Gretel and I recently had the privilege of attending the Nestlé Purina Better with Pets Summit in New York City. We stayed an extra couple of days so we could experience a bit of the City. In Part I we left you in Times Square with the most epic picture ever of Gretel (the most epic non-hiking picture anyway).
Did you miss part I of our NYC adventure? Click here to start from the beginning.
After that, we made our way back to the hotel and then walked to Central Park so I knew how long it would take us Wednesday morning. Then we walked back to the hotel, hopped in a cab, and ate dinner at the dog friendly restaurant The District with a friend. The District staff were very friendly and the restaurant had a heated outdoor patio.
The next morning we were shuttled to the Better with Pets Summit… where we got to meet the Instagram famous Tuna from @TunaMeltsMyHeart.
The Better with Pets Summit was pretty amazing. It’s an invitation-only event and I was honored that they asked me to attend. I listened to leading experts share some of the latest information about emotional wellness and the evolution of the bond between pets and the people who love them. We heard about how sled dogs revived the vitality and culture if a little Alaskan Village, how Millennials are changing our relationship with cats for the better, how to manage your pet’s stress to enhance their well-being, and how pets help children grow and thrive.
We were pooped after a full day of learning and schmoozing but we couldn’t sit still at the hotel. We still had more New York City sights to check of our list so walked a few blocks to Grand Central Station. Honestly, It wasn’t as exciting as I had imagined it would be but I got a great little history tour from a fellow pet-industry gal who grew up in Manhattan.
The next morning we checked out of the hotel and made the 15 minute trek to Central Park. The plan was to spend 5 or 6 hours there exploring until we had to go to the airport.
The first place we stopped was the Balto statue to take a picture with our adventuring friend Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund (well, his book anyway).
Balto was a Siberian husky sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage to Nenana by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. The run is commemorated by the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (source: Wikipedia)
We briskly walked about 3/4 of the park. We didn’t make it to the North Woods but we did see Belvedere Castle and stumbled upon a few beautiful views like this.
Before we ran out of time, I asked our Instagram friends if there was a landmark in the park that we must see. They suggested this.
It’s clear that people come from all over the country, and probably world, to see this tribute to John Lennon at Central Park’s Strawberry Fields. We had to wait for about 15 minutes before I could get this photo of Gretel. People seriously pushed us out of the way to get their perfect mural shot. Not very in line with the peaceful purpose of the memorial if you ask me but whatever.
People lined the surrounding benches while guitar-strumming musicians sang their version of the John Lennon classic Imagine.
After about 5 miles of hiking around Central Park we were hungry. I did a lot of research about dog friendly restaurants in New York before we left and several articles said the Shake Shack by the park was a must. We arrived to find that dog friendly meant a few doggie items on the menu but no outdoor seating and a hitch to tie your dog up outside. I was NOT going to leave Gretel tied to a hitch on some New York street corner.
I scooped her up, smiled nice at the door attendant, explained that I had clearly read that this restaurant was dog-friendly, and he let me place my order quicky with her in my arms (totally not allowed to have dogs inside the restaurant but I was starving and had my heart set on the Shake Shack). I waited just outside the door until our order was called, ducked inside to get it, and then walked across the street to eat on a bench.
We spent our last half hour in Central Park sitting on a rock and watching the world go by. Gretel got teased by Mr. Squirrel a lot as I watched the carriage horses.
So that was all we were able to see in Manhattan in 3 1/2 days. Honestly, it was scarier and more nerve wracking than any hike we’ve done. Being from Seattle, I am no city newbie but New York is so crowded that I always had to be on high alert walking Gretel. The incessant honking of traffic was unnerving too. People are generally too polite to honk in Seattle so it’s not something I am used to.
At least it’s checked off my list now. I hear New York City is a spectacle you should see at least once. We did.
Disclosure: Purina paid for our air travel and hotel to New York City to attend the Better with Pets Summit. I paid for an extra night at the hotel so Gretel and I could spend a little more time exploring the City. Everything I may say about the Better with Pets summit is true – It was amazing! – and Purina is not responsible for the contents of this article.