Locals in ‘panic mode’ over closing of beloved NYC dog café, rally together to save Boris & Horton

Logan Mikhly and Coppy Holzman launched a fundraiser Friday morning that has raised over $70,000 by Friday afternoon -- and it's still growing.
Logan Mikhly and Coppy Holzman launched a fundraiser Friday morning that raised over $70,000 by Friday afternoon.

When New York City’s first dog café Boris & Horton announced that both their East Village and Williamsburg locations will be closing on Monday, Feb. 26, owner Logan Mikhly felt like she hit a low.

“It’s been a roller coaster. I think I’ve never felt lower or more disappointed in myself when we announced that closure,” she told The Post.

While it’s been a ruff time, she was paw-sitively in awe of locals’ support.

“Immediately, people rallied around us and started sharing what the café means to them and were basically like, ‘No, you can’t close.’ I got this immediate sense that the community was bigger than just me and my dad.”

Logan Mikhly and Coppy Holzman, the father-daughter duo behind New York City’s first dog-friendly café Boris & Horton. James Keivom
Logan Mikhly and Coppy Holzman, the father-daughter duo behind New York City’s first dog-friendly café Boris & Horton. James Keivom

‘Panic mode’

Logan and Coppy, the father-daughter duo behind Boris & Horton, opened the city’s first dog-friendly café a little over six years ago on the northwest corner of Avenue A and 12th. It quickly became an East Village “staple.”

Ever since the closing announcement, they started to hear from people about their memories at B&H and how monumental moments of their lives occurred there. People shared stories of meeting their neighbors, going on a first date, meeting their partner there and even starting a business from the back of the café.

Amanda Gerzog, a digital marketer in NYC, told The Post that Boris & Horton became a “happy place” for her, especially since she doesn’t have a dog in the city.

“In the past week, the community has almost gone into panic mode at the thought of losing this place. We’ve really come together and formed even closer relationships, just trying to rally together to figure out how we can help,” Gerzog said.

As a loyal customer who wanted to do anything she could to show support, Gerzog created a GoFundMe dedicated to the staff who will be out of jobs come Monday — and raised over $20,000 within one week.

“It’s just really been a happy place and a constant in my life for six years, and they bring something to the table in terms of a local business that no one has really done in the East Village before,” she said.

‘There’s just a real sort of energy’

Mikhly, who has a background in animal rescue, and her entrepreneur dad Coppy Holzman, realized there was a market for a dog-friendly experience that includes eating and drinking, so they combined forces and hit the ground running.

“We always say that dogs are a catalyst for conversation,” Mikhly said. “I think having the dog-friendly environment and a really welcoming community space allows people to come into the café and chat with their neighbors and get to know each other.”

There’s a “real chatter and buzz” from the moment you step foot into either location and though people do come in to work, they aren’t as locked into their screens as usual.

“I notice that they’re looking up from their computers a lot more often, and they’re talking to their neighbors,” she added. “I think because the dogs are constantly moving around, you’re interacting with the dogs and there’s just a real sort of energy and community and openness that you don’t find in many other places in New York.”

Regulars refer to it as their “third space” and some mention that they picked their apartment just because it’s on the same block as the café.

“The community that has formed in both locations is just incredible, and you really get that vibe from just sitting there,” Gerzog shared. “There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t start a conversation with someone else.”

Boris & Horton quickly became an East Village “staple.” Helayne Seidman
Boris & Horton quickly became an East Village “staple.” Helayne Seidman
People do come in to work, but they aren’t as locked into their screens as usual. Helayne Seidman
People do come in to work, but they aren’t as locked into their screens as usual. Helayne Seidman

It’s not just a place for humans, as Gerzog pointed out — it’s a safe haven for dogs as well.

It’s become a place for people to bring their dogs who need to let off extra steam during the work day, give them a place to socialize with other dogs or make sure dogs get a little extra attention while their owners work remotely.

A doggone struggle

The customers might not have been aware, but Boris & Horton was struggling for “quite some time.”

“A few people even came up to us and just said, ‘We didn’t know you were hurting. We’ll come more often and we’ll spend more money.’ And we’re like, oh, we probably should have announced sooner,” Mikhly said.

Boris & Horton is not just a place for humans — it’s a safe haven for dogs as well. Tamara Beckwith/NY Post
Boris & Horton is not just a place for humans — it’s a safe haven for dogs as well. Tamara Beckwith/NY Post
A Corgi meet-up at Boris & Horton in 2019. Tamara Beckwith/NY Post
A Corgi meet-up at Boris & Horton in 2019. Tamara Beckwith/NY Post

“It’s just been a lot more challenging than we expected,” Mikhly said, adding that the opening of the Williamsburg location didn’t go the way they wanted — the beer and wine permit was delayed, there was “basically a dog pandemic” during the busy holiday season and the state of the world wasn’t in a “happy place.”

“Over the last several months it’s just been really, really tough and we made the decision. It’s been something we’ve been talking about, but we made the decision officially like a week and a half ago,” she shared.

Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them, and some told the owners that they would be willing to do a recurring donation or membership.

Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them.
Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them.
Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them.
Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them.
Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them.
Customers have been “going crazy” for the merchandise, wanting to take a piece of Boris & Horton home with them.

But Mikhly and Holzman didn’t want to gate the dogs in any capacity or make it a place where you have to pay to get in. “It kind of goes against the ethos of the café and the community spirit and the low barrier to entry,” Mikhly explained.

Mikhly and Holzman aren’t giving up, though. They launched a fundraiser Friday morning that raised over $70,000 by Friday afternoon — and is still growing — and commissioned local artists to make items such as T-shirts, hats and mugs for subscription boxes that customers can purchase and receive monthly.

“I just kind of got this feeling like, we have to try to have this Hail Mary and keep pushing for the people. And I felt like everyone was willing to do their part,” Mikhly said.

The donations to the Save B&H Fundraiser and the proceeds from the subscription boxes will hopefully create a strong revenue stream for the duo, which would help with business planning and give them “a bit of an insurance plan, essentially.”

However, B&H will shut its doors on Monday even if it hits its $250,000 goal.

“The East Village café has been open for six and a half years, and as you might imagine, dogs are really hard on space,” Mikhly explained.

The plan is to fix up the place — deep clean, paint, fix the air conditioning, replace furniture, edit the menu — as well as dive into the actual business planning and potentially bring in a manager to delegate responsibilities.

“We want to take a pause and really look at everything … I think the only way to conquer this thing is for us to close down [both locations] or for a week or two.”

If Boris & Horton were to close permanently, Gerzog admitted it would be “a noticeable emptiness” to the East Village.

Whether they decide to shutter for good or just a few weeks is ultimately up to the support of the public, but Mikhly and Holzman are grateful either way.

“Even if this fundraiser doesn’t work,” Mikhly shared, “it’s just truly heartening to see how people have rallied around us.”