Obviously, the number one factor in choosing a dog run is how far is it from your home. For the sake of reference, however, we’re going to attempt to compile info on as many NYC dog runs as humanly possible, because you never know when you’re going to move, a jerk is going to move onto your regular run turf, or your dog may wish to move his bowels somewhere else.
Leroy St (on the Hudson River near where Leroy Street meets the West Side Highway)
Basic Stats: This paved run (no gravel, hurrah!) isn’t that big or that close to anything, but the views of downtown, the river and Lower Manhattan make you realize why this part of town has become One-percent-ville, USA. Seriously, unless you’re a Russian oligarch, hedge-stock-fund-market-whatever/professional maker of money, or Julian Schnabel, walking in the residential area across the highway from the park, or even through the West Village to get to the park, will make you feel like you’re one missing paycheck away from being shirtless and blurry on Cops.
Placement in the Park: Hudson River Park/The Hudson River Greenway extends much farther north to 59th St, so the dog run lies closer to its southern tip at Chambers Street (you can actually bike all the way down to Castle Clinton, but the Park part ceases earlier). It’s right between the river and the West Side Highway.
Vibe Inside: Chill. Nice mix of dogs and people, because it’s hard for almost anyone to be cranky, man or beast, if you’re admiring the skyline of New Jersey, those fancy Richard Meier Towers on Perry Street, or the new Freedom Tower on a warm, sunny day.
Cons: Alas, no baggy dispensers-- there is a used plastic bag hutch, but those can be shady, and nothing beats the supermarket produce aisle-style rolls of bags that some other runs have. There is water, however, and it’s not just in the form of a hose/pool for dogs, but a fountain for humans, but this is probably because they assume that you jogged there, or walked from your common person neighborhood miles away, or, heaven forfend, from the subway, and your arduous journey has left you weakened and dehydrated. I know a woman who takes a cab home from this run because her dog, an adorable Lowchen who’s but a pup, gets too tired to walk home after both schlepping there all the way from Chelsea and actually using the run for its intended purposes.
Pros: Of course, the reason anyone would pay money to go to a dog run is because, aside from being hard to get to and BYOBag, the Leroy Street run is near-perfection. It’s a little dirty, but nothing like gravel/sandbox dirty, and you get to share a view with Lou Reed (who lives a block or so away, near the Julian Schnabel piazzo and various other buildings you will never afford to live in, even in your dreams). Plus there’s so much other nice stuff in the park, from lawns to lawn games to places where Paris is Burning was filmed, which may be much nicer now, since they used to be gnarly old piers back then, but are as cruise-y as ever. Gay dudes, rejoice!
Food?: There’s a snack kiosk a little bit north that’s open in the summer (probably starting on Memorial day), but otherwise, you can try your luck with West Village eateries that have outdoor tables, like the White Horse Tavern.
Next time: Tompkins Square Park!