By Julie Shapiro
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The opening of the first section of the East River Waterfront, including a much-anticipated dog run, has been postponed until at least February, the city said last week.
The new waterfront park between Maiden Lane and Wall Street was scheduled to open by the end of December, but it was delayed because the city needed more time to add the finishing touches, a spokesman for the Economic Development Corp. said.
The park will definitely open by spring, and possibly as soon as February, the spokesman said.
Local residents may not miss the windswept esplanade much over the winter, but many dog owners who have been eagerly awaiting the project’s dog run were disappointed to hear of the delay.
"I have dog owners asking daily where to take their new four-legged friends in the area," said Amanda Byron, owner of The Salty Paw pet spa on Peck Slip.
The nearby Fishbridge dog run under the Brooklyn Bridge is overcrowded, and there is no other place in the neighborhood to run dogs off-leash, said Byron, who owns a 140-pound Great Dane named Tyras.
The city also recently cracked down on dogs in Battery Park, removing a popular off-leash option from the Financial District, Byron and other dog owners said.
The 4,300-square-foot oval dog run in the new East River Waterfront will offer dogs room to stretch their legs, plus hills, a tall golden tree and a doghouse for entertainment. The dog run, just north of Wall Street at the East River, will also include a water feature during the warmer months.
Deborah Boulac, a longtime Seaport resident who owns a 75-pound Labernese, a mixed breed of Labrador retriever and Bernese mountain dog, said she has long been excited about "finally getting a proper dog run" for the neighborhood.
With the opening of the run delayed, Boulac said her only options are to take her dog to Fetch Club, which opened an indoor dog park this fall, or risk getting a ticket by allowing her dog to run off-leash.
Jack Chen, another downtown resident who owns two Labradoodles, said he has been thrilled to watch the dog run under the FDR Drive make progress, but he was sorry it wouldn’t be done sooner, especially since Battery Park is now off limits.
"The delay of the FDR dog run is just terrible news for all," Chen said.
This section of the East River Waterfront is part of a larger $150 million park running from the Battery Maritime Building up to the Lower East Side, which will open in phases over the next several years.