A Dog Owner's Guide to New York City
by Heidi Ran Chen, all images Sabrina Page. Model: Blueberry
Sure we’ve all done it. But did you know that the ability to have Fido sit with you at your fave outdoor cafe actually rests on the good graces of genial restaurant staff who are willing to flout state and health code in the face of fluffy cuteness? No pooches, except official service dogs, are technically allowed on the premises of food-service establishments. But New York’s dog-lovers may have cause to rejoice: the state Senate recently passed a bill that will allow, provided our good Governor sees fit to sign the thing - our four-legged besties to join us at our favorite al fresco dining spot, legally.
Even with that victory, New York’s many dog-owners are still faced with a seemingly crushing dearth of activities, events, and places they can go to and do with their pets. But one of the better perks about living in this tight metropolis is that there really is no such thing as a lack of places and activities, only a lack of information. To that end we’ve compiled an incomprehensive list of awesome outdoor things in the city to which we can, in fact, bring our dear pet along. Knowledge, fellow dog-loving humans, is power - the power of sweet canine companionship.
Lucky Dog, 303 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
This dive bar is both hipster- and dog-friendly, and allows both to roam freely both inside and out in the fairly-sized backyard patio. There is a gumball machine of dog-treats, which will keep Gilford occupied while you sample the many beers on tap and play a round of shuffleboard.
LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City
You can’t take your dog to MoMA’s PS1 Warmup, so this nearby watering hole might be the next best thing. With a spacious backyard and a dog-friendly policy, you can enjoy the craft beers on tap, worry-free, and even order delivery from your Lab’s favorite taco spot.
Barking Dog Luncheonette, 1678 3rd Ave, Upper East Side
The very dog-friendly and very popular UES brunch spot has a doggy fountain outside where your dog can “socialize with other furry friends” while you nosh on cafe fare. The outdoor sidewalk seating is great for people-watching too.
d.b.a., 41 1st Ave, East Village
The well-curated craft beer, bourbon and scotch bar is a favorite among connoisseurs. The spacious and greenery-covered backyard welcomes your four-legged friend, so if you happen to be an appreciator of both fine scotch and dogs, you’re in luck.
Mission Dolores, 249 4th Ave, Park Slope
Mission Dolores is a lively local spot with a spacious outdoor patio and lots of games - pinball machine, board games. There’s a decent beer selection and a dog-friendly policy, with plenty of seating for both human and canine friends.
Unfortunately, most NYC beaches do not allow dogs during the summer season. Neighboring Brighton Beach and Coney Island Beach are notable exceptions (pups are allowed on the boardwalk and promenade only) and both offer plenty of attractions that’ll make a day trip with your dog to deeper Brooklyn well worth it.
Brighton Beach, known as Little Odessa, is an hub for Eastern European immigrants and culture (if you’re thinking about pierogies right now, you’re our kind of people). The community is close-knit but friendly, and the neighborhood, as well as the beach, are perfectly family-vibed destinations. Spend a day chilling on the boardwalk with Spot, then head to Brighton Beach Avenue, the community’s main drag that’s lined with dozens of markets. Grab some choice snacks of smoked fish and meats, along with your standard kielbasas and blintzes, and head back to the boardwalk for a delicious, waterfront picnic with your loyal buddy.
Coney Island, the quintessential NYC getaway, needs little introduction. With the boardwalk bursting with sights, attractions, and activities during the summer, Coney Island is a tried-and-true destination to bring your pup and catch some colorful leisure time.
During summer weekends, the boardwalk at W 10th street is also home to outdoor dance parties that last from early afternoon to the evening, allowing you and your pup to finally be able to bust a move together in the great outdoors. Plan your trip for June 20th and you’ll be able to catch one of Coney Island’s most famous events: the awesome and zany annual Mermaid Parade.
Every Sunday during the summer, this ever-popular seasonal food market brings throngs of foodies and scenesters to Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5. With tons of delicious treats, a few stalls serving up cooling brews, and a famously gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge Smorgasborg might just be the most buzzy event you can enjoy with your dog.
Located at the LES corner of Hester and Essex, this seasonal weekly street fair brings together a well-curated selection of artisanal food, jewelry, clothing, crafts, home goods and other vendors. Bring your pooch along for a day of shopping, eating, and people-watching. (And yes, you should probably reward your pet-devotion with that vintage kimono/original framed whale print/third pizza scone.)
During the summer months, Madison Square Park has free concerts on the Oval Lawn every Wednesday. Featuring an eclectic mix of genres and dog-friendly policy, this free music series a great way to spend a fine weekday evening with your dog.
The bi-annual outdoor art show features works from local and international artists, who’ve brought their jewelry, metal work, ceramics, photography, sculpture and craft work to the sidewalks of University Place. Stroll from East 13th Street south to Waverly Place with your pup and feel good about spending time with him/her and getting your recommended intake of art at the same time.
Not is this artistically-forward Astoria park dog-friendly - though they do have to be kept leashed everywhere - it is also home to a rotating roster of contemporary, site-specific artworks. Take Fido to this spacious, waterfront park any day of the week to enjoy the current installation exhibits or check out one of the many special events they have going on, from music/theater/dance performances to circus events.
Summer Outdoor Movies
NYC’s summer outdoor movie screenings seem like a great way to enjoy some culture with your cinematically-inclined pet (sometimes you think he/she appreciates Fellini’s tragic irony even better than you). Unfortunately, only a select few statedly allow canine viewers:
Summer on the Hudson Picture Show is one of the more scenic outdoor movie events, with waterfront views and twinkling reflection of city lights as film backdrop, and it also allows dogs on leashes, as long as they’re not taking up chairs intended for human viewers. Screenings take place at Pier 1 of Riverside Park Sourth every Wednesday from July 1st to August 12th.
Red Hook Flicks, boasting pier views and proximity to great seafood, Ikea, allows well-behaved, leashed dogs. Screening take place every Tuesday from July 7th to September 1st at the Valentino Pier.