By Lisa Kava
While masses of crowds have excitedly descended upon the Upper West Side in anticipation of the annual float inflation for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the festivities can prove to be problematic for some local business owners and residents.
For security and crowd-control reasons, balloon inflation viewers were being routed to West 73rd Street as a pathway towards Central Park West to watch the balloon inflation. But Tania Isenstein, the owner of Camp Canine, a dog day care and boarding facility at 46 West 73rd Street says that police informed her of a “pedestrian freeze” on the block and that she and her employees are not allowed to walk any dogs on the sidewalk on West 73rd Street.
Isenstein said she has 60 dogs boarding with her, and they all needed walks on Wednesday. She told West Side Rag that she was not provided with any notice of the freeze. According to Isenstein, two different officers as well as an NYPD supervisor told her that pedestrians are simply not allowed to walk on that block at all and that in order to walk the dogs she must pass through a large crowd on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 73rd Street to get to a different street. Isenstein says walking the dogs through a crowd of “hundreds of people at that corner” is simply impossible.
“This is one of our busiest nights of the year here at Camp Canine. All the dogs need walks,” said Isenstein. “The police officers stationed at the end of our block informed us that we would not be allowed to walk the dogs on our own block due to a pedestrian freeze. Their supervisor confirmed this. Further, they refused to clear a path for us to cross the crowd of hundreds. Not only is this unreasonable but we were not notified at all about this so that we could plan for it. I’m not sure what we will do.”
But the commanding officer of the 20th precinct told us that there simply isn’t room on a night like this to walk 60 dogs on a block that is also the entrance to the balloon inflation route.
“We are sorry for the obvious frustration that Ms. Isenstein has, but between 300K and 500K people will filter down that block tonight, and the restrictions in place to accommodate them take precedent over other competing concerns,” wrote Deputy Inspector Timothy Malin in an email response to West Side Rag. “To be clear, not only was the Macy’s Balloon Inflation plan widely available in the media, but it is the exact same plan that was employed last year. So I’m not sure why she did not know about it.”