By Bill Parry
Long Island City dog lovers now have a third location where they can exercise and play with their pets.
One day after National Dog Day Aug. 26, state officials joined elected officials and community leaders for a ribbon-cutting at the Gantry Plaza Dog Run, a $750,000 facility located between PS 78 and the Queens West Sports Field on Center Boulevard.
New York State Parks has worked with residential developer TF Cornerstone to design the dog run and after community review began construction in April. The dog run, funded through the Queens West Public Infrastructure Fund, replaces an unsightly area of the park that was used by dog owners but offered no amenities.
The new run features a beach pebble surface, a drinking fountain for the dogs, a stainless steel meshed fence mounted on a concrete curb and a perimeter landscaping buffer. There are sustainable hardwood benches and dog waste bags on the site, which is open 24 hours a day.
“The addition of Gantry Plaza State Park’s new versatile dog run provides Long Island City’s growing population of dog owners with increased access to open space in a park that has become one of New York City’s top destinations,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “As Long Island City continues to grow, it is important that we continue to provide families with the quality amenities they can enjoy for years to come in a great neighborhood that cherishes the companionship of its furry little friends.”
The original plan was changed to move the entrance to Center Boulevard, further away from the school, after parents argued that students would be endangered. The 3,000-square-foot space includes a community garden that serves as a buffer between the dog run and the school.
“Providing the growing neighborhood of Long Island City with more park space is one of my top priorities, and the Gantry Plaza Dog Run will be yet another safe, enjoyable place for our community,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said. “I am hopeful this new space will successfully balance the needs of our community members so that parents, students and dog owners alike can welcome the addition to the neighborhood.”
It becomes the fifth dog run in Long Island City. The others are located at Anable Basin, Murray Playground, Hunters Point South Park, and Vernon Boulevard and 48th Avenue.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr