After a nearly two year debate members of DOG LIC, a dog owner advocate group founded and based in Long Island City, and the parks department have a reached an agreement that will allow dogs back onto the piers at Gantry State Park in LIC.
Rachel Gorgon, regional director of NYC state parks, established a directive that banned dogs from the piers stating that “The pier was getting wrecked from the acid from the urine and the poop stuck to the boards; it didn’t seem like a very hygienic way to run a park.”
Stephanie Rodousakis, co-founder of DOG LIC, claimed that Ms. Gorgon’s assertion was faulty logic. “I can’t imagine that dog urine is any more hazardous to the wood than the East River is.”
What started with open enmity has ended, with the help of city councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Assembly woman Cathy Nolan, as a peaceful accord that will allow dog’s a trial period of limited access to Pier 4 within the Gantry State Park seven days a week. Dogs will be allowed on the pier from 7:30AM – 9:30AM and again 6:30PM – 8:30PM daily.
Senator Michael Gianaris was sympathetic to the DOG LIC cause saying “I think what [DOG LIC] is asking is perfectly reasonable,” and he was able, along with Mike Murphy, Ms. Gordon, Mr. Van Bramer and Ms. Nolan to compromise with the trial period.
The State Parks’ Officials will monitor the trial and the group will reconvene in September to decide whether to make Dog access permanent. Stephanie Rodousakis welcomes the concern, “”We are also very protective of that park and we want to keep it clean and safe. If they see how much we care and clean it up, we are hoping this will expand and make the park even more dog-friendly.”
The end goal seems to be a peaceful and clean coexistence between the estimated 1,000 strong canine owners in LIC, brought in during a population surge in the area in 2009, and other members of the community who are concerned that allowing dogs into the waterfront park will invite unsanitary conditions. Plenty of people, Ms. Gordon, pointed out were happy that dog access was cut off. “They [could] let their kids walk barefoot.”
It’s a detail that has not gone unnoticed by DOG LIC as co-founder Jessica Masters appealed to the group’s members via facebook, “To make sure the test period works and that further down the line we can gain access to the rest of Gantry State Park, we have to do our best to keep these piers clean, our dogs on leashes and avoid any issues. We will be photographing the pier in question before the trial period commences today and will keep weekly footage of the area. So please make sure to clean up after your dogs and keep them on the leash.”