- The creation of the MHDRA was a labor of love from the very beginning. The corner of Mercer and Houston Streets was filled with tenement buildings. In keeping with the Committee on Slum Clearance and Urban Renewal plans, they were eventually demolished.
- The empty, dirt-covered lot (which was often a sea of mud) became an impromptu haven for neighborhood people with dogs.
- There was considerable resistance over 15 years to the proposal to build a dog run for the community. After many community board meetings and even marches on City Hall, a small group of determined residents were successful in getting the area fenced in with a double entryway, and managed to get water connected, as well. They convinced the Community Board and what was then the Board of Estimates that a dog run would be an asset to the community.
- Community Board #2, and the NYC Planning Commission approved the amended Urban Renewal Plan allowing NYU to build the Coles Gymnasium. The university agreed to build and maintain the new, adjacent dog run.
- NYU’s Coles Sports Center was built, and the dog run was constructed. It cost roughly $60,000 to build.
- The dog run was officially opened. The new president of the run, Susan Kamen Marsicano, along with co-founder Shirley Manning, held a “leash cutting” in 1980. This was a cover photo on the NY Post.
- October 13, 1981: the MHDRA was incorporated: Filed under Section 202 with NY State as a volunteer, not-for-profit corporation. By-Laws and a Code of Conduct were defined, and a Board of Directors was elected.
- 1982: MHDRA membership had 126 members. Dues cost $15 year.
- Maintenance Needed: Over time, the run fell into significant disrepair with a tendency to periodically sink in spots.
- The new MHDRA Board sent a letter to NYU President Sexton requesting repairs to the run.
- Special pools designed to withstand clawed feet are added to the run, and provide relief from summer heat for our four legged members.
- March, 2009: Contract signed with NYU to repair asphalt surface to an even grade with adjustments for proper drainage, and an interim site during renovations.
- June 2009: Work begun.
- July 15, 2009: Official Reopening is held.
- We’ve become something of a community “hot spot.” Visitors from all nations stop by to ask about a breed, or snap a photo of our dogs at play.
- New website is completed and launched, streamlining applications and renewals.
- The MHDRA continues to thrive, as a steadily increasing number of new members apply.