New York has something for everyone—and that includes dogs. While it might seem like a giant island of concrete, New York abounds with open spaces for four-legged friends, according to longtime New Yorker Eugene Plotkin.
For Plotkin, a FinTech CEO, startup consultant, and proud dog dad, walking his canine companion is one of the joys of New York life.
“Sometimes I don’t know who enjoys the park more—me or the dog,” he said. “I get to clear my head while the dog gets to smell a thousand new things, see old friends, and burn off all that excess energy. It’s a win-win for us.”
Plotkin has a soft spot for Central Park. While the massive green space requires dogs to stay tied to their owner in most spaces, there are over 20 off-leash areas that provide plenty of room for dogs to run free. Additionally, dog walkers making early morning or late-night treks through the park can take advantage of the off-leash hours, which happen between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. every day.
“This is New York City for dogs. It’s got all the hustle and bustle of the city, but with trees,” Eugene Plotkin said. “It’s different every time. There is always something going on, and you can always get a cup of coffee or Italian ice if you feel like the dog is having more fun than you are.”
Thanks to its location, Central Park is his go-to for mandatory walks, when you simply must get the dog out of your home. But for longer, more indulgent walks, nothing beats the lawns of Prospect Park.
“This is our spot for afternoon walks,” Eugene Plotkin said. “It’s the kind of place that really helps you shake off the city. There’s a feeling of relief
The Brooklyn-based green space boasts off-leash hours before 9 a.m. and after 1 p.m., making it a great spot to while away an afternoon with your best friend. From the large open spaces to the canine beach, the park has everything your dog can possibly want. If you need to wear out a dog or grab some sunshine, Prospect Park is a prime choice.
Dogs in the city can get a similar experience at Tompkins Square Dog Run in the East Village. With three pools and plenty of leash-free outdoor space, Tompkins Square is a completely free park that was built with dog owners in mind. Not only is there ample space for frisbee tricks, squirrel chasing, and fetch, the park features special outdoor showers so you can wash your pet off before you start the journey home.
For Plotkin, it’s a den of bliss.
“The run at Tompkins Square has been around forever, so it has all the kinks worked out,” he said. “There are always great people and their dogs there, enjoying nature in the city. You honestly can’t find a better place.”
As a former high-level investment banker, Eugene Plotkin still feels the pull of the financial district. When he wants to stretch his legs and think about his next FinTech venture, it’s a sure bet he’ll head to Hudson River Park and visit the Tribeca Dog Run.
“My dog loves being near the water. It’s in his blood. He can’t get enough of it,” Plotkin said. “So, for him, being near the river is just ideal. As we get close, his tail starts to wag, and he gets his nose in the air. Of all the parks we visit, this really may be his favorite one. For me, it’s just nice to be back in this part of the city. It helps me access the number-driven side of my brain.”
Eugene Plotkin also gave high marks to a few private dog parks. The Mercer/Houston Dog run in the West Village offers well-tended green space, comfortable seating, dog pools, and plenty of water for a small annual payment.
Another dog park in the same area, West Village D.O.G., provides first-class amenities for its members. The $75 per year fee secures access to a stable of dog toys and first-aid kits, in addition to perfectly sculpted surroundings, benches, and lights.
“West Village is a more posh area of the city and that’s reflected in their dog parks,” Eugene Plotkin said. “But honestly, the fees are quite small when you consider that they’re billed annually. The benefits of a private park are that they tend to be less crowded, so you can let your dog off the leash and find a pleasant spot to sit down. That’s the advantage. When you’re at a public park, you never know if you’re going to find a seat. So when I’m really tired, a private park is a great way to let the dog get the exercise it needs and take a load off.”