When it comes to play areas, beauty is in the eye of the owner
Most Manhattan dogs spend the majority of their time cooped up in apartments, often bored and alone. They frequently rely on the kindness of neighbors or professional dog walkers for their daytime outings. But walking slowly on a leash only goes so far toward keeping them fit and happy: To maintain their physical and psychological wellbeing, they rely heavily on the dog runs that dot the city"s parks.
Gary Rosenberger, a financial journalist who is a long-time owner of rescue dogs and a strong canine advocate, believes running is essential for city pooches.
â€œDogs need exercise to stay sane, Rosenberger said.Â â€œWhen it"s time to leave the dog run, the owner has to chase the dog around with the leashâ€¦ the dog doesn"t want to leave.
Uptown Manhattan has plenty of places for dogs to run and play. (For a list of dog runs throughout NYC, visit nycgovparks.org/facilities/dogruns.) But dogs and their caretakers have many well-founded opinions about which is the best. An informal survey revealed several of the area"s most popular runs.
For Christina Vernado and her peppy Bichon Frise, it"s all about attitude. Vernado prefers the dog run in Riverside Park at West 105th Street because people are not as protective of their dogs.
â€œThis is where they learn how to be around other dogs, she said.
At the 105th Street run, the energy is high and the views are great: Dogs of all sizes chase each other in circles and owners play along or sit at sunny picnic tables, with the Hudson River as a backdrop.
Robert Druck is the owner and founder of Dog Run Fun, a canine â€œplay group and walking business. He said Upper West Side dog runs's and particularly 105th Street, which is the biggest in the area's are the best because people are less â€œuppity about the rules.
According to Druck, a three-dog-per-person rule is enforced in some runs because owners complain, concerned that large groups with walkers can quickly turn into unsafe packs, potentially starting fights and preying on other lone runners. But holding dogs outside to wait their turn doesn"t exactly inspire calm, says Druck. Other owners wait until they know a large group will be there so their dogs can be more social. Luckily, most dog runs have an enclosed area for smaller.
The dog run in Morningside Park is â€œa bit of a secret, according to dog walker Marina Gorey. The shady, wood-chipped spot is a short walk down the stairs and the path from the 114th Street entrance to Morningside Park. Finding it the first time is a bit tricky, but the hilly trek is perfect for energetic dogs and walkers.
Further downtown, the Riverside Park dog run at West 87th Street has a much calmer vibe. In addition to the dog bowls, water access and plastic bags offered at most dog runs, West 87th has a tub for cold hose-water baths on hot summer days.
Owners can also use the raking tools provided there to clean up dog waste, a refreshing alternative to the hand-in-grocery-bag technique. Dog walker Max Boingeanu prefers the 87th Street one for its tranquility. Near the 72nd Street spot is the dog-friendly Boat Basin CafÃ©, where dogs and their humans can enjoy the sunset and a cool beverage together.
For East Side residents, the Carl Schurz Park on East End Avenue at 86th Street is a favorite. Dog lovers will enjoy this park"s annual â€œHalloween Howl dog costume competition.
Owners should be familiar with dog run rules and etiquette before venturing into any dog run. A list of rules can be found centralparknyc.org/visit/general-info/dogs-in-the-park/. Vernado also suggested that owners â€œunderstand that this is a place for dogs to be dogs. She discourages bringing expensive toys, as they can easily be taken or ruined by other dogs. It appears to be a dog-eat-toy world out there.
Trackback from your site.