The Shit Lords in Holland

Peter Stuyvesant Square is located in New York City, between 15th and 17th street and 1st and 3rd avenue. Aptly named, it is a small encapsulated natural preserve, amidst the cold backdrop of sprawling concrete and steel. Incidentally, the premier high school for science, mathematics and technology was also located within this vicinity. This was of course prior to the September 1992 relocation to Battery Park City. Indeed such drastic re-locations were often necessary to insure adequate future space and to justify cost efficient strategic long term goals. However, just like the migration of people and facilities over time, laws are also enacted to better address resident concerns.

This is especially true when dealing with issues that impact quality of life for those inhabiting the immediate area. One of these issues is obviously shit. I am of course referring to dog shit. Plenty of it. Sidewalks and parks were literally a mosaic of various shades of brown – from the freshly shat to the lingering flaky dried crap which stubbornly remains undaunted. Unfortunately, this was a daily occurrence or avoidance, for those of us existing in Gotham city prior to the enactment of the curb laws in 1978.
Holland Dog Shit Laws

I have always felt that true hardcore indigenous New Yorkers have adaptable skills, battle hardened and tested over time, yet incomprehensible to those who grew up in more sterile and stoic environments. Multiculturalism and the resulting social dynamics played a major part in creating a unique perspective in dealing with daily issues. Humor was a of course a huge response mechanism necessary to preserve one’s sanity and any vestiges of civility.

The birth of The Shit Lords

Holland Dog Shit Laws
The revolting namesake was only matched by the simplicity of the game itself. There was always numerous victims but few survivors.

Each individual had to brave the path to sanctuary by solitary merit alone. No help, no support and no recourse but to push forward once the initial first steps were taken.

There was only one rule. Make it to the other side of the park exit without stepping is any dog shit. Time was of the essence and so was the daylight.

To be crowned a Shit Lord meant one had superior physical attributes resulting in magnificent displays of athleticism. Running, dodging, leaping, twisting midair like a village idiot gone amok. Not an easy task by any means.

The poster accurately reflects the four main culprits and perpetrators of this farcical charade. Myself included, two brothers and a potential recruit, a Shit Lord squire if you will. Hence, the squeamish and tense ladden face.

Unbeknownst to most spectators, the name was actually derived from the iconic film, The Lords of Flatbush staring Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler. In fact, the modified version of the film’s poster vividly portrays the utter grittiness and cut throat nature of the game. Ironically very reminiscent of the city that spawned it’s creation.

However, like the transient nature of city life, the game rapidly declined as the curb your dog laws were enacted, enforced and obliged by many owners alike. It was a good thing. Once again you could walk freely unabated, head held high with eyes scanning forward and about. After all, this was New York City and there were many sights to behold. No need to piss away my walking days staring at the fucking ground trying to avoid the vast sea of endless dog shit.

So what does this have to do with Holland?

Fucking everything where dog shit is concerned. It is literally everywhere. On every sidewalk and corner. On every cobblestone street and unbelievably in the very populated Utrecht city center. As a former New Yorker I avidly walk everywhere for miles at a time. My legs are my mode of transportation. I detest owning a gas guzzling, money grubbing metal and fiber glass monstrosity.

In fact the more densely populated, the more your gaze must be downcast avidly studying once again, every subtle brown nuance and shade of shit known in existence. When you walk daily, this becomes increasingly cumbersome and tedious, as every step beckons a return to the glory days of being a Shit Lord in Peter Stuyvesant Park.

Holland Dog Shit Laws

However, dogs will shit with absolute impunity here. Dutch owners are completely oblivious and have a devil may care attitude about the brown stuff. In fact, earlier today I had a cappuccino at the McDonald’s at Oudegracht 136. While exiting through the sliding doors some inconsiderate dimwit let his dog shit right at the entrance which is also serves as the exit. As I was leaving, people entering were practically stepping on the crap, dragging it inside while people were packed to the rafters eating McNuggets and french fries. Wonderful. I am sure this new-found aroma blended well with the smell of a Groenteburger. I do not think the dutch would find such a combination so Lekker!

Perhaps the Netherlands will one day adopt such a common sense policy. After all, my old stomping grounds historically called New Amsterdam, was indeed a former dutch colony in the 17th century. Indeed I hope for future expats, it does not take another 300 years to enact such public common sense policies. I believe this would be extremely beneficial for the environment, not to mention your shoes. Considering the dutch self obsession with recycling every cardboard box, plastic bag and glass bottle – one would think a shitless environment would also rank high on the list of being a socially considerate and environmentally astute citizen. If not, then maybe they collectively as a society and just don’t give a shit.

My final piece of advice based on observation – for a carefree stroll devoid of any remnants of dog shit, try the bike lanes. They are immaculate. You could literally walk barefoot unconcerned, upon such a wonderfully clean and pristine surface. Forget the beat up pedestrian lanes, they are literally awash in a sea of caked on shit, often freshly replacing decrepit week old bile. A quick reminder lest one forget how little you matter when venturing bike-less amongst dutch society. Perhaps stepping in random shit serves as a stark reminder that sidewalks are an unwelcome infringement on this cycle-centric culture.

Regardless, I for one am glad my Shit Lord glory days and experience have once again served me well. I know my shoes are thankful. Even though it has been ages since I last skirted through Peter Stuyvesant Square, it was just like riding a bicycle.

The shit just came all back to me!

Holland Dog Shit Laws