What a crazy year for dog owners! Thankfully, some good news is on the horizon — McCarren Park will finally get a new dog run!

As part of a recent rezoning, Council Member Lincoln Restler’s office secured $1 million for the new run, which will be located at the asphalt lot near the tennis courts. The dog run at McCarren is just one of several projects detailed in the council member’s District 33 Dog Run Plan.

“Council Member Restler is introducing legislation to formally transfer responsibility for dog runs to the Parks department and legislation requiring the Parks Department to identify at least 5 sites for dog runs in every community district,” says a press release sent to Greenpointers.

“Dog runs in New York City exist in a bureaucratic limbo — the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) has assisted community groups in setting up informal dog runs in Parks, but does not take responsibility for maintenance of dog runs. As such, dog runs are currently highly dependent on organized community support for maintenance and upkeep and non-City sources of funding for construction.”

Residents have long bemoaned the state of North Brooklyn dog runs and greenspace, citing concerns with poor sanitation and too few spaces for too many dogs. Restler’s office surveyed over 300 residents of District 33 and found that 99% of respondents expressed interest in a new dog run within 10 blocks of them, which makes sense, considering that the district is “home to three times as many dogs as the citywide average.”


At least four dogs passed away after spending time at the McCarren Park Dog Run in January, in what many locals believed to be (but not confirmed by the City’s Health Department) an outbreak of leptospirosis. The Parks department closed the run to make improvements to the space, and a later community clean-up led by local volunteers replaced some of the mulch that could serve as a vector for various diseases.

In April, a few North Brooklyn dogs contracted giardia, apparently after visiting the dog run. While a local veterinarian clinic confirmed seeing multiple dogs who contracted the disease, the Parks department said it did not receive any reports of the disease spreading in the neighborhood.

Update (December 1, 2022): After receiving multiple comments from locals concerned by the dog run’s potential use of the asphalt lot, Greenpointers reached out to CM Restler’s office to learn more:

“Based on initial planning, we expect approximately 15% of the site will be designated for a dog run and we look forward to working with the community on other uses for the remainder of the McCarren asphalt lot.”

a rep from CM Restler’s office

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    1. Good question. I hope they don’t make it as small as the one by Greenpoint Landing. One can literally not fit more than two dogs there. The existing dog runs for big and small dogs are fairly large in McCarren Park. Thanks to councilman Restler for his work on this.

  1. Yes, this report doesn’t indicate where this run will be, or the proposed size. What would make really good reporting would be the addition of an illustration or just a map with drawn boundaries indicating the (approximate) proposed space. It doesn’t matter if it’s exactly accurate! Just to give an idea of where this reporter says the dog run might be. Plus this photo is nowhere near the tennis courts. WTF??

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