Plans Surface for Carroll Gardens Dog Run Upgrades


Last night the Parks Department made a presentation to the CB6 parks committee on improvements planned for the DiMattina Playground dog run on Hicks and Hamilton streets. Upgrades to the run have been in the works for a long time. The plan calls for resurfacing the run. In addition, there’s supposed to be new lighting, fencing around all trees, flowering shrubs, new benches, drainage in the park, two doggie and two human drinking fountains, two spigots and a small storage box for tools like rakes. More than a year ago Councilman Brad Lander and Borough President Marty Markowitz allocated $450,000 for renovations, but no additional funding has come through since then. Some of the upgrades to the park are still dependent on how much more money the Parks Department can secure from elected officials. Last night the committee didn’t make a final decision on the type of gravel to be used for resurfacing the run, but the Parks Department rep urged a decision as soon as possible, saying the project is waiting to go into contract and “we don’t want the funds to get cut.” There was no word on an actual time line for the run’s construction since funding isn’t completely secured. Ultimately CB6 approved the improvements with plans to decide on the gravel type ASAP.

40 Comment

  • Was that $450K raised exclusively by CB6 for use for that park or is that money from the Parks Dept’s central kitty?

    I ask only, because no offense to dog owners, I would think that unless every single other public park in this city has been cleaned up, made safe and usable for the humans (big and small) who live and work in NYC, that spending nearly half a million dollars on one park for a dog run is kind of cuckoo.

    • The $450k was dedicated for this dog park renovation. I agree with you that all city parks need support, but dog parks benefit not only dog owners but the greater community. Dogs who are allowed outdoor off-leash time on a regular basis tend to be calmer, better trained, better socialized, less prone to aggression. Also, the presence of dog walkers and dog parks make parks safer. We are heavy users of city parks morning and night in all seasons.

    • The $450k was dedicated for this dog park renovation. I agree with you that all city parks need support, but dog parks benefit not only dog owners but the greater community. Dogs who are allowed outdoor off-leash time on a regular basis tend to be calmer, better trained, better socialized, less prone to aggression. Also, the presence of dog walkers and dog parks make parks safer. We are heavy users of city parks morning and night in all seasons.

  • Was that $450K raised exclusively by CB6 for use for that park or is that money from the Parks Dept’s central kitty?

    I ask only, because no offense to dog owners, I would think that unless every single other public park in this city has been cleaned up, made safe and usable for the humans (big and small) who live and work in NYC, that spending nearly half a million dollars on one park for a dog run is kind of cuckoo.

  • East New York

    That’s about the worst-looking “dog run” I’ve ever seen. That renovation couldn’t some any sooner.

    • This dog run is awful and is in need of improvement. However, if you allow the Parks dept to bring you the surface of their choice – you will not see a large improvement. It will be a mix of grainy sand and gravelly rocks. It will be dusty in the summer and muddy in the rainy season. Your dogs will ingest this sand when they play with balls. You will be covered in this surface when you enter, sit on a bench or have your dog jump up to greet you. After the snow melts it will form black puddles which will freeze. And it will take weeks to drain after the snow melts. You are better off getting a solid surface – like the one they are planning to install in the new dog run being built in Tribeca – in the Hudson River Park renovation Project. You will save money as well as hours of maintenance which will not alleviate the chronic problems of dust and mud ubiquitous to the surface the Parks Dept has a vested interest in bringing to you!.

  • crazypants – dog runs arent “for dogs” they are for the people who have dogs and enjoy spending time with them off-leash; just like bike lanes are for bikers (not bikes), ice skating rinks are for skaters, etc, etc, etc,

    • This dog run is awful and is in need of improvement. However, if you allow the Parks dept to bring you the surface of their choice – you will not see a large improvement. It will be a mix of grainy sand and gravelly rocks. It will be dusty in the summer and muddy in the rainy season. Your dogs will ingest this sand when they play with balls. You will be covered in this surface when you enter, sit on a bench or have your dog jump up to greet you. After the snow melts it will form black puddles which will freeze. And it will take weeks to drain after the snow melts. You are better off getting a solid surface – like the one they are planning to install in the new dog run being built in Tribeca – in the Hudson River Park renovation Project. You will save money as well as hours of maintenance which will not alleviate the chronic problems of dust and mud ubiquitous to the surface the Parks Dept has a vested interest in bringing to you!.

  • If the Parks Department gets their way, this dog run will cost far in excess of $450,000 and the only people who will be happy will be those getting the kickbacks from the contract. The crushed stone surface that the NYC Parks Department (Adrian Benepe) is most likely pushing is the equivalent of the $200 hammer purchased by the Government. It is a new invention with all the “secret technology” that makes it so expensive conveniently located underground.

    I speak from experience as a resident of the Upper East Side where on contract MG-40950-107M, our city government and the Parks Department forced one of these overpriced lemons upon us against the will of the community. We ended up with a filthy kitty litter box that turns into a lake and then a mud hole when it rains. Some dogs simply cannot go in at all, because they get pink eye or diarrhea. Your dog, your clothes, your shoes will all be covered with this gritty dirty kitty litter and it will all come home to your apartment with you. Oddly enough, a few people (molly coddled by the Parks Dept.) will actually like this disgusting pit. Your local Council Member responsible for giving the tax payer dollars to the Parks Department (who will also receive a handsome kickback) will hold these few people who have an incredible tolerance for dirt and dog doo up as an example of the pit’s success. In our case a bitter civil war broke out pitting neighbor against neighbor. Only the reopening of the former hard surfaced dog run was able to diffuse the situation. Today, our neighborhood boasts two separate dog runs. One that cost over a million dollars that remains empty on most days and the busier original hard surfaced run.

    For those of you who use the dog run above and think it looks bad — you will all soon be dreaming of the good old days when a ball thrown to your dog actually bounced and your dog could put a ball in his mouth that wasn’t all coated in filthy brown grit.

    Say no to this money pit!

    Monica McLaughlin

  • Below is an actual picture of the crushed stone surfaced dog run after a rain — this dog run cost $1,000,000 tax payer dollars.

  • Perhaps some of us who use this dog park should chime in. We have looked at the experiences of other dog parks nationwide and learned that no surface is perfect. Decomposed Granite, though controversial, is recommended by most dog park volunteer groups. We are told it is a sterile surface that allows the rain to pass through if drainage is installed properly. Underneath it is fabric membrane separating it from a layer of gravel. Watering regularly with a sprinkler is supposed to keep the dust down. There are many kinds of Decomposed Granite, and we are investigating this week to determine which kind is the least dusty.

    Regarding the cost, a couple of years ago I was told by someone in Parks that $450,000 is not much considering Parks spends a million on a comfort station. It’s insane but it’s how the city works.

    Overall we are pleased with the plan. Many families have been asking for a separate area for small dogs and puppies, and the plan includes a small dog run in the vacant land adjacent to the current space.

    • Omg! Pleas come to the E. 63rd St . dig run is a
      disaster! The decomposed granite is a nightmare! It is NOT sterile and
      dorsn’t drain and there is no maintenance that can
      be done to make it work because it doesn’t! You and
      Your dogs will choke on dust and will regret that you never
      opposed this nasty surface. Think about it. Why is Parks pushing this
      surface? Kickbacks! You have a choice! Stand up against the decomposed
      granite or you and your dogs will regret it.

    • You are being misinformed. We went through the exact same bunk from those who had an agenda. The volunteer groups that push this surface like NYCdog, here in NYC all represent the Parks Dept. who get the kickbacks. The $450,000 price sticker is nothing more than an invention.

      First of all you cannot get decomposed granite (DG) on the East Coast. It is so heavy that it is prohibitively expensive to transport it from its source. And no, there are not many kinds of DG. DG is granite that has decomposed naturally over thousands of years. There are many kinds of crushed stone — rock that is crushed by man. Unfortunately, in order to have the surface harden somewhat so it won’t be an utter sand pit, a certain amount of dust (super finely crushed stone) is necessary.

      Second of all, it is not sterile. Imagine a dog poops and pees on a sand surface (crushed stone). Nothing will sterilize that material. You will never find a scientist who will agree that it could ever be sterile. It is a kitty litter box that is never cleaned. It will reek of urine in the summer. Poop will break down and become part of the surface. Some dogs (like mine) will roll and dig in it and end up smelling like a dirty kitty litter box.

      Third of all, the surface will not drain. None of them here in NYC drain no matter how it is installed. We know. As a result of our complaints the City rebuilt it at an additional cost of $176,000 tax payer dollars. It still won’t drain. You may as well just dump the crushed stone (sand) on top of the existing surface and skip the pipes, gravel and material.

      • We are definitely taking your experience into consideration, but I’ve read about the controversy at your dog park and I know there were as many dog owners (or more) who were fine with the Plymouth Brownstone screenings. I’ve also met with the NYCDOG folks a number of times over the years and I don’t believe they represent Parks. They’ve worked on developing a relationship with Parks for years, and Parks now takes their recommendations. Dog parks in other cities also recommend Decomposed Granite. But is that what NYC dog parks are really getting? I talked to a stone supplier today who also said that these surfaces in NYC dog parks are not actually granite. Do you know what the stone used in Washington Square Park is? We have samples and it seems less dusty than the Plymouth Brownstone.

        • You will NOT be getting decomposed granite. DG is an urban legend. Why don’t you visit the East 63 Street dog run on Sunday or Monday, after the snow we are supposed to get – and then take a walk up the hill to the East 60 St Pavilion Dog Park – which has been open since the mid 90′s – and see which park you prefer to hang out in with your pooch. And then factor in the costs. And the maintenance. And see how clean and happy you are when you leave either. In the Summer the Pavilion has several pools with clean water the dogs splash in. in the summer the East 63 Street sand pit has mud pools – and if you dare pour out the dirty pool water you get yelled at because you are flooding the run and that is a big No, No.
          So if water and digging ruins your costly run – maybe it is perfect – but not for dogs….

        • The Washington Sq Park dog run is disgusting. People keep the poo picked up, but the place reeks of urine and your dog does too after a few minutes of play there.

          • Indeed, Washington Square Park, Thompkins Sq Park, Riverside, they all fall into the category of dirty litter boxes: flooding, dusting, requiring constant maintenance and still leaving you & your dog dirty and sick. You should check out the East 60th Street Pavilion Dog run. In over 15 years of its existence – there have never been surface related health problems, injuries, flooding or smell & cleanliness issues. It is a hex tile surface – and the dogs seem to have no problem running and playing on it.

          • Indeed, Washington Square Park, Thompkins Sq Park, Riverside, they all fall into the category of dirty litter boxes: flooding, dusting, requiring constant maintenance and still leaving you & your dog dirty and sick. You should check out the East 60th Street Pavilion Dog run. In over 15 years of its existence – there have never been surface related health problems, injuries, flooding or smell & cleanliness issues. It is a hex tile surface – and the dogs seem to have no problem running and playing on it.

        • The Washington Sq Park dog run is disgusting. People keep the poo picked up, but the place reeks of urine and your dog does too after a few minutes of play there.

        • A very nasty civil war in our neighborhood broke out that pitted neighbor against neighbor. NYCdog became involved and firmly placed themselves on the side of the crushed stone folks. The only thing that stopped the war was the reopening of the former dog run. Now we are all happy, because each dog owner goes to the dog run of their choice.

          Parks does not take the recommendations of any one. It works the other way around. They build what suits them and seek volunteer organizations like NYCdog to push their product. Some volunteer organizations seeking legitimization by having a relationship with a big City agency are only to happy to comply. The Parks Dept will never ever voice an opinion regarding what is or is not good for dogs. When it suits them (they cannot find a Community Board Member willing to give them hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars) they will put down asphalt. When they can get the money, they go with the crushed stone.

          You cannot get decomposed granite delivered because its weight makes it prohibitively expensive to deliver. Decomposed granite is a granite that had decomposed naturally. Here in the northeast we get crushed stone which is rock that is crushed to form varigated particles– different size particles. Brownstone screenings is the manufacturers fancy name for it.

          I don’t know if it is possible to make everyone happy, but the crushed stone is so controversial and so divisive because it is unaceptable to people who put a high priority on cleanliness. Some people really genuinely do not mind a light coating of dust that partially consists of dog urine and fecal matter on themselves and on their dogs. This will absolutely blow the minds of those that do.

          I spent many hours in the crushed stone dog run on a daily basis for about 6 months, and I was covered in it. The benches, the dogs, my clothes. It was all over my apartment. My little shaggy white dogs (Westies) existed in an almost permanent state of filth. But I gave it a shot.

      • We are definitely taking your experience into consideration, but I’ve read about the controversy at your dog park and I know there were as many dog owners (or more) who were fine with the Plymouth Brownstone screenings. I’ve also met with the NYCDOG folks a number of times over the years and I don’t believe they represent Parks. They’ve worked on developing a relationship with Parks for years, and Parks now takes their recommendations. Dog parks in other cities also recommend Decomposed Granite. But is that what NYC dog parks are really getting? I talked to a stone supplier today who also said that these surfaces in NYC dog parks are not actually granite. Do you know what the stone used in Washington Square Park is? We have samples and it seems less dusty than the Plymouth Brownstone.

    • You are being misinformed. We went through the exact same bunk from those who had an agenda. The volunteer groups that push this surface like NYCdog, here in NYC all represent the Parks Dept. who get the kickbacks. The $450,000 price sticker is nothing more than an invention.

      First of all you cannot get decomposed granite (DG) on the East Coast. It is so heavy that it is prohibitively expensive to transport it from its source. And no, there are not many kinds of DG. DG is granite that has decomposed naturally over thousands of years. There are many kinds of crushed stone — rock that is crushed by man. Unfortunately, in order to have the surface harden somewhat so it won’t be an utter sand pit, a certain amount of dust (super finely crushed stone) is necessary.

      Second of all, it is not sterile. Imagine a dog poops and pees on a sand surface (crushed stone). Nothing will sterilize that material. You will never find a scientist who will agree that it could ever be sterile. It is a kitty litter box that is never cleaned. It will reek of urine in the summer. Poop will break down and become part of the surface. Some dogs (like mine) will roll and dig in it and end up smelling like a dirty kitty litter box.

      Third of all, the surface will not drain. None of them here in NYC drain no matter how it is installed. We know. As a result of our complaints the City rebuilt it at an additional cost of $176,000 tax payer dollars. It still won’t drain. You may as well just dump the crushed stone (sand) on top of the existing surface and skip the pipes, gravel and material.

    • $450,000 is the quoted price. This does not factor in all the additional costs: closing the dog run when it floods, the maintenance you will have to do daily: hosing it down with water in the summer when the dust rises, raking, yelling at your dog not to dig – because they will bring up the felt lining “instrumental” “proper” drainage. And it will not drain properly. The East 63 Street run had to be closed twice within months after its inauguration and an additional $350,000 poured in to repair drainage issues. Do YOU want this brought to you?

      • You want a dog run you can actually use with your dog – play and be happy and worry free. Not a place where you visit and your dog cannot catch a ball without throwing up sand. A place where you leave without being covered in dust and sand. A place with clean benches. Think twice before you say yes to the Parks Dept idea of what your surface should be made of. Other dog runs have paid the price – yo should not have to.

  • Perhaps some of us who use this dog park should chime in. We have looked at the experiences of other dog parks nationwide and learned that no surface is perfect. Decomposed Granite, though controversial, is recommended by most dog park volunteer groups. We are told it is a sterile surface that allows the rain to pass through if drainage is installed properly. Underneath it is fabric membrane separating it from a layer of gravel. Watering regularly with a sprinkler is supposed to keep the dust down. There are many kinds of Decomposed Granite, and we are investigating this week to determine which kind is the least dusty.

    Regarding the cost, a couple of years ago I was told by someone in Parks that $450,000 is not much considering Parks spends a million on a comfort station. It’s insane but it’s how the city works.

    Overall we are pleased with the plan. Many families have been asking for a separate area for small dogs and puppies, and the plan includes a small dog run in the vacant land adjacent to the current space.

  • Is the dog run at Atlantic in Brooklyn Bridge park decomposed granite? Or what NYC Parks refers to as granite but actually is some kind of crushed stone? Because nobody is happy with it.

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/35/2/dtg_pinkdogs_2011_01_13_bk.html

    • Apparently there are many varieties of stone screenings put on NYC dog parks and I can’t get a straight answer on which is best. There is one called “Barn Red” and I wonder if that is what Atlantic Avenue Pier 6 has. NYCDOG says the builders of that run were warned against that red stone but they went ahead with it anyway. All I know is we’re making sure we don’t get the same. It’s a nice little park but your clothes and dogs get coated with pink dust.

      • PInk dust, grey dust, DUST! if that is what you want to breathe in, be covered in, and for your dog to ingest? if you answer yes, then vote “yes” to the Park Dept ideas!

      • The complaint is the effect of the ground stone- how is spreads and sticks to man and beast, not the color. I assume that was not your point, but it seems a good number of heartily hailed re-surfacing of dog runs have not turned out well. Have you visited some other ground stone runs in NYC? I wonder if a jogging surface would be good. Assuming there is a good slope and definite drainage that can’t get clogged by anything. Regular sidewalk is very rough on dog pads when they run and pivot in play, wood chips are very messy and filthy, and quite uncomfortable for a good number of dogs, grass won’t last. It’s tough. I don’t have a clear suggestion for a best surface. Like others, I’m doubtful of some of NYCDOG’s recommendations.

        • I have visited dog runs of every surface including several with the crushed stone. For a clean dog and a ball that bounces, a hard surface is best. So dog owners who like throwing a ball will be happiest there. I also like wood chips. My dogs just get too filthy with any type of crushed stone, and a ball becomes sticky and coated with a dust based gummy glue. Yet some friends of mine are in there every day and swear their dogs love it.

          What I would like to see is a crushed stone sand box in every hard surfaced dog run. Dogs naturally like to go to the bathroom on dirt or sand and so the run would stay cleaner. I would like to see that on a few street corners as well.

    • Parks dept does not discriminate. They are bringing their Mana – this crushed stone surface to all of you unsuspecting dog owners who are so excited to get a “new and improved” dog run – you are not reading between the lines.

  • As a dog walker (I own “Pooch & Kitty”) and recent puppy owner, I frequent four local dogparks (Hillside Park, DiMattina, Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, and Brooklyn Bridge Park/Pier 6). No park is perfect, but I’d like to point out the serious mistake that was made in selecting the floor at the dog park at Pier 6. I don’t know if its whats being considered for DiMattina, but I sure hope not. The red dust that’s generated from that park is appalling — it gets all over everything, most of all, the dogs, and I’ve had to stop bringing my dogs, and my customers’ dogs, to that otherwise lovely park. There’s probably an inhalation risk as well. My dog is less than thrilled with daily washdowns, and who has the time for that anyway? One of my 4-legged customers just chewed his pawpad right off, and his owner speculates that its a result of the flooring at the park. Too bad these parks don’t generate revenue for the city, then maybe someone would pay attention when people boycott individual parks. I hope serious consideration is given to doing renovations at DiMattina in a way that is appealing to the poeple who actually frequent the park.

    • Schuykill Dog Run in PA is saying: K9 Grass is the appropriate, safe surface for the new dog run. Over the years, we have had much experience with different dog run surfaces. All of the previous surfaces have posed many problems, including creating muddy messes, becoming dusty in dry weather, developing an unsavory odor, re-positioning themselves over time, creating divets, and other unsafe surface formations…harboring dangerous fungi or fleas, and posting many other unfortunate problems….K9 Grass is safe for dogs (made of the same type of plastic that composes most dog toys and baby bottles), contains an anti-microbial ion to prevent bacterial growth, drains water to the subsurface at a fast rate, low maintenance relative to other solutions and keeps dog urine and fecal odors to a minimum. A leader of the Thompkins Square Dog Run Friends Group, whose dog run underwent a major renovation in which they put in a form of decomposed granite and who has experience with K9 Grass has stated, ‘You’d be crazy to turn it [K9 Grass] down.’

    • The parks on the west side of Manhattan do generate revenue for the City. They are designed, built and run by the Hudson River Trust a public benefit corporation. The dog runs in these parks are always hard surfaced.

  • As a dog walker (I own “Pooch & Kitty”) and recent puppy owner, I frequent four local dogparks (Hillside Park, DiMattina, Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, and Brooklyn Bridge Park/Pier 6). No park is perfect, but I’d like to point out the serious mistake that was made in selecting the floor at the dog park at Pier 6. I don’t know if its whats being considered for DiMattina, but I sure hope not. The red dust that’s generated from that park is appalling — it gets all over everything, most of all, the dogs, and I’ve had to stop bringing my dogs, and my customers’ dogs, to that otherwise lovely park. There’s probably an inhalation risk as well. My dog is less than thrilled with daily washdowns, and who has the time for that anyway? One of my 4-legged customers just chewed his pawpad right off, and his owner speculates that its a result of the flooring at the park. Too bad these parks don’t generate revenue for the city, then maybe someone would pay attention when people boycott individual parks. I hope serious consideration is given to doing renovations at DiMattina in a way that is appealing to the poeple who actually frequent the park.