The city has finally issued a warning to folks who accidentally dig up cow parsnip while going through the West Village. Overgrown grassy areas in front of some buildings — including a pond on the public mall at Central Park — are called cow parsnip habitat and will be punished. The plants have spread by the hundreds in the past few weeks, exposing the fecal matter of many park residents who step in them without realizing they need to pick up their trash. “I can’t stand it,” said Aaron Lenard of the Wooster Street Residents Association. “Once I stepped in one and it got all over me. I even had a small crowbar getting it off my back.” On Tuesday, citing “degrading, dangerous, and potentially deadly,” the Department of Transportation has sent a letter to building owners in the area in charge of the grassy strips, officially declaring that they must cut the areas — now.
The letter says the “daytime fence or fence dividers” or a the “mainland fence or fence around the center of the public green,” need to be “clearly communicated to occupants of apartments on that portion of the property” to protect pedestrians.
“Access to the park is to be maintained for the benefit of all who use it, not for private development,” says the letter. “Please make the clearing of the grassy areas of the park to ensure safety of all during the day and protect the park from unauthorized development, development which does not conform to the original public green space plan.”
Many people have said that the emerging dangers are why they no longer go through the public plaza in front of Central Park to take their strolls. But residents aren’t worried. Lenard and others say they are just glad that the city is finally doing something about it.
Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook