Wed Sep 21 2011
Photograph: Noah Fecks
Enjoy the fresh air with Fido in these untethered areas.
Long Meadow Dog Beach in Prospect Park
Dogs are free to take a dip at this paddle spot, which features a small faux-sand cement beach that leads into a fenced-off pool for splashing or swimming (or striking up a game of doggie water polo). Dog Beach can get crowded, but feel free to take advantage of canine-friendly areas at nearby Long Meadow (off-leash 5--9am, 9pm--1am) while you wait for the pack to thin out. Enter at 9th St and Prospect Park West (718-965-8951, prospectpark.org). Daily 5am--1am.
Riverside Park Dog Run at 72nd St
Boasting three dog runs and ample leashed rambling space, Riverside Park's got plenty of spots for Rover to get some exercise outside of your cramped living quarters. The park's southernmost run at 72nd Street sits right on the Hudson River just a few blocks below the Boat Basin, offering dogs and their owners a sweet view of the sunset during evening outings. The corral features a large pebbled off-leash space, along with a number of circular benches for spectators to sit and watch the pets romp around. Riverside Dr at 72nd St; additional dog runs at West 87th and West 105th Sts (212-870-3070, riversideparkfund.org). Daily 6am--midnight.
Chelsea Waterside Park Dog Run
Located just off the West Side Highway, this newly renovated dog run features cement hills, a faux tree trunk and raised surfaces for dogs to play on, as well as running water and small pools for cooling off. Just a few steps away, kids have plenty of space to tire themselves out in an outer space-themed playground that matches the sleekness of the 'hood's taller riverside constructions. Eleventh Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts (212-627-2020, hudsonriverpark.org). Daily 6am--1am.
Dog Run at the East River Esplanade
Designed by landscape architect Ken Smith, this high-tech doggie heaven under the FDR Drive opened in July, along with the rest of the newly extended East River Esplanade. Petite though it may be, this sanctuary has plenty to keep your pet busy: Dogs can scramble up a climbing bridge, frolic at the splash pad, or lounge in a cozy doghouse. The run also offers creative canine playthings like fake tree trunks, bones and an oversize concrete squirrel. South St between Maiden Ln and Wall St (212-619-5000, nyharborparks.org). Daily 7:30am--9pm.
The ultimate backyard might not have any official dog runs, but Central Park offers dogs and their owners an abundance of grassy knolls and sweet spots for wandering. A number of park areas hold off-leash hours in the early mornings and late evenings (6--9am, 9pm--1am), and even boast ankle-level drinking fountains for thirsty four-leggers. Central Park Paws, a dog-focused branch of the Conservancy, sponsors a number of pet-friendly park events; its annual My Dog Loves Central Park Country Fair happens Sat 24 at the Naumburg Bandshell (enter at 72nd St, 11am--3pm). 59th to 110th Sts from Fifth Ave to Central Park West (212-310-6600, centralparkconservancy.org). Daily 6am--1am.
Tompkins Square Dog Run
Dubbed First Run, this East Village off-leash dog area was a pioneer when it opened in 1990. Since undergoing a renovation in 2008, this pet spot features a sandlike surface, a wading pool, picnic tables, tennis balls and lots of room for dogs to ramble, with two separate enclosed spaces for large and small canines. The community-run Friends of the First Run organizes a number of dog-and-owner-friendly events, including a Halloween Dog Parade sponsored by the City Parks Foundation that goes down Oct 22 at noon (with prizes awarded for the top costumed pooches). E 9th St between Aves A and B (firstrunfriends.org). Daily 6am--midnight.