Volume 80, Number 49 | May 5- 11, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

A Walk in the Park

By Woody

Took my dog out for a walk
Late last night, after dark
We headed up MacDougal Street
Just to see who we could meet
To the Park to have a smoke
And mingle with the gentle folk
When at the gate my eyes did see
Signs addressed to you and me
In black and white and words so clear
They said there’ll be no smokin’ here
As of the 23rd of May
All smokers have to go away.

I went back home a bit perplexed
Thinkin’ to myself, “What next?”
I’m ashamed, I must admit
I stole a sign to study it
In the light of my apartment
I read the words, “The Parks Department.”
I knew the reason had to be
With that important agency
So to help discover it
I Googled on the internet.

Now bein’ from out West you see
I know the possibility
Of forest fires gettin’ lit
By some unfinished cigarette.
It must have happened here it seems
To make them go to these extremes
But “forest fires Washington Square”
Didn’t turn up anywhere
On Bing or Google or social media
Or on Wikipedia
So I then most quickly knew
That could surely not be true.

I racked my brain and thought real hard
“Why no smokin’ in our yard?”
I tossed and turned and dreamt about it
Woke myself to think about it
Walked back down to find a clue
And there it was beside my shoe
Beneath the bench cold and wet
A burned-out filter cigarette
Constitutin’ (seemed to me)
Litter of the first degree.

I had to search with diligence
To find this hidden evidence
That justified this rule severe
To kick the smokers out of here
Cause on that early cold Spring morn
Once in the Park my eyes had gone
Up to the trees in nascent bloom
The big green lawns with so much room
The flowers and the people there
A girl who stopped to brush her hair.
I never would have seen you see
This obvious emergency
Without the signage on the gate
Intendin’ to discriminate
Anyone who might neglect
To dispose his cigarette.

New York City has made great stride
In recent years in civic pride
Picking up the trash and litter
They’ve made it gleam and almost glitter
But they could learn a thing or two
From Parks and Rec on what to do:
The way to keep it really neat —
Just ban the people from the street.

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