When the holidays finally and along I could not wait to take some time off and relax. After the last six months of having a hectic schedule and all the stress of settling down in a new environment in an new city I was overwhelmed and really ready for a vacation. Frenchie (that’s my french bulldog) and me could not wait to travel to the next vacation destination on our list (or should I say petcation destination). New York was next in our list.
Although I have been to this vibrant city before, this would be my little french bulldog’s first visit to the Big Apple. I had heard so much from so many friends (with pet canines of course) about all the amazing sights and sounds of this dog friendly city!
Frenchie and me could not wait to catch our flight to New York.
We were so excited and looking forward to this much earned break that we were packed and ready one week in advance. In fact I lost count of the number of times Frenchie unpacked and repacked (with my help of course) his favourite toys and chewy bone. My Frenchie and me selfies, videos and laughs later when the final day for our departure arrived we were so eager to catch our plane. Of course we went through the usual flight issues and finally arrived in New York.
No matter how much you may have heard about New York as a newcomer, this bustling vibrant megacity never fails to amaze. The first walk through this huge bustling city is just difficult to describe. And let me tell you it was no less overwhelming for my Frenchie. The sights, sounds, sirens, people on the pavement walking (more like rushing to reach their destinations) are just amazing. I could just sit at a café and watch absorbing all that for some time. In Frenchie’s caseit was all these and also all the many smells of New York that just knocked him out. His tail would not stop wagging and I could feel his excitement. New York was truly captivating.
Described below in my blog are some of our favourite haunts during our visit to this city. We had chosen to stay at the Hotel on Rivington, a fantastic hotel on Rivington Street (lower east side). It was a really nice and extremely pet friendly (despite the pet liability waiver forms) and they also have a great dog friendly restaurant called Cafe Medi.
Moving around in a new city (new for your pet or even for yourself) can be a daunting task. Whenever we plan to visit a new city and I am travelling with my pet Frenchie, I always make sure I have looked up the do’s and dont’s of pets and transportation. Most cities have their own rules for pets travelling with their parents including for travel on public transportation. I have learnt from experience that it’s better to know the local transportation rules when travelling with pets. And New York like most other cities in the US has rules allowing or restricting canines and pets.
The best mode of transport was known as Dog Taxi’s
While walking around New York, I preferred simply to walk around with Frenchie and exploring the city. I understood from friends that the best way to move around the city of New York is still taxicabs and walking. There are also special dog car services (also known as dog taxi’s) which can be used to travel in and around New York. We tried one and found them expensive without any real advantage.Our next best mode of transport after walking became a regular taxi cab. Travelling with your pets in a regular taxi in New York depends on the taxi driver’s disposition towards pets.
As per the city rules, a taxi driver need not take a dog in his taxi cab. However if you carry a dog blanket and keep the cab seat clean, a pet friendly cab driver, will often allow canines inside his taxi cab. Especially in case of small dogs like french bull dogs travelling in a regular taxi is no problem. At least in case of my friendly Frenchie, he was loved by most of the cab drivers who drive us. I was refused twice to be honest. Even so we took down the number of one of the taxi cabs whose driver was dog friendly and thereon tried calling him as much as was possible.
Different forms of public transport we used.
Other forms of public transport such as the train, buses and the subway also allow dogs provided both pet and pet parent follow the rules and comply with restrictions. Small dogs in bags or carriers are allowed on the Long Island Railroad, Long Island Bus Service, New York City transit buses and subways. Small dogs on a secure leash or in bags or carriers are also allowed on the Metro North railroad. PATH trains allow small dogs in cases or carriers. However we didn’t take any of these except when the distance justified it simply because I am not one to put Frenchie in a carrier. For the same reasons we also skipped the subway since it does allow dogs but in a carrier. My Frenchie doesn’t like to be in a carrier ( he feels insulted I think) so I usually avoid putting him in one a much as I can.
We also used public transport when we went for a ferry ride. A friend had told me that my visit to New York with my Frenchie would be incomplete without a ferry ride. Following this advice as it came from a good source we had two ferry rides on our holiday itinerary. Sure enough Frenchie and me just loved taking the Fire Island Ferry round trip. We also took a scenic view ferry trip on the Seastreak ferry.
The Fire Island Ferry
On the Fire Island Ferry all dogs must buy a ticket and the great thing was that dogs can sit anywhere. We had chosen this ferry for that reason alone. Of course we chose to stand near the rails upstairs first and then also inside and downstairs second and then again inside and near a window third !! As it was the first time Frenchie had been in a ferry we often kept changing where we sat with Frenchie in the lead, and much to the consternation and amusement of fellow passengers.
As for the other ferries, the Seastreak ferry also allows tiny dogs in a carrier to sit inside. Scenic views also on this one. On the Seastreak ferry all dogs allowed outside are on a short leash. To be honest the best views are to be seen in the Staten Island ferry. I have been on it when I travelled to New York minus my Frenchie. However the Staten Island ferry only allows dogs with a muzzle or in a cage. For us that was out of the question so despite the scenic views we skipped this one completely simply since I could not get myself to do that to Frenchie.
Our next most favourite spot to visit in New York was the Central Park in the heart of Manhattan island. Frenchie loved it also although mostly I was doing all the walking and strolling since I was carrying my french bulldog much of the time. As any french bulldog pet parent or breeder will confirm Frenchies are not ones for much strenuous walking. Central Park however is gentle strolling with many tranquil spots and amazing trails to follow about. But even so there were many spots in Central Park when even Frenchie could not resist the temptation to jump down and sniff about here and there.
We spent a most enjoyable and amazing morning here strolling and sniffing about in the middle of a beautiful natural environment with grassy areas and shady tree lined walking paths. A rule to note is that Central Park allows dogs only before 9 am and after 9 pm. All dog owners must make sure their dogs remain on leash except in the notified areas. There are over 12 dog fountains throughout this beautiful park in Manhattan. And pet parents must remember to clean up after their dog.
Our second favourite dog park although a tiny one was the Sirius Dog Run. Frenchie loved this place which turned out to be a wonderful surprise. Frenchie especially loved frolicking in the water features in this dog run. The Sirius dog run is located at 385 s End Avenue (Liberty Street) New York.
You can see their Facebook page for a map if you require. It is really clean and nice. This dog run is named after a rescue Labrador retriever PAPD K9 Sirius #17. Sirius was in the K9 bomb detection unit and lost his life rescuing humans during the 9/11 tragedy in 2001. Other pet friendly places worth a visit are the Pier 26 TriBeCa Dog Run, Madison Square Park Dog Run and the Prospect Park dog beach.
Restaurants to visit with your frenchie
Most New York cafes and restaurants in spring and summer have an outdoors patio where dogs and pets are allowed. As per New York City rules however dogs are not allowed inside a restaurant. Overcoming this impediment most dog friendly restaurants have an outdoor patio that allows dogs who are not allowed inside food serving areas due to the city’s health code.
Our favourite eaterie or restaurant was the Shake Shack at Madison Square Gardens. Simply because it serves both pets and pet parents. So many times I have been to a cafe or a restaurant where Frenchie was given a water bowl or a treat and had to wait on leash in the outside patio or outside or next to my seat, while I ate. Shake Shack allowed us both to eat together since it also has a menu for dogs and Frenchie just loved getting his very own independent meal bowl. He could not believe the whole order was especially for him.
The NYC Shake Shack locations throughout the city all have a dog menu and serve the same pooch – ini and also the bag-o- bones. Basically pooch-ini is a bowl full of dog eatable custard with biscuits topped by a swirl of peanut butter. While this has dairy and nuts – do look out for these if you have a pup or small dog, most dogs love gobbling it up. The bag o bones pack is a bundle of Shake Shack’s own in house baked biscuits. We visited Shake Shack more than once although at different locations in NYC. The Shake Shack at Madison Garden Park was our favourite as it was not just a treat for my pet Frenchie but we also visited the Madison Square Park Dog Run.
Another place worth visiting to have a meal with your pet canine is the Boris and Horton dog friendly cafe in East Village. It’s not a dog cafe in the usual sense as you don’t have pets up for adoption here but this is a dog friendly cafe (as they like to be known as). I remember it as one of the few places where I shared a great meal with my pet dog Frenchie sitting side by side.
Usually that’s top on our criteria list for shortlisting favourite eating places. Boris and Horton has a separate section where food is not served and allows your dog to be indoors with you. So when we walked in we were wondering how it would be, where we would eat and sit but it’s very simple really. I simply ordered my meal and Frenchie’s meal and then carried it away and found myself and Frenchie a table to sit and eat on, in the ‘doggys are allowed’ side of the cafe. So it is indeed a dog friendly cafe while still complying with the health code because of the glass wall separating the area where food and drinks are served from the area with the dogs.
Some more places where Frenchie and me ate a meal were West 79th Boat Basin Cafe, Rosie’s East Village (serves Mexican cuisine), Bar Pitti 268 6th avenue which serves great Italian fare and is, I believe, a celeb pet parent favourite although we didn’t see anyone when we visited.
Some things we missed but hope to catch on our next visit to New York are the annual Bark in the Park; the winter Jam at Central Park and a Petrography photo session with my pet Frenchie. We have added these to our itinerary for our next Big Apple trip of course we have to choose the travel dates according to the events.
The Bark in the Park is an annual event held by the Brooklyn Cyclones which invites you and your dog to buy tickets for watching a baseball game at the MCU Park in Coney Island. It is organised as a part of the Mayor’s alliance for NYC animals. You can purchase tickets (in 2017 it was $ 12 a ticket) and each ticket includes one person and 2 dogs in the bleacher section. This year this event is scheduled for July 2018. You can buy tickets if they are available on the day of the event itself at the Cyclones box office or if you prefer in advance online.
The Winter Jam sounds like a very interesting way for me to introduce Frenchie to snow. So now in addition to our July big game visit we also have a winter snowy visit to New York now on our bucket list so that we can visit the Winter Jam in New York. It is usually held in January at Central Park in the bandshell area. It is an annual winter sports festival for New Yorker’s and their dogs (I would be happy to tag along with my friend and fellow pet parent) and they do have a doggie snow zone also. This festival includes sledding, snowshoeing, and tasting produce and goods from the New York winter market.
New York was by far one of our favourite vacations and we have many plans to revisit it together Frenchie and me.