There ought to be an enclosed dog run in Prospect Park. While having off-leash hours is a wonderful thing, it’s only a wonderful thing for people who walk their dogs before 9 AM or after 9 PM. That means early morning people and people who feel safe alone in the park after dark. Not everyone has a work schedule where they are up in the morning. Not everyone feels safe in the park at dark.
Other parks have dog runs. No one has a problem when 10 people playing a game of frisbee put down cones and take up a giant swathe of the Long Meadow. Yet there have been arguments made that because Prospect Park has off-leash hours, it can’t also have a dog park. But that’s ridiculous, like saying that because people can use the Long Meadow and other spaces for games like soccer, we shouldn’t have baseball diamonds. Or because there’s one playground in one part of the park, we don’t need other playgrounds in other parts of the park!
There are many dog owners, and they have different needs. An enclosed dog run in Prospect Park (such as the one in Bay Ridge, or Brooklyn Heights) would allow dogs who need to have a run off-leash to socialize with other dogs at all times of day and (if lit properly) night.
While there are other city parks (for example, Victoria Park in London) where dogs are allowed off-leash all the time, I realize that probably won’t fly here. The solution is to have an enclosed run. There is SO MUCH LAND in our park, currently devoted to all the things it should be devoted to: picnicking, sports, the beauty of the landscape, music. There’s no reason Prospect Park can’t have what Washington Square Park, Madison Square Park, and so many other city parks have: an enclosed dog run.
Having off-leash hours and having a dog run should NOT be mutually exclusive conditions in a park as large and capacious and diverse as ours.
Obviously, the other solution would be to expand off-leash hours and areas. Most park dogs are well-behaved and their people can contain them, but I understand that because there are those dogs and people who aren’t respectful, that could be controversial.
Thanks for reading this!
PS: Full disclosure I don’t have a dog right now, so this idea isn’t about self-interest, at the moment! But I did, and this issue is an important one for many Brooklynites with pets.