Dogs have their day at Vernon Boulevard run

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (l.-r.), state Sen. Michael Gianaris and state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan greet French bulldog Miss Captain at Vernon Boulevard's renovated dog run. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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Mere weeks after announcing the dog run on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City would be renovated, local legislators and their four-legged constituents cut the ribbon on the expanded park last Thursday.

“It’s a beautiful day for people but it’s an even more beautiful day for the dogs of this neighborhood today,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria).

Pooches big and small were taking advantage of the renovations last week, sprinting around the new gravel run and greeting human visitors and fellow parkgoers. The dog run, at Vernon Boulevard and 48th Avenue, was not fully complete as of Tuesday evening press time. Drinking fountains for people and dogs, new lighting and new covered trash cans still need to be added to the site, Gianaris said.

But the ribbon-cutting nevertheless capped the greater part of a $150,000 expansion that increased the square footage of the park from 4,000 to 10,000, created two sections for large and smaller dogs, and replaced the dirt lot with a leveled-off ground filled with more dog-friendly pea gravel.

“It’s very important for people to have a place with a space for their pets to go,” said state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood).

The renovations on the park came about through a partnership between the state Parks Department and Queens West Development Corp., which paid the costs of the construction.

Tiffini Minatel, a member of the advocacy and social group for dog owners DOG LIC and the owner of a dog walking business, praised the teamwork that went into making the renovations happen.

“This is much better and greater than anything we could have expected,” Minatel said.

Paul Januszewski, president of Queens West, said this is one of many projects including increasing the usable waterfront and the Hunters Point South development, which will add multiple affordable housing units to the neighborhood as well as a new school and library, that are making Long Island City “the hottest and most livable neighborhood in New York City.”

“We’re all really lucky to have such a great group of representa­tives,” Januszewski said in reference to the electeds’ support of the project.

Van Bramer praised the quick turnaround on the project, as well as the years of advocacy community members put in to make the renovations a reality.

We have great, great constituents here,” Van Bramer said. “Some of them have two legs, some of them have four.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Posted 5:44 pm, October 12, 2011
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