For nine years, Lynne Lubash drove to Bay Park or Long Beach to find a dog park where her pet, Red, could play. That recently changed, however, when a dog park was built in Oceanside Park, on Mahlon Brower Drive.
“I love it, because I actually live on the same road the park is on . . .,” Lubash said. “This is fantastic.”
The park opened on Jan. 17, she said, but few people knew about it initially, and she thought local pet owners would benefit by discovering it existed. Town of Hempstead officials said the park had a “soft” grand opening, but a bigger event would be scheduled at a date to be determined.
In the two months since it opened, more people have discovered it, but Lubash said that many more would know about it if the opening had had more fanfare.
Dogs were not previously allowed at Oceanside Park, she said, but now she takes Red, an 11-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi that she rescued from North Shore Animal League, there several times a week. The dog park is a fenced-in grassy area and is divided into two sections, for small and large dogs. There are also benches for dog owners and a water fountain.
Lubash said it was a relief to be able to drive two minutes to get to the park rather than having to drive 20 minutes or more to Bay Park or Long Beach.
“He likes it,” she said of Red. “He loves to sniff around, and I go there because I love to pet dogs, and he goes there because he loves for people to pet him, so it works out for both of us.”
She added that the park hasn’t been as crowded as expected, possibly because of the cold weather in the winter, and because it opened without a big announcement from town officials.
One person who has frequented the dog park is Daniel Strook, who said he often brings his dog, Oakley, a pointer and hound mix, to the area.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s great to have a place to go. I live less than a mile from the park.”
Strook said that even when it was cold in January after the park first opened, he still brought his dog there because it offers space to run around. He said Oakley loves people, and the park provides a place for him to mingle.
Strook noted that he used to take Oakley to Bay Park, but when the coronavirus pandemic began, he stopped going because he didn’t want to be around too many people, and the time it took to get to and from Bay Park was an inconvenience. With the vaccine providing hope of fewer Covid-19 cases, the park opening in a convenient location for him and the weather starting to warm up, he said, he planned to go many times per week.
“It’s a real pleasure,” Strook said. “I’m thrilled that they did this. They put this space that was dead space to good use, and I hope to be here a lot.”