- Real Estate
- Under Cover
- Special Editorial
- In Pictures
BY LEVAR ALONZO
There’s a dogfight brewing Downtown after a data-crunching real estate site rated city neighborhoods for dog-friendliness and named Battery Park City as top dog — much to the consternation of pooch parents in the nearby Financial District.
Real estate listing firm StreetEasy compiled the rankings along with Rover, the country’s largest dog-walker network, to find dog-friendly buildings nearest to animal amenities such as vets, dog runs parks with off the leash areas, and lots of local dog-walkers, and determined that Battery Park City — where 63 percent of Battery Park City’s apartment listings are dog friendly — is a veritable pooch paradise.
Not so fast — says Financial District booster and founder of the Fidi Fanpage of Facebook Luis Vazquez-Willhelm,
“This article was grossly inaccurate. The Financial District is the friendliest dog neighborhood in the city,” said Vazquez-Willhelm, a local real estate maven who is also vice president of Downtown Dog, a long-standing group crusading for canine concerns. “I am not aware of a single rental building or coop/condo that does not allow dogs. Many have weight and breed restrictions, but they all accept some of them.”
But according to StreetEasy’s findings, the Financial District ranks only fourth on the list of dog-friendliest neighborhoods.
Part of the reason may be that, whereas BPC is suffused with open green space, Fidi is a crowded warren of narrow sidewalks the relies for park space almost entirely of The Battery, a greensward which has lately been geared more toward people and tourists than four-legged friends.
“In The Battery, the high commuter and tourist traffic present a challenge for allowing dogs to run free,” Parks Department spokeswoman Crystal Howard.
For more than 20 years, The Battery lawn was a popular early-morning place for dogs to frolic off leash, according to longtime locals. But about seven years ago, the Parks Department started issuing tickets and enforcing a leash policy that had long been ignored.
At nearly 80 other city parks, dogs can enjoy off-leash time during specific hours, but Downtown’s main park, managed by The Battery Conservancy has long resisted allowing the practice there.
“We have been working with the Battery Conservancy for greater dog access,” Vazquez-Willhelm said.
Following a major grassroots push two years ago by Downtown Dog, with petitions and an appeal the community board, locals eventually convinced the Conservancy to provide some portion of land at The Battery where dogs can run and play unleashed.
“About a year ago, in response to community request, The Battery Conservancy adapted a small portion of Woodland Lawn to accommodate neighborhood dogs,” Howard said.
“We now have a dedicated off-leash area,” Vazquez-Willhelm said. “In addition, we can bring the dogs into the Battery Oval Green and the new bosque area, as long as they are leashed.”
But off-leash dog runs clearly aren’t the main factor in the inscrutable StreetEasy ranking. Battery Park City my have three dog runs, but Brooklyn’s Dumbo, which ranked number two, boasts no fewere than seven.