PetYen’s favorite NYC dog walking adventures in the Upper West Side of Manhattan
Here is a snapshot of our dog-walking route:
Start: 96th Street & Central Park West
Finish: Strawberry Fields, West 72nd Street & Central Park West
Distance: 1.2 miles
Estimated time without stopping: 30 Minutes
Highlights: Central Park Tennis Center – Central Park West Historic District – Barney Greengrass – Museum of Natural History – Canine Styles – Grey’s Papaya – The Dakota – Strawberry Fields.
Dog-Friendly Places in Upper West Side & Central Park
If a leafy Manhattan neighborhood chock-full of some of the city’s most spectacular architecture and bistros with a low-key family vibe sounds like a great combination to you, and if being flanked by the city’s most impressive park with a ton of dog friendly businesses sounds like something your canine buddy would wag about, then this Upper West Side dog walking adventure should not be missed.
Start at the corner of West 96th Street and Central Park West and head east into Central Park. Here you can follow one of Robert Moses’s winding; tree lined pathways to the Central Park Tennis Center. This is where you and your doggie can sit on a park bench and watch some of the best tennis players in the city hammering the ball across the clay courts. There’s an excellent chance your dog is going to find a prized lost tennis ball in the grassy fields surrounding the courts. If it’s before 9 am, then it’s off leash hours in Central Park, and you can reward him with a quick game of catch.
Continue walking south on the winding pathways, mindful to keep on the right-hand side of the Park Road as you head towards the 85th-86th Street exit. Here, you will be in the middle of Central Park West’s Historic District. Just look up to check out the finest selection of neo-Italian Renaissance and art deco architecture in the city. If you’re feeling hungry, walk west down 86th Street towards Columbus Avenue to your first pit stop, which should always be Barney Greengrass. This stalwart of Upper West Side Jewish Kosher food has some of the best-smoked fish in the city. And, while the more popular (and crowded) Zabar’s is often crowned “King Of The Nosh”, all savvy Upper West Side dog owners know that (unlike Zabar’s) you can tie your pup outside Barney Greengrass and keep a watchful eye on him through their large storefront windows as you eat your lox and bagel.
Next, continuing heading down Columbus Ave towards West 79th Street. As you approach, you’ll see the grounds of the American Museum of Natural History.
This is one of New York’s top attractions. Walk up the Columbus Avenue side of the building and take the path on the museum’s lawn, and past the New York Times ‘Times Capsule’ (established at the turn of the millennium and designed by Santiago Calatrava). The path curves around the building and up ahead you’ll see the great Rose Center for Earth and Space. Here you can admire the architecture, a stunning glass cube enclosing a glowing white globe.
Your next stop is going to be for your dog, who is feeling a bit left out (since he didn’t get anything at Barney Greengrass). Continue walking West on 80th street towards Broadway until you reach Canine Styles NYC between 79th and 80th Street.
“Established in 1959, Canine Styles is New York’s oldest and finest dog emporium with world-class grooming and an exclusive line of products manufactured for and by Canine Styles to bring you the benefit of over fifty years serving dogs and their owners”.
Canine Styles lives up to their reputation, and with a particularly fetching selection of high-end coats and accessories, Upper West Siders rarely need to look elsewhere for the latest in Canine fashion.
With all the walking and shopping making you hungry for another snack, continue down Broadway to 72nd Street, where you will want to stop at Gray’s Papaya for the “recession special” (a hot dog and a papaya drink for $1.00). We picked this lunch stop, not only for the famous NYC hot dogs, which by the way, are the best in town but for the fact that with the super quick counter service and large front windows, it’s possible to order your hot dogs while staying connected with your pup. Here’s your first local test, if you can walk your dog while juggling a fully loaded hot dog without leaving any evidence on your shirt then consider yourself a real NYC dog handler.
Our next stop takes you east on the 72nd street back towards Central Park.
At Central Park West and 72nd Street stands the brooding fortress-like hulk of a building called the Dakota (so named because the developer’s friends told him the site was so far North that it might as well be in Dakota territory). Though it’s been home to an illustrious group of tenants over the years including Lauren Bacall, Boris Karloff, Judy Garland, Leonard Bernstein, and much more, the Dakota will forever be associated with John Lennon, who was sadly gunned down outside its gates. John’s widow, Yoko Ono, still lives here.
After visiting the Dakota, head to the 72nd Street entrance of Central Park and enter Strawberry Fields, a beautifully landscaped area dedicated to Lennon’s memory. It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the park and a perfect place to find a bench and have a quiet moment with your little buddy. Take a few minutes, breathe deep, close your eyes and “imagine.”
Now that you have completed PetYen’s favorite Upper West Side walking adventure, we suggest you head back to our starting point at 96th Street and Central Park West by walking north and follow one of the meandering walking paths back uptown. Use the Interactive Central Park Map to stay on route. One helpful tip is always to stay on the left side of the Park Road.
We hope you and your dog enjoyed one of our favorite NYC walks and kept your eye out for the next edition of PetYen’s ‘Exploring NYC With Your Dog.’
Featured Image & In-post photo #1: Wikipedia / Upper West Side
In-post photo #2: Wikipedia / American Museum of Natural History
In-post photo #3: Wikipedia / Gray’s Papaya
In-post photo #4: Wikipedia / Dakota