Upper West Siders Want $ 700,000 For Dog Run Sprucing
Theodore Roosevelt Park
Some tony Upper West Siders think their pooches are the top dogs in town — and want big taxpayer bucks to give the precious pups the glamorous dog run they deserve, according to the New York Post.
The posh pet owners have asked their local community board to shell out $700,000 to upgrade an aging park near the American Museum of Natural History into the Taj Mahal of dog runs.
The owner’s dream run would be a veritable doggy day spa — outfitted with artificial grass to coddle canine paws and special sound-dampening to quiet the sound of animals’ “schockingly loud” barks.
“Because we are on the museum grounds, we feel we should be a showcase to represent the dog owners of New York. Right now, we are an eyesore,” sniffed Janne Appelbaum, a member of the Bull Moose Dog Run Association, at a Community Board 7 meeting this week.
In a PowerPoint presentation to the board, a member of Appelbaum’s group proposed no less than a total makeover of the run in Theodore Roosevelt Park.
The plan includes $250,000 to lay down a new AstroTurf-type surface called K9 Grass, which boasts of being easier on dogs’ feet than real grass. It also withstands dogs’ peeing and pooping better than the muddy surface now in the park, the group said.
They also called for $100,000 in soundproofing on the museum’s walls, to keep the noise of the romping dogs from the disturbing the neighborhood, which includes the Beresford building, home to Jerry Seinfeld and other celebrities.
A fancy new $200,000 chain-link fence and improved lighting would bring the total cost of the project to nearly three quarters of a million dollars.
The demands of the wealthy Upper West Side residents left people who live near more modest dog runs shocked.
“They are spoiled!” cried Becky Love, a graduate student and waitress, as she walked her Yorkie through the muddy Marcus Garvey Park dog run on West 120th Street in Harlem.
“It’s typical of the Upper West Side to want more when they have lots of things other people don’t,” said Love. “Share some of the wealth.”
Despite the extravagant doggy demands, city officials said the Bull Moose group is barking up the wrong tree if they expect much taxpayer support for the project.
Parks Department sources say the city typically spends around $100,000 to $200,000 on such projects.
Even Appelbaum admitted they might not get all they want.
“We are going to have to do some serious fund-raising of our own,” she said.
Some dog run projects have run up into big bucks, including a dog run on East 60th Street at the East River five years ago that dog owners say ran to $1.6 million because the city couldn’t put down the right surface.
Upper West Siders say their park’s gravel surface harbors germs, and complain that it is poorly drained, dogs get muddy in wet weather.
“We are going to have to do some serious draining of this dog run,” said Appelbaum. And in dry weather, she said, “the clouds of dust we have now are not healthy for us to breathe.”
Harlem dog owners say the Marcus Garvey dog run could be improved for a lot less money than the Upper West Side project.
“Half the time there are no bags for poop — they are not replenished,” said Roc Brown, an 18-year-old college student who played in the park yesterday with Hayes, his family’s purebred terrier.
“Let’s invest in some water hose so they can get a shower or have water to drink after they exercise. Let’s get some toys for them to play with,” Brown said. “Hayes is full breed. He is not a mutt. He deserves better than this.”