For ten years a band of locals hijacked a Tribeca public dog park and charged for access.
In 2008 the NYC Parks Department partnered with a local dog owners group to help manage the Warren Street Dog Park. Dog Owners of Tribeca (DOOT), decided to turn the public park into a private one and charge fees for its use. They also established a Fight Club-style list of rules to keep their utopia private.
Via the NY Post:
In the absence of public funds and services, our group will help make sure that this park does not become a stain on the neighborhood," the group proclaimed in their incorporation papers filed with the state attorney general.
Members said it also allowed them to restore canine order in the neighborhood. "At public dog runs, people let their dogs run wild and act aggressively," said member Lenore Sherman, 61, who has a golden retriever named Huck. "Here, owners are held accountable for the behavior of their dog."
One member had no idea the park was public.
"That's crazy," said John Ellett, 33, a professional dog-walker. "They even require the dogs to wear special tags, so I thought it was totally private."
When the dog run first opened, the Parks Department tasked the DOOT to help run the park.
"Dog runs are maintained through barknerships between NYC Parks and community groups," said Sam Biederman, a Parks spokesman. "NYC Parks dog runs are meant to be open to the public — charging for entrance is prohibited."
Parks officials snipped the lock Friday, after receiving a complaint. DOOT members were left seething.
"We were quite happy not having Parks involved all these years," said DOOT board member and leader Shirley Jaffe in an email. Another member said, "No one wants this and we plan to push back."