Catering to Man's Best Friend Dog Runs Are a Hot Amenity

It’s no secret that New Yorkers love their dogs. In 2011, there were more than 1.4 million dogs in New York City, according to www.nycoffleash.com. With a pack like that, it’s no wonder businesses and city dwellings are jumping on the dog-service bandwagon.

If you're the proud owner of a noble hound, you know what an important part our canine counterparts play in both day-to-day and larger life decisions we make. Where to live? Why to live there? And with more and more, What’s in it for Fido? The easier a co-op or condo building can make it on dog owners to care for their pooches given the hectic pace of most New Yorkers, the more attractive the community. So the 53 off-leash dog runs located around Manhattan may play a larger role in the demographics of a particular neighborhood or building.

If You Build it, They Will... Fetch

A sure-fire way to attract this market-share is to develop near city green spaces that exist or have the potential to create dog friendly off-leash areas. New York City has leash laws which require dogs to be leashed at all times, with the exception of certain designated areas—many of which are dog runs.

The first urban dog run in New York City appeared in 1990 in Tompkins Square Park. It was built as part of the effort to resurrect the dilapidated park—which for years had been overrun with vagrants and drug-related mayhem—and to give dog owners a place to bring their pets for some hard-to-come-by city exercise space. The popularity of this dog run grew enormously over the ensuing years, and it recently underwent a $450,000 renovation, the funds for which were raised both by patrons of the dog run and by city government.

At the helm of the big refurbishment was Brad Romaker, the New York City Parks Department's director of capital projects for the borough of Manhattan.

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