Bull Moose Dog Run Renovation Expected to Start in the Spring; Goodbye ‘Poop Soup’

By Carol Tannenhauser

The long-awaited renovation of Bull Moose Dog Run, located in Theodore Roosevelt Park next to the Museum of Natural History, is imminent, according to Elaine Boxer, a community activist who has been working for years to move the process forward. Boxer got the news in a phone call last week with Steve Simon, Manhattan chief of staff for the New York City Parks Department.

“Come spring, chances are the dog run will be under construction,” Simon said.

It’s been six years since Gale Brewer, then a City Council member, allocated $250,000 to fix Bull Moose Dog Run, which was — and still is — in disrepair. As a result of poor drainage, lakes not puddles follow rainstorms, to the delight of the dogs and dismay of those who must bathe them. After two subsequent cost increases — met by additional funds from Brewer and current Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal — Simon told Boxer that “things actually look pretty good. We just have to come up with another $133,000,” he said.


The author’s dog after a romp in the Bull Moose puddles.

That would bring the total cost of the project to more than $650,000, Boxer estimated.

“We’re fairly confident we can find it,” Simon assured her, according to Boxer.

“The plan has nice features,” Boxer said, “such as new benches, a new water fountain with a doggy-height spout and dish, an ADA-compliant entrance, a better located small-dog area, and outer boundaries pulled in to return two trees to the greater Theodore Roosevelt Park.

“All of that is GREAT,” she acknowledged. “But the community started with, and still has, two basic needs: repair the broken drainage system and regrade/replace the eroded surface. So, if anyone were to complain about dog owners sucking up city resources for our precious dog run project — the cost of this ain’t coming from us. All we want is not to have our dogs wading through poop soup every time it rains, getting filthy and sick, and we’d have been thrilled if this simple goal could have been accomplished with Gale’s $250k appropriation six years ago. BUT, we’re all 100% behind this project now because this is the only way our simple goal has any chance of being accomplished in any reasonable time frame. Any revisions or controversy could set us back to square one, and I think we’d lose our minds if that happened.”

You can see the plans for the new Bull Moose Dog Run here. Construction is expected to take eight months to a year. The dog run, which occupies about a quarter of an acre of Theodore Roosevelt Park, is unrelated to the Gilder Center, the science education center being built by the Museum around the corner.

We are awaiting a statement from the Parks Department and will update this post when we receive it.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 13 comments | permalink
    1. michael says:

      I’m confused.

      • Beverly says:

        So am I. Do they have the money – or not? Is the deal final or not? Will the drainage problem be resolved or not?

    2. Billy Amato / W. 80th St. Block Assoc. says:

      Hip hip hooray 🐾🐾🐾 It’s about time…But the NYC Parks Department better keep there Maintenance Agreement this time!
      Back in 1997-2000 During the renovation of Teddy Roosevelt Park/new parking garage/The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space replacing the old Hayden planetarium…When they first renovated the area to a dog run that was not an official dog run nor recognized by the parks department as a dog run (all mud and dirt – no fencing just an open area) and made it the first official New York Ciity dog run and named it “Bull Run”. When finished as the first high-technology dog run with water fountain and lighting and underground irrigation. Sounds wonderful right? Well until somebody in the New York City Parks Department for got to drain the pipes that winter and all the piping underneath the dog run froze and broke open flooding the area making it a skating rink. The city never repaired it and left it as you see it today. Let’s hope to be on top of this one even though I have my doubts about the New York City Park Department and still believe the Teddy Roosevelt Park should be turned over to The Central Park Conservancy.

    3. MartinL says:

      Thanks to everyone responsible for getting this thing done.

      Is the proposal available online for the public? $650,000 and 8-12 months for a 1/4 acre plot of land where only regrading is the major work sure seems like a lot of money and a very long time to completion.

      Any way we can see the itemized costs line by line, the timeline breakdown, and who the contractor is?

      Thank you

    4. Ish Kabibble says:

      About friggin’ time!

    5. joan says:

      Sort of amazing that it should cost so much to renovate the dog run. Is an outside contractor doing this? Is the parks dept staff doing this?
      There was a playground/basket ball court on 90 St between Amsterdam and Columbus Ave that the city demolished over 6 months ago to become a new better area for kids. A large tractor sits in a pool of mud and garbage. When will that be completed?

    6. Young Sally says:

      I was always baffled as to why this run always had a bad dog smell — yet the much larger (and busier) run on Riverside at 87th was usually so well kept.

    7. Free Willy says:

      For the record, it took just 13.5 months to build the Empire State Building. And that building is 62.5 acres of floor space, 100 floors and a ¼ mile straight up, 73 elevators, 60,000 tons of steel, 200,000 cubic feet of limestone and granite, 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel, and 10 million bricks. We’re talking here about a ¼ acre dog run that needs regrading and some accessories. Let’s get real.

    8. Free Willy says:

      I’m with MartinL. Full disclosure. Total transparency. Let’s see the proposal from the contractor, and who the contractor is. I’d also like to know who negotiated this contract for the Parks Department and hear from them as to how this went down. And you know, if they say it will take 8-12 months, then you might as well add another 3 months on to that. This thing isn’t going to be done until summer 2020 if it starts in April. Plus it will sit empty with no work being done in the winter from Jan to March.

      Ms. Brewer, Ms. Rosenthal, Mr. Simon, the dog run indeed floods terribly, and I’m sure I speak for many that we are grateful for your efforts and whoever else contributed to getting this thing done. But don’t leave us now. Before you move on to your next project, please make sure that a proposal is negotiated that makes financial sense and, probably more important to dog owners, doesn’t take a millennia to complete.

    9. Free Willy says:

      It took just 13.5 months to build the Empire State Building. That building is 62.5 acres of floor space, 100 floors and a ¼ mile straight up, 73 elevators, 60,000 tons of steel, 200,000 cubic feet of limestone and granite, 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel, and 10 million bricks. Bull Moose is a ¼ acre dog run that needs regrading and some accessories. Let’s get real.

    10. Janne says:

      There’s a little park named Septuagesimo Uno on W 71st St. between Broadway and West End Avenue. It is almost always empty when I walk past it. Occasionally I see someone there and once or twice I saw two people there at the same time. It was granted an astonishing $600,000 for a renovation that took over a year. What is wrong with this picture? https://www.westsiderag.com/2016/06/23/the-cutest-little-park-in-the-neighborhood-is-getting-reconstructed

      • Free Willy says:

        Janne, What’s wrong with this picture, you ask?

        1. Contractors salivate when they hear a city contract is coming up. They take advantage because they know they can.

        2. They charge a lot and take a very long time to justify those costs. After all, it would be hard to justify $600,000 if they did the job in what it should actually take, maybe 4-6 weeks for Septuagesimo Uno? Maybe?

        3. I suspect city employees who negotiate these things are overworked, underpaid, maybe/probably inexperienced and particularly no match for a seasoned contractor who does this thing all the time and know hows to gouge anyone. They’re laughing all the way to the bank. The city is low-hanging fruit.

        4. What incentive is there for city employees to negotiate and squeeze the contractor for the lowest price possible? Not one. Nada. They’re not businessmen, they’re not entrepreneurs. And I don’t want to disparage them. They are probably doing the best they can under less than ideal circumstances, but they are not trained for this sort of thing and don’t have the ability nor the experience.

        5. I mean honestly, $650,000 dollars and a year of work for a plot of land a 1/4 acre? Even 8 months is an outrage. I don’t know the exact dimensions of Bull Moose, but 150 feet x 75 feet is equal to approximately a quarter acre. Can you imagine, $650,000 and a year of work for a plot of land that’s 150x75ft!!!

        That’s what’s wrong with this picture.