Don't go there

illicit peeing

Oh, yes she did. This pic was snapped near Lancaster Street. (Thanks, Anonymous)

So we went back and forth on posting about this because it all seemed kind of trashy and a little stupid. But the sad truth of the matter seems to be: people are having a hard time distinguishing the streets of Center Square from a bathroom. So they're just letting it go... right there... on the sidewalk and in backyards.

The latest episode of this, um, condition played out over the weekend during/after the St. Patrick's Day parade. We've heard from a handful of people in the neighborhood that many parade-goers just couldn't seem to help themselves.

And this has prompted a few questions.

1. What is wrong with these people?

OK, we understand the whole "sometimes you just gotta go" thing, but really... were these people raised in a barn? What makes them think this is acceptable?

And whoever these people are, it seems that -- anecdotally at least -- their numbers are growing. "I have heard observations/complaints regarding the activity in our neighborhood this past weekend which includes beer consumption and public urination ... I don't think I've had the same level of complaints last year," Richard Conti, the neighborhood's Common Councilman, told us after we contacted him about the problem.

2. So, is there anything being done about it?

We contacted the Lark Street BID about this issue because we figured if anyone would want to, you know, wipe up this problem, it would be them. Alas, the BID's response was "No comment."

Richard Conti told us the issue has come up before with the Common Council, but not recently:

The issue of St. Pat's Day parade related issues did not come up in a Council meeting ... we met last night and no-one raised it. There was discussion last year regarding the "Alive at 5" issue.

Issues related to behavior at or after events has come up from time to time ... most recently there were issues related to last year's Tulip Fest and the amount of beer consumption on the parade grounds, people bringing coolers in etc. with out supervision and the aftermath in the neighborhood and at local establishments. There was a meeting with Special Events and the Mayor's office after that that included neighborhood representatives and the BID. There have also been issues associated with Latinfest.

Bill Pettit, president of the Washington Park Neighborhood Association, says this type of behavior happens occasionally during city-sponsored festivals, but it's much more common during holidays like St. Patrick's Day, July 4th and Halloween, when there are no portable toilets available.

"If I had to guess, I would say it's not really the bar patrons, but the under aged drinkers coming in from out of the area with beer from convenience stores."

3. Solutions?

Well, the first might be for the city or the BID or some org to put out more portable toilets for these events. We understand that costs money, but the apparent alternative is gross.

And secondly, you know, if you're coming to celebrate on Lark Street, don't pee in the streets.

Earlier on AOA: Move along, nothing to pee on here.


um... how about a photo credit? hehe

If there are tons of people out and about on the streets, they are probably spending money. Also, it isn't just trashed 20-somethings who go to the parade, and it isn't only beer that makes you have to pee. Spring for the port-a-potties.
(Though I do realize it is only beer that makes you think it's ok to pee on the street in broad daylight; diet coke doesn't have that effect on most people)

Bill Pettit is the best!

I was being a good sober citizen and only drinking coffee on parade day. Let me tell you, two large Daily Grind coffees in a short period of time will make you have to go. Lucky for me, the nice barista there remembered my earlier purchases and seemed nonplussed by my usage of their facilities - and several non-customers' as well.

please, people peed wherever they wanted for millennium

I see this every year. Fortunately I live on Lancaster so I don't have to join their ranks. It doesn't really bother me that much though; is that weird?

The UK has has an epidemic of people peeing in the streets for years. It isn't just during holidays. Every weekend as the bars let out, people let go. All over the place. I read an article about how one city's police force starting carrying around a mop and bucket to make offenders clean up after themselves, which I thought was pretty hilarious.

If this photo was of a guy... you wouldn't have posted it. When you have to go, you have to go. Have some decency and take this story down. Btw.. if she’s underage.. the posting of this photo is illegal.

This has been going on as far back as I can remember. We used to live at the end of Jay where it horseshoes around to Hudson, and people used to hop the fence (onto private property, mind you) to "relieve themselves" during the July 4th fireworks display.

Not to justify it, but if Troy is the new Brooklyn, then that makes Albany the next Manhattan....and I used to do the same quite a bit in front of CBGB's in my youth as well!

When we lived in Center Square, this was what we expected every time there was a Larkfest/Tulipfest/Any day warm enough for lots of people to get trashed in public day. At some point someone would pee in our alley. Sometimes against our stoop. Often on the church across the street.

Maybe if the cops got out of the cars and still walked the neighborhood streets in the evening (and on days like this!) people would be more apt to wait until they got home.

Um, and as Katherine said earlier this week:

Is this how neighborhoods turn to crap?

I like to go teh pee-pee outside!

I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like it's everyday party central. And as long as people arn't fighting, getting hurt, or otherwise destroying property, to me it seems like just good old fashion "clean" fun.

@M: We did have some concerns about posting this photo, but gender was not one of them.    If the subject  of the photo were male, we would have posted it, just the same.

One time I was hanging out with a friend and someone leaving a late night party walked over to ask where they could relieve themselves:

Guy: "Heeeyy, do you know where I could, uh, *go*?"

Friend: "Sure, oh, sure! Ok, first, just go down this street ok?"

Guy: "Yep!"

Friend: "And just keeeep going, about 20 blocks that way, ok? C'mon man, don't pee on the street."

I urinated in an alley twice on Saturday. Why? Because I didn't want to wait half an hour inside a bar and miss the entire parade. If this is a problem, then yes, porta-potties are the solution. That or ban drinking during the parade.... or require bars to have adequate facilities-- not just two toilets.

@M: If this photo was of a guy... you wouldn't have posted it. When you have to go, you have to go. Have some decency and take this story down. Btw.. if she’s underage.. the posting of this photo is illegal.

Oh please, I'm about ready to print posters of it and hang them up around town. I don't care about the legality issue, and obviously the girl in the pic. didn't either.

When I was younger, it was my goal to piss on the streets of every city I visited. Oddly, I never whizzed on the streets of NYC. And I didn't visit Albany during this period in my life.

But yes, portapotties are the solution. Just how much does it cost to rent one for a weekend?

Oh please, that pic was hardly indecent, and you couldn't even tell who the person was. She sure didn't seem to mind hanging her ass out for all to see.

The port-a-potties are a great success during Alive at 5, so why not have them at all events?

I like how the black boxes have expanded over the course of the day ;)

Honestly, I don't think its that big of a deal. But I did see people pissing on the State Capital on the Washington Ave. side on Saturday for God's sake! People were going up around the corner and pissing on the entrance. If you can get away with pissing on the State Capital in broad daylight with thousands of people around then I don't see it being stopped anywhere else.

I live on Jay St and honestly I'm not really concerned about public urination. That said, no one has ever urinated on my stoop. Anyway, isn't this only a problem a couple of times a year? I can't say I see a lot of folks doing this on the weekend. Let's focus on stopping real street crime.

I was in Center Square for only 15 minutes after the parade, and saw no less than 6 people urinating in public. And for the record, it was male & female equal opportunity. I'm sure I would have seen more, but, after seeing all those naked butts my retinas committed suicide.

Apparently, this is how neighborhoods turn to pee.

I had a young woman throw two empty cans of beer just in front of me and my son onto the grassy area around the statue at Henry Johnson and Central. She did this in front of, what I assume, was her 3 or 4-year-old daughter sitting in a stroller, and nearly hit me and my son with her cans. At least she said "sorry" for nearly hitting us (she didn't pick up the cans, though).

Too many people view the city (any small city) and the people that live there negatively, so why not piss all over it? And that attitude cuts across all genders and ages -- including, incredibly, many people who live in the city themselves. This sort of thing would be shocking in Clifton Park, Halfmoon or Delmar. But in Albany (or Schenectady or Troy for that matter), why not? Nobody who lives there really matters, seems to be the attitude. Again, there's many self-defeatists living here who feel that way about their own city, though there's plenty of visitors who pick up that slack, too.

I don't know if it's a I-don't-give-a-shit attitude, or a lack of fixing broken windows, but the boozy underage drinkers on St. Patty's Day is just the most visible example.

That said, what the hell are people that do this thinking? That's someone's home. Not that it would be any better against a business or the Capitol, but people get in and out of their cars there, possibly their kids, who might sit on the ground where you just left your human waste. Shame!

I wouldn't dare suggest to ban open containers during the parade (even though, for all I know, that is banned, though you couldn't tell that on Saturday, that's for sure), and I don't want to rain on everyone else's parade (excuse the pun), but the Mayor or someone needs to do something to prevent this disgusting pissing-in-the streets behavior. Maybe it's more cops on the street -- I don't know. But if not, more people will move out and the neighborhoods will look worse, so there will be plenty of abandoned homes for there inconsiderate jerks to piss all over.

Oh, and @ M: Oh please, get off your high-horse. As opposed to the legality of what she's doing? And if she is underage, as you suggest, does that include the legality of her possibly peeing in a driveway because she was drinking all day? You think she was on a coffee binge? And why wouldn't they print it if it were a man? Give me a break.

If you have to go, maybe you should think twice about turning our city streets and private property into an open sewer. How would you feel if someone pissed all over where you and your kids get in and out of the car?

Beaver nailed it. Twice!

Beaver for Mayor!

Now, what can we do about the loud car stereos and motorcycles trolling the streets day and night ... It's all about ENFORCING existing quality of life laws ...

I agree with Colleen- it's all a matter of enforcing all these laws that totally exist but everyone forgets about them when it comes down to it. We could outlaw peeing in the streets until the rivers run dry but are people going to call the cops every time someone drops their pants? I totally would, but then again, I'm a goody goody who's angry angry.

I am a Center Square resident. The public urination during events is gross no doubt, but I am more offended by the litter and all of the dog crap I almost stepped in this weekend than I am by the drunk college kids dropping their drawers.

I solemnly promise that I always, always clean up after my dog.

However, I think the city should put up a few more of those dog-waste baggie dispensers like they have in the park. Those things are a godsend when I stupidly leave the house without a bag crammed in my pocket.

Now Jess is the problem.... Here she asks not what she can do for government but what government can do for her. How about a little personal responsiblity and pride. If you have a dog, it so simple to remember to bring a bag with you... and People come down here to drink, thats great but God Damn what does it take to walk into any public place and pee ? I do it, I walk all over Albany and pee in public bathrooms, I believe my parents taught me that and I taught my kids that. and why do they have to pee against a buildings, I can not tell you how many people I have watched pee against the Frist Pres Church. They are like the dogs... Do you not have any personal pride?

Hrgreen - I think I've forgotten a bag only once or twice. Sue me. And actually, I think in one of those cases, I'd brought bags but ended up running out. Apparently my pooch was having a problem that day.

However, I'm just suggesting a little friendly reminder might end up helping everyone out.

I wholeheartedly agree with Jess. My 'hood has doggie bag dispensers and it's been a lifesaver when my dog's bagholder's run out and we didn't realize it.

Personally, I don't think all piles comes from lazy, irresponsible bastards, but that people find that they're ill-equipped from time to time. The public bags have helped keep our neighborhood incredibly clean-- a pretty good feat, considering the huge number of dogs in our area. Additionally, I've grabbed one from time to time while out to pick up someone else's mess that was left, and I'm sure I'm not the only one doing it. Say what you will, but I think it helps enable people to take responsibility for their community's upkeep.

So if my government wants to tack on a few cents to my already exhorbitant taxes to help prevent a craptrail from forming and leading straight to my door, then I'm all for it.

I'm with Kate on cleaning up the dog poop, but I'm also with Jess and 23-Hour Alice Person on the doggie bag dispensers. What is wrong with that? Government ought to help when there is a way to help (by providing doggie bag stations where practical), and Government should enforce standards (read: the law) when those social standards are violated (i.e., pissing in the streets). I share HRgreen's disgust at people urinating against a church -- I don't need to be religious to say that is beyond shameful.

If the city were to expand the doggie bag idea, they'd need to do it right, and I don't know what that means necessarily. I've seen overfull city trash cans throughout the city, but I've also watched an older guy (my guess: early 60s) walk halfway up a block to deposit a full household-garbage bag in an empty city trash can on New Scotland (yes, he carried it all that way; yes I watched him do it and said nothing). So yes, the city should help, but people should act, well, appropriately, selflessly, responsibly, as good citizens, whatever you want to call it. Of course, I'd respond to my own comment: good luck with that. But a guy can dream, can't he?

Okay. I lived in Albany for roughly 9 years when I saw this urintation thing. I now live in Philadelphia, a city with almost 400 murders a year. Just step in the piss already. Just be grateful it ain't shit...or worse- your son or daughters blood. Does that put it into perspective?

Now that we've covered humans peeing on Albany sidewalks and dogs pooping on them I move we complain about the snow that never seems to get removed from those very same sidewalks. Talk about a quality of life problem that could be quickly and easily solved by the enforcement of existing codes. The city could make a sweet buck if it actually collected fines from all the habitual offenders in my neighborhood alone, much less city-wide.

@ Me: I'd argue that stepping in shit and then blood starts when we stop making a big deal about pissing in the street, but maybe that's just me.

@ME I find your comment ridiculous. Hey, be glad you don't live in Darfur and never complain about anything ever again, right? The whole point of not being murdered is to have a reasonable quality of life. And stepping in human or animal waste is not part of that quality. I don't think anyone who commented is comparing peeshed to bloodshed. The point is, we live in a city that's blessed with numerous facilities, and we just need to figure out the way to get drunk people to use them.

I know I'm joining this conversation a little late but when it comes to this problem I can't say I'm overly perturbed by it. I live in Pine Hills, so these days when someone whips something out in public I'm just glad it's not a pistol or a knife.

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