Milch’s kind of story. Tweed came up from the streets, he was staggeringly corrupt, and he built much of New York as we know it today, including Central Park and the grid structure of streets. His political machine was founded on the principle of taking care of the people of the city. Tweed was a profoundly obese man with huge appetites who died in jail, relatively young.

David Milch Talks New Show.