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Q: Is there anywhere in this city where a dog can legally run around free of his leash -- maybe even catch a Frisbee?

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A: There are plenty of places for your dog to run like the wind, but be advised: With freedom comes responsibility. A Parks Department "courtesy policy" permits your pooch to roam free only between the less-than-convenient hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. There are other restrictions, not the least of which is city law, which, strangely enough, contradicts the parks' policy by stating that dogs must be leashed at all times. Any NYPD or Sanitation Department officer can issue a summons at any time, though word on the street is, if you're compliant with a request to re-leash your dog, the odds of getting fined are remote.

Dog owners can also take advantage of the city's public and private dog runs. Some are as large as an acre (such as the one at Peter Detmold Park, at 51st Street and Beekman Place) and may even include adjacent puppy runs (there's one at Carl Schurz Park, East End Avenue at 86th Street). Upper West Siders should try Theodore Roosevelt Park (Columbus Avenue at 81st Street) for canine cavorting. Beyond the public-park options downtown (including the run at Washington Square Park), dog owners can put their name on a waiting list for the Hudson River Run at Pier 52 (at Gansevoort Street and the Hudson River), one of two membership-based runs in the city (annual fee: $40). Brooklyn and Queens offer only one dog run each, DiMattina Park in Carroll Gardens (at Woodhull and Hicks Streets) and Windmuller Park in Woodside (Woodside Avenue at 55th Street), respectively. To find out where other dog runs are located, call 800-201-PARK.


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