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Smile for the camera, then pay your $250

By Irving Dean
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Some people with dogs are pigs.

I’m sure you’ve never done this, but some people take their pooch for a walk and — when he answers the call of nature in a substantial way — they glance around furtively and then just slink off without scooping up the residue.

It’s a big problem in Schenectady’s Stockade district where the dog per capita ratio is high and where the esplanade in lovely Riverside Park is a favorite spot for walking — with or without pets.

The Stockade Association provides bags for scooping up poop and receptacles for depositing them, but — again — some people are pigs.

So now, no more Mr. Nice Guys.

The Rev. Valerie Ackerman, head of the Neighborhood Watch, says they’re going to start taking pictures of the poop perps and blowing the whistle on them. There’s a $250 fine for failing to pick up after your pet. That’s $250 each time. You’d think that would be deterrent enough.

I’m not sure how the poop patrol’s going to take pictures of the perpetrators, and I’m certain they don’t want to reveal their plan publicly. (I’m picturing Miss Marple hiding in a hedgerow with a long lens.)

As one who likes to walk in the neighborhood, I say here’s to their great success.

PARTY WITH LAWRENCE

On another Stockade topic, Ackerman and Diane DeMeo are coordinating a special event for the return of Lawrence the Indian.

Lawrence — a zinc casting of a Native American symbolizing the Christian Mohawk who, according to legend, helped the early Stockaders before and after a 1690 raid by the French and their Indian allies — was removed from his pedestal in the center of the neighborhood and whisked off to an undisclosed location on May 2.

Lawrence had to be moved so that Legere Restorations could rehabilitate his cast iron pedestal, which was deteriorating.

Ray Legere noted that Lawrence could use some work, if not now then soon. For one thing, his nose is a little rusty, and there are other signs that any of us might exhibit if we stood outdoors in all kinds of weather for 125 years.

Enter Ackerman and DeMeo, who saw an opportunity to raise a little cabbage for a future Lawrence face-lift while also celebrating the Indian’s return with a party. (It is the Stockade, after all.)

The affair will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, on the patio of the Van Dyck. The $20 admission will include light refreshments and a chance to get your picture taken with Lawrence who, we are assured, will be there in the flesh, or rather, zinc. After the party, it’s back to the pedestal for “Larry.”

Reservations are not necessary, but they’re helpful. Make them by email to VMAckerman@gmail.com.
Legere’s description of Lawrence’s fading looks at a Stockade Association meeting last week prompted longtime resident Joe Fava to recall some restoration work in the ’80s when he personally put a bolt in the Indian’s head.

NO GARDEN TOUR

In my April 23 column about our purple shed, I mentioned that there will be a tour of the secret gardens of the Stockade this summer.

It’s not going to happen.

Evidently some of the gardens that might have been in contention for a place on the tour were wiped out by Tropical Storm Irene. This year will be one for rebuilding, not for showing.

You can expect to see a lot of blooms in the Stockade this spring and summer, however, even without a formal garden tour.

From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 19, Stockade residents may bring a planter to Peter Rumora’s carport at 31 Front St. and they’ll be supplied with free flowering plants, soil and advice from horticulturist Rumora. The idea is that the plants will be displayed on porches and stoeps (that’s Dutch for “stoops”) around the neighborhood.

The Stockade Association-sponsored event is designed to beautify the neighborhood but also to provide another opportunity for neighbors to meet neighbors, and kids are invited too.

If you need more information, email Sylvie Briber at RBriber@aol.com or Rumora at pgrumora@nycap.rr.com.

BUT IT’S A LIVING

Eric Shilling, Schenectady’s new chief building inspector, who was a guest speaker at last week’s Stockade Association meeting, gave his audience a revealing glimpse of his job:

“Nobody ever calls me when they’ve had a good day, when they’ve played a good golf game. They call me when there’s nine pit bulls eating five cats.”

Irv Dean is the Gazette’s city editor. Reach him at P.O. Box 1090, Schenectady, N.Y. 12301 or by email to dean@dailygazette.com.

 
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