Monday, May 10, 2010
Tags That Don't Jingle, at Dog Park
Those of you who approach Dog "Park" from the northwest corner (Bull Creek and 45th Street) may have noticed this work of "art" on an outbuilding. Erica told me about it before I saw it (she also took this photo; thanks, Erica!) Before seeing it, I wondered if it were some kind of revenge on Dog Park Neighbor, the one who caused such a fuss last week on the "Park" listserv because someone had posted puppy pictures. She lives right along 45th Street and would have a decent view of this graffiti from her back porch. Despite the red circles that could, if you squinted, look like stylized paw prints, it is pretty obvious the thing is a gang tag, and not the work of disgruntled dog walkers.
Readers of the Allandale neighborhood listserv, which roughly serves folks who live between Mopac and Lamar, 45th Street to Anderson, can tell you that there has been an uptick in petty crimes in our fair section of the city. Burglaries, car thefts, and other unsavory and illegal activities have been diligently (if not obsessively) chronicled on the listserv. Gang tags, though, are rarely mentioned or seen. I remember noticing a spate of them in my part of the neighborhood, just northwest of Park, on a couple of fences about three years ago, but I assumed they were the product of kids acting tough, not actual gang members. What's more, I actually approved of the traffic sign on West Frances that had been vandalized to say "Stop War!"
But this ugly bit of graffiti—as well as the Dog Park listserv flame-outs last week and the fresh rumor that TxDoT is planning to join up with the Cemetery Committee to unload the"Park" land for residential development—makes me feel ambivalent today. I think that it may be time to detach from Dog Park and accept the idea that we will lose it. The fact that we have had access to a prime and beautiful piece of open land in the middle of a city that is bursting at the seams is pretty much a gigantic stroke of luck. Despite Crazy Guy and churlish neighbor woman and occasional visits by Animal Control, we've had a good run and a fine time at Dog Park. Let's not forget that, but let's also be realistic.