New York City is a sensory overload. You love it or hate it. But, there’s a lot of fun, dog friendly activities in this city to do, and life is never boring. Here are just a few of my favorites with Sophie and Jasper.
People/Pup Watching: NYC is a very social place for dogs. Just walking down the street, you’re likely to encounter dozens of them, sometimes being walked by the same person! Neighborhood dog walkers and people just out for a romp with their pups are everywhere, in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s fun to grab a seat at the park and watch.
Where do we like to do that? Our favorite places, which we rotate are the Hudson River by Chelsea Piers, and Madison Square Park. The river is preferable first thing in the morning. It’s relatively quiet, except for runners and people napping on the grass. In the spring and summer, it’s a great place for the dogs to have some nature time. Sophie and Jasper love laying and playing in the grass and there are very few places in NYC that allow dogs to do that. The river isn’t one of them, so if it’s early enough, we do sneak them on the edge so they can have a dog moment.
Madison Square Park is much, much smaller than Central Park, very well kept and a great place for squirrel and bird watching! When we first got Sophie, she was smitten with them but, after a while, they lost some of their allure. Jasper, on the other hand, is a mix of all hunting breeds. He goes bonkers when he sees them. I’m hoping he desensitizes a bit sometime soon. We love walking the paths, taking seats on the bench or at one of the cafe tables by the concrete pond and chilling. Around the holidays, they have a lovely Christmas tree in the middle of that pond, which no longer holds water. Madison Square Park is our comfort zone and you never know who you’ll see there. One day, we saw Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with a crew filming his new show.
After spending time in the park, we’re hungry! There are lots of places you can eat with your dog. We like Cafeteria in our ‘hood, because they love dogs, give them treats and let you keep them by your table. Some restaurants here require you to have your dog on the other side of a barrier, so they technically don’t have dogs in their restaurant space. I guess it makes it easier on them with the Health Department, who are very strict. Cafeteria is no fuss and the food is really good. They also have an interesting clientele and staff, so you never know who or what you’ll see. That includes the dogs. One day, we were eating curbside with a friend and a black and white jester Great Dane came lumbering up. A small designer lap dog-type approached from the opposite direction. You couldn’t plan what ensued. The cutest play session involving the most unlikely couple, and we had a ringside seat.
On rainy days, we sometimes go shopping for both mommy and doggies. Dogs are allowed in Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Bergdorf’s and Barney’s and most boutiques. Puppy patience is rewarded with a trip to one of their fave places – Pet Central for treats at the counter and purchases of their favorite bully sticks, Townhouse Grooming for ultra delish Yak Milk Bones (a fave of Jasper’s) or a short walk to Hannari, where one of my fave dog designers from Japan, Creative Yoko, has a shop. I bought Sophie’s ultra cool Snoopy London muscle t there.
For those who love water or who may need water-based physical therapy for an injury or condition, there’s Water 4 Dogs in Tribeca, an awesome facility with a warm pool germ-treated via ultra-violet light, so there’s no chlorine or other chemicals to worry about. They also have two water treadmills, and community swim sessions,where you can bring your pooch to frolick in the pool with other fur kids.
As the day winds down, we take a walk up a couple of blocks to 27th Street, where F.I.T. is located. Its’ one of Sophie’s favorite streets because she loves running through its breezeway. We’ve made it a game, since she was a puppy, and it always elicits a big smile. We also love people watching by F.I.T. The students are so creative with their clothing; I never know when I’ll get a fashion idea!
New York City may be noisy, dirty and crowded, but it’s also exciting, interesting and fun. Like Dorothy, to me…there’s no place like home.