Volume 18 • Issue 39 | February 10 - 16, 2006

Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert

Simcha, above left, and Santiago play in Battery Park City’s dog run on North End Ave. Some owners are concerned the area near the fences is dangerous.

Fence is a thorny issue in new dog run

By Chad Smith

Battery Park City residents say that they “almost” love their new dog run on North End Ave.

They’d be completely won over, they say, after an issue concerning a fence inside the run — a fence that may pose a serious risk to their dogs — is resolved.

The worries stem from the height of the fence, about two feet, in relation to a low, stone seating ledge, which is also two feet and runs around the inside of the dog run. They’re concerned that dogs who jump onto this stone ledge may be tempted to jump over the two-foot, stainless steel fence. And, if they don’t clear this seemingly easy jump, they may hurt themselves when they land back down on the fence, which is composed of thin, vertical rods that are flattened at their tops.

“This is an accident waiting to happen,” said Nathaniel Hupert, dog owner and Battery Park City resident.

Others share Hupert’s concerns.

“This little stone ledge is a launch pad,” Rick Jones, a Battery Park City resident, said last Tuesday as he watched Sammy, his chocolate Labrador, frolic with some other furry friends. “A dog could get hurt a number of ways on the fence.”

The Battery Park City Authority is considering making changes.

“I walked down to the dog run the other day to check the situation out myself,” said James Cavanaugh, president and C.E.O. of the authority. “I asked our design department to look it over, and if we eventually conclude that the fence does in fact pose a serious risk, then of course we’ll do everything within our capabilities to make sure that no one’s dog gets hurt.”

The new dog run, which is open, though still under construction, is one of three Battery Park City projects that the authority is planning for the middle of North End Ave.: the two others are a small park and a flower nursery for residents.

Despite the concerns about the fence, the dog run project seems to be a success.

“We do want to make clear that we think that the other aspects of this run are fabulous,” said Maria Ritter, a Tribeca resident who says she takes her dog, Zingra, to the run as often as she can. She also said that almost every dog owner whom she has spoken to praises the run for its abundance of wide, “obstacle-free” space.

“We just need a few more feet on the fence,” she added as she petted a dog that came up to her.


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