The Tompkins Square Dog Run in the East Village reopened Tuesday morning after a nine-month renovation to rave reviews from area residents who frequent the park.
"I think it's a hit! We were a hit from the second it opened," said dog park volunteer manager Garrett Rosso.
The park's new dog run features an environmentally-friendly surface of decomposed granite, called brownstone screening, which is designed to facilitate drainage. The dog run was the city's first to open, the largest of the city's 20 dog runs, and now it's also the first to get the new high-tech surface. Other dog runs in the city use wood chips or gravel.
"The big improvement here is that we were able to remove the wood chips that tend to absorb the urine and substitute it with a crushed brown stone, which is almost like beach sand," explained Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner Bill Castro. "It allows the urine to go down into the ground. Underneath this, we have to promote drainage two layers of larger stones along with geotextile fabric which gives it some structure."
Castro says the surface reduces the presence of disease, is easier on the animals paws, and for pet owners, it cuts down on unpleasant odors.
"There was a desire to figure out a standard and a set of best practices on how to build dog parks, not just in the city, but up and down the East Coast," said Rosso, who has received calls from other municipalities asking about the dog park.
Four and a half years of research went into the project, which was a collaboration between the Parks Department, and the local group known as "Friends of First Run," which raised $50,000 toward the overall cost of $325,000 for the project.
Local dog owners says they're pleased with the results.
"I think this is a great run, and I like the new surface. It's going to stay clean for a long time and probably a lot cleaner than the dog run before it," said dog owner Mark Bulvanoski.
"It's great. It's a wonderful park, a lot of hard work went into it and we're happy with the results."
Dog owners also really like the odor-free environment.
"I don't really smell anything so, smells pretty cool, it smells really good so I think it's fine," said dog owner Hugh Mack Gill.
"I live down on Avenue B — I used to smell it from a few blocks away. Now, it's perfect," said dog owner Anne Hinshaw.
Parks officials say they plan to renovate the Washington Square Dog Run later this year, along with creating a new park on the East River at 64th Street.