Greenpoint dog lovers and their four-legged friends howled their approval on May 17 as a brand-new dog run opened alongside The Bellslip, a sparkling new apartment building on the bank of the East River.
“As the first dedicated public space for dogs in northern Greenpoint, this new run is an exciting first step in answering our community’s call to create more play spaces for our furry friends,” said Katie Denny Horowitz, Executive Director of the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning. “With the explosion of a growing dog population since the pandemic started, we look to yesterday’s opening as a kick-off for a new network of dog runs coming to north Brooklyn.”
Both the tower and the dog park are part of the 22-acre Greenpoint Landing master plan, which includes a public promenade and a turf-lined baseball field for Brooklyn’s human residents.
Public green space is a hot commodity all over the city, especially in densely-populated and fast-growing neighborhoods like Greenpoint. Organizations like the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance have long fought for both the expansion of park space and better maintenance for new and existing green spaces so neighbors can comfortably socialize, play sports, and simply spend time in nature.
But Brooklyn’s beagles, basset hounds and Boston terriers need their own dog-friendly space to run, play and laze in the sun. Not all parks are dog-friendly, and well-maintained space where a pup can run off leash is in short supply.
“I am thrilled to join Brookfield and Park Tower, as well as Greenpointers and dog lovers everywhere, in cutting the ribbon on the new dog run at Greenpoint Landing,” said Stephen Levin, Greenpoint’s former councilmember. “This new amenity is years in the making and will give our community’s pops some much-needed space to run around.”
This year, North Brooklyn residents have been particularly vocal about the need to build new dog runs, and improve existing dog runs — many of which are old and run-down. Earlier this year, dog-lovers in Williamsburg raised the alarm about an outbreak of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can be fatal to dogs, in the McCarren Park dog run. The outbreak resulted in the formation of the McCarren Dog Run Alliance, who are advocating for much-needed upgrades as well as educating the pup-loving public about dog run related developments.
Last month, Councilmember Lincoln Restler, who represents a swath of Greenpoint and the surrounding neighborhoods, sent out a survey to his dog-owning constituents, asking them to submit feedback on what needs improving and where new runs should be installed. In nearby District 34, which includes Bushwick and parts of Williamsburg, constituents proposed a $300,000 upgrade of the dog run at Maria Hernandez Park as part of the 2022 Participatory Budgeting cycle.
“I was happy to join the opening of a new public dog run in North Brooklyn at Greenpoint Landing yesterday morning,” Restler said in a release. “Dog runs are essential for every neighborhood, and prior to this new dog run, dogs had been trekking over a mile to the nearest official spot. I’m pleased our local pups have a new space right on the waterfront.”
The Bellslip, a newly-opened 31-story residential building that stands beside the dog run, is officially welcoming (mostly human) residents as of May 18, according to Brookfield Properties, the project’s developer. One of four new residential buildings slated to open at Greenpoint Landing, the 414-unit Bellslip is billed as a “mixed-income” tower, with 124 units rented at 130 percent of the Area Median Income via the city’s affordable housing lottery.
“Opening the doors to residents at The Bellslip marks get another milestone in the evolution of Greenpoint Landing,” said Maria Masi, Senior Vice President of Multifamily Development at Brookfield. “We are excited to continue transforming this formerly industrial area into a dynamic new commmunity that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding neighborhood, connects North Brooklynites to the waterfront with new public parks and provides much-needed housing, both market-rate and affordable, to New Yorkers.”
Once completed, Greenpoint Landing will be home to more than 5,000 new apartments, new retail spaces, and the four-acre park and promenade, including the new dog run.