Unfortunately it can’t be off leash hours 24/7 – I know I know I know for those of us who are human and are a little awkward using a leash, its nice to find a good dog run or two to go to and shed the old leash and maybe even kick up our feet. Here is a guide to the four dog runs that lie within the four miles of the greatest dog park in New York City, Riverside Park.
Riverside Park stretches along the Hudson River for four miles from 72nd st to 158th st. In the 70s the park is made up of unique pieces of art which remind me of Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. The higher up in street numbers you move the more rural and open the landscape becomes meaning the more mischief your dog can get into… in a good way.
To understand Riverside Park its important to note it sits on a slope which provides a depth to the park offering something for everyone. There is the street level, were a sidewalk runs along Riverside Drive offering great site seeing for historic monuments such as General Grants Memorial on 124th and Soldiers’ and Sailors Monument on 89th.
Then there is the middle level, which consists of community gardens, playgrounds, basketball courts, walking trails, restaurants, (Ellington in the Park on 104th and the Boat Basin on 79th) and dog runs.
The lower level part runs along the Hudson River, and its ideal to bike ride, run or walk. This trail can get busy and we recommend avoiding this with your dog during high commute and weekend hours. There are also wonderful benches that span along the Hudson River and a few grass spots, providing the ideal location to watch the sunset over the river or people watch.
But let’s get back to the middle level of Riverside Park AKA DOG HAVEN primarily because of its unique terrain which provides dogs with a refreshing alternative to the concrete jungle. Please note: If you do decide to enjoy the off leash hours we recommended doing so between 96th st and 123rd st. This area has more space for the dog to run without being restricted by gardens or off limit sections to dogs.
During the off leash hours, dogs roam this section of the park, meeting and greeting each other, playing fetch, doing their own dog darn thing. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. the park belongs to the humans but besides that the park belongs to the dogs. During the ‘human hours’ as they are called in our household, Riverside Park provides four dog runs which serve as a fun and safe spot for dogs and dog loving humans.
Breakdown of Riverside Park Dog Runs
Since Riverside Park does sit on a slope there are specific entrances that will bring you to each dog run.
Two Dog Runs on 72nd Street
Dog Run 1 – 72nd street – This dog run sits within the mid-section of the park, to get there enter from 72nd st and walk towards the river. This park is wide open providing space for your dog to play, but the shade is limited. This park can get dusty and hot but it offers a plenty of space to play fetch with your pooch!
Dog Run 2 – 72nd street Riverside Park South Dog Run – This dog run sits by the Hudson River. To get there follow the instructions for Dog Run 1 but continue walking through the tunnel and down the stairs. Once you get to the Hudson River head south (left), walk for a few seconds on the Hudson River and then follow the bike path up to the left, past the baseball field, and towards the highway. The park is hidden behind the baseball field and it sits under the highway, creating an urban industrial setting. You can also get here if you enter in from the 68th street park entrance and follow the bike path north (to the right). The dog run is at the end of the basketball courts. This is the largest dog run of the four and offers the best view of the Hudson River. Since it sits under the highway there is nice shade. It isn’t your conventional dog run but its one of our favorites because it rarely gets busy and it provides a cool urban setting. We also like this dog run because it has wood chips instead of gravel and is usually less populated than the others. This dog run doesn’t offer a small dog run only but small dogs are more than welcome!
87th Street Dog Run
To get here enter from either 86th st or 87th st and walk into the park. There are two entrances to this dog run, one on the north side and one on the south side. The south side entrance is also were the small dog run is located. The dog run is located within the middle section of the park. It is a decent size dog run offering space for everyone one and there is a nice balance between shade and sun.
105th Street Dog Run
To get here enter from 104th st entrance and take either the ramp or stairs, then walk north. Alternatively, enter at 106th, take the stairs, then walk south. The park sits on the middle part of the park adjacent to the Ellington in the Park. It is a decent size park, the benches are located under large trees around the exterior, and the dogs run in the middle. This park can get dusty, similar to Dog Run 1 at 72nd st. The nice thing about this dog run is that after your pup has gotten all their energy out in the dog run, it doesn’t hurt to walk right over to Ellington in the Park and pick up a refreshment! PS Ellington in the Park is a dog friendly restaurant.
Each dog run above provides fresh running water and water troughs to cool down in, tools to pick up after your dog, benches and plenty of space to allow your dog run off leash and mingle with other dogs and dog loving humans. 72 st south dog run is the only dog run that doesn’t provide a dedicated small dog space. We recommend experiencing them all.
If you are going to risk it for the biscuit and take your dog off leash during ‘human hours’, please note the police have been known to write tickets worth $200+. You have been warned 🙂
Thank you to each dog run community in Riverside Park, you keep a clean, comfy and welcoming dog run. Our dog family loves them all! A special thanks to the Riverside Park Conservancy who does a wonderful job keeping up the park’s natural beauty.
Riverside Park Conservancy’s dog walking manual