PARK SLOPE: Danger! Sextegenarian's Face Meets Feisty Dog Walked by Multi-Tasking Stroller Mom
DESPITE HAVING nearly 20 subway lines running through Brooklyn, taking the train between Point A and Point B in New York's most-populous borough isn't necessarily the quickest and certainly not the most direct option. Brooklyn's subway lines -- except the indigent and deficient-G -- feed into Manhattan, get intertwined in Downtown Brooklyn with few connections. So walking can be the best inter-neighborhood transit option as is riding the bus, which gives you a nice above-ground tour of the local environs.
Saturday afternoon, while riding the B71 bus along Union Street from Smith Street in Carroll Gardens to Grand Army Plaza at Prospect Park, I saw my first certifiable Park Slope "stroller incident." And was it ever a glorious sight to see! For those who don't know, Park Slope is home to well-off thirtysomething professionals, many with young children. Sharing the sidewalk can be a contentious neighborhood issue with stroller-pushing parents facing off against essentially everyone else for precious personal space on the public sidewalk and the right of way when crossing the street.
At the corner Union Street and 6th Avenue, in the heart of the Slope, a power-walking thirtysomething mother was multitasking, pushing a stroller with child aboard and walking a giant, commanding bulldog-like canine. As she was headed north on 6th Avenue, another thirtysomething was walking her petite, scrappier-looking dog. Just as the two dogs began to take interest in each other in the warm sunshine -- it's spring ... dogs get feisty -- an older couple pushing 60, strolled right into the nexus of danger!
The bulldog got excited; the scrappier dog did too. There was some barking. The bulldog leaped into the air and did some sort of acrobatic half twist, and in the process, hit the poor sextegenarian woman right in the face!
So, this begs the question: What's the bigger threat to the sacred quality of life of Brownstone Brooklyn? Those skateboarding punks supposedly menacing nearby Boerum Hill or stroller-pushing, multi-tasking Park Slope mothers who can't choose between their dogs and kids?
When I related the story to someone today, she said that you have to consider that when you're a mother, you sometimes must juggle a pet and a child and thus are forced to bring both out into the public arena. Thankfully, I have yet to see such multi-tasking on Smith or Court streets in my neighborhood. And here's a sign that sidewalk life is better on my side of the Gowanus Canal: I have yet to see a double-wide stroller. I'm crossing my fingers that I will avoid an awkward sidewalk-sharing encounter down the road.
Map courtesy the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; photo of Court Street's stroller scourge courtesy Pardon Me for Asking via Curbed