Kids, dogs, and naked people in Dolores Park


The interwebs are all buzzy over the notion that some parents might want a fence around the playground in Dolores Park. Uptown Almanac denounces the Dolores Park Brats. Sfist says it's all a plot to undermine gay beach

Well: I have two kids and a dog, and all of us in some groupings or manifestations use Dolores Park, including the playground, the grass and the dog area, and I hate to see any nudity or semi-nudity go away because then I wouldn't get to gawk at all the hot young people who otherwise would have no interest in being naked around an old man like me.

And really, it works just fine.

I've been going to DP for a couple of decades, first just with a dog then just with a kid and now with the whole pack, and I've never seen any problems. Yeah, a dog will wander into the playground every once in a while, but the dogs that get that far away from the (overwhelmingly responsible) owners tend to be friendly and harmless. If a toddler gets knocked over by a dog, that's sad, but it's really not all that sad; the playground surface is designed for kids to fall on it and kids get knocked over by other kids all the time. This is a big, crowded city; we coexist in the parks, and I'm amazed at how well the active park users normally get along.

But if you want to talk about fences (and I'm against fences in parks in general, tho the one at Civic Center makes sense) the thing to remember is that you should fence in kids, not fence out dogs.

I know that sounds awful, and I'm not advocating putting children on leashes (tho at the airport I've though about it a few times). But little kids need to be contained -- that is, parents need to know where they are. If they're at the DP playground, somebody needs to keep an eye on them because if they're like my kids, they'll get into someone's picnic, the garbage, knock over someone's wine bottle, step on a sleeping person's face ... you know, the things kids do. And unlike dogs, they rarely come when they're called.

Once they're a little older it gets a little better (and then it gets much, much worse), but at the young playground age, I worry less about dogs running in than kids running out.