Bay Ridge unveils new dog run named after late canine-loving resident

The Decolvenaere family and city officials gathered at the new dog run
The Decolvenaere family and city officials gathered at the new Frank Decolvenaere dog park on Sept. 15.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

City officials joined with the Decolvenaere family to unveil a new dog run on Shore Road named after Frank Decolvenaere, a beloved Bay Ridge resident who was hit and killed while walking his dog in 2020.

The $1 million project transformed an unused stretch of asphalt into an open greenspace that welcomes Bay Ridge community members and their four-legged friends. 

Bay Ridge unveils new dog run named after late community member and dog lover.
The brand new dog run transformed a previously-unused stretch of asphalt. Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Decolvenaere, who lived in Bay Ridge for more than 20 years, was headed home from a walk with his dog, Stormy, in 2020 when he was hit by a teen driver near the corner of Fourth Avenue and 101st Street. He died on impact, and Stormy, who was also injured in the accident, made it 10 blocks home to alert Decolvenaere’s wife, Demetra.

Demetra and her children came out for the official ribbon cutting on Sept. 15.

“Our family misses my father every day and so it meant a lot to us to have the Shore Road dog park named in honor of him,” Michael, Decolvenaere’s son said. “Frank really loved his dog and his neighborhood, and so we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate his life and commemorate him.”

They were joined by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, and Council Member Justin Brannan, who helped fund the project and was a major advocate in getting the dog park named after Frank.

“The brand new Frank Decolvenaere Dog Run is really a wonderful addition to Bay Ridge and I was so glad to make this happen in Frank’s honor,” Brannan said in a statement. “It was great to have Frank’s family with us and of course Stormy, too.”

The new dog run welcomes pups of all sizes and features new seating, an accessible walkway, and water fountains for visitors — human and canine alike. It also includes dog-friendly synthetic turf and other open lawn areas.

Councilman Justin Brannan tosses out the first ball at the ribbon cutting dog run on Shore Road.
Council Member Justin Brannan tossed out the first ball at the ribbon cutting of the new dog run on Shore Road. Photo by Arthur De Gaeta
“Parks and greenspaces are vital to the health and happiness of all New Yorkers — and that includes our four-legged friends,” Maher said. “I’m proud that we have transformed this unused space into a brand new community resource that Bay Ridge residents, humans and dogs alike, can enjoy for generations.”
According to a Parks spokesperson, the project is better equipped to handle excess stormwater, with more permeable materials than the former asphalt surface. 
Decolvenaere, a NYC native, called Bay Ridge home for over 20 years and through the new dog park, his dog-loving legacy will lives on.”May Frank’s memory be a blessing for everyone who enjoys this new park for years to come,” Brannan said. 
The new park is located at Shore Road and Parkway at 3rd Avenue.
Update Sept. 20, 2023 at 2:44 p.m.: This story has been updated to allow comment from Michael Decolvenaere.