June 15, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The Long Island City Partnership held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a series of new dog-themed art installations in the Court Square section of the neighborhood on Monday, June 12.
The installation, which includes a bench shaped like a dog bone and a large dog collar, was erected at Rafferty Triangle, located between Hunters Street and 44th Drive. It also includes a large fire hydrant and two music boxes that play original songs from Queens-based musician Yanko Valdes and students from P.S. 111 Jacob Blackwell on 13th Street.
The exhibit, which will be on display through Nov. 1., was designed by the Manhattan-based LeMonde Studio while Queens artists Ashley Betito and Kerri Boccard created the colorful designs on the music boxes.
The exhibit marks the beginning of the Long Island City Partnership’s summer initiative called “Dog Island Summer,” which aims to highlight the neighborhood’s friendliness to dogs and its welcoming public spaces for canines.
For instance, Long Island City features a variety of dog-friendly amenities and parks, including the LIC Dog Park on Vernon Boulevard, as well as dog runs at Gantry Plaza State Park, Hunter’s Point South Park and Hunter’s Point Community Park. Many Long Island City restaurants, cafés, breweries, and art institutions also provide dog treats and water bowls to embrace the canine community, according to the organization.
As part of the initiative, the Long Island City Partnership is providing a fun array of programming for local residents and their dogs this summer.
City Councilwoman Julie Won joined Laura Rothrock, president of the Long Island City Partnership, at the light-hearted event, along with representatives from the Long Island City Partnership, vet operators, and local business owners. Local canines in attendance received free treats and dog desserts.
Rothrock said that Long Island City embraces its large dog population and the businesses which support them.
“Long Island City Partnership is proud that our neighborhood is home to so many dogs, and this art installation pays homage to our community’s dog-friendly attitude, businesses and spaces,” Rothrock said.
She named local dog Hudson Be Good, a golden retriever, as Long Island City’s Dog Ambassador for the summer. The dog, via its owners, has a big following on Instagram and they aim to shine a light on pet-friendly businesses and places to visit in Long Island City throughout the summer.
Meanwhile, Won said it was important for the community to come together to support its dog population.
“When it comes to keeping our district beautiful and pet friendly, it’s not just about enforcement, it’s about building community so that we know our neighbors, we know our furry friends, and we have resources available like fun public art displays as well as dispensers with free dog bags to help keep our parks and our streets a pleasant space for all to enjoy,” Won said.
Dr. Keith Manning, the owner of The Veterinarians at Court Square in LIC, also attended the event, as did Eli Kliger, the founder and CEO of Instavet, and Lisa Blanco, the co-founder of Second Chance Rescue, a nonprofit which rescues and rehabilitates injured or neglected animals.