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A Smooth Start for Ruff Club

IMG_8689Laura Gurfein A four-legged friend gets his first look at Ruff Club.

“Come on in the back, where the magic happens!”

Alexia Simon Frost, a co-owner of Ruff Club, led a small group of people and their dogs into the large playroom with walls dotted with decals that look like supersized nail polish art, where more pets and humans were already congregating. For the first time on Saturday, Alexia and her husband, co-owner Danny Frost, along with six staff members donning matching dark gray zip-up hoodies with the company’s orange crossbones logo, welcomed the public into their East Village “dog-friendly social club” for an open house to recruit membership.

Though the doggy daycare and boarding center with its lounge for owners to work or socialize while enjoying complimentary coffee and WiFi doesn’t officially open until January 2, the newlywed couple greeted neighborhood pet enthusiasts this weekend for a tour of their 3,300 square-foot, two level space and invited them to fill out applications. The first-time business owners, both 29, were keen to present themselves to the neighborhood as an innovative enterprise that fills a void in the East Village. So intent, in fact, that Danny stood outside for a time to entice anyone walking a dog to step inside.

It’s easy to tell why they see an opportunity here. A stroll through the East Village is teeming with four-legged friends, and the Frosts figured it was only natural that dogs and humans alike were looking for a place to congregate. In fact, the New York City Economic Development Corporation estimated in September that there are approximately 600,000 dogs in New York City, and up to 55,000 dogs in the area that Ruff Club hopes to serve. Few stores and cafes in the neighborhood allow pets (The Bean, a small franchise with two neighborhood outposts, is an exception). As Danny puts it, the East Village community is “very eager for, essentially, urban living rooms, like a place to hang out, particularly with your dog.”

IMG_8690Laura Gurfein

Alexia and Danny inherited their attitudes towards dogs from their parents. The Simon family got a Keeshond, a large gray German spitz with a curlicue tail that looks like an oversized version of its Pomeranian cousin, when Alexia was eight years old. They named him Astro. “My dad had one when he was growing up. That’s how we ended up with one,” she explained of her first dog at her childhood home in Roseland, New Jersey. Danny’s parents, meanwhile, resorted to lying to keep furry nuisances out of their household.

“What was the story she told you?”

“I think my mom told us there was an allergy-type problem,” he replied. “It was just never even really a remote possibility, and probably as a kid, I just, you know…“

“You pick your battles,” Alexia chimed in.

“My mom, my parents, they hate animals. And my sister and I, therefore, always wanted pets,” Danny said of his childhood, split between Queen’s Bayside and Long Island’s Plainview. “Um, we ended up with fish.” Read more…

Community Board Agenda: 34 Avenue A Back in Play, Plus a New French Spot

jubbsDaniel Maurer Former home of Jubb’s Longevity.

Community Board 3 has released its April calendar of meetings. Looking at the S.L.A. Licensing committee’s agenda: A company by the name of Downtown Dining LLC, which pursued the 205 Club space on the Lower East Side before Matt Levine took it over, is now going after 5 Avenue A, which happens to be the address of neighborhood fixture Nice Guy Eddie’s (no one picked up when we called the bar to find out whether it may close). The former Mo Pitkins and Aces and Eights space, 34 Avenue A, is back on the calendar, this time with the mysterious Great Life Hospitality Group pursuing wine and beer there. Read more…