Pico Does Manhattan

Posted July 30, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
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The lead dog has the best view

It was terrifying. I unleashed the most startling expletives as Jim expertly maneuvered the rig into Jersey City from the west.

Riding shotgun, Pico kept his cool scoping the streets with a look of smug satisfaction as if to say, “Finally some real action.”

dog friendly New York City

The city was his juicy bone. This once-feral swamp chihuahua has a taste for infrastructure and he knows how to use it, if you get my drift. The next week would be all about him.

dog friendly New York City

New York City

The thrills, the sights, the food – all, more amazing than we could have imagined while touring metro-style with a dog.

dog friendly New York City

Our original plan was to leave Pico every other day with his plush entourage.

We’d skip over the water to binge on matinees or even splurge on caviar and champagne at Tiffany’s to celebrate our 44th Anniversary month.

But this was not to be.

One of three spaces we reserved last minute at Liberty Harbor RV Park

The week before we arrived to Liberty Harbor RV Park in Jersey City – just across the Hudson from Manhattan – we learned three things:

  1. A major heatwave was on the way.
  2. Campers at Liberty Harbor were blogging about low-voltage problems resulting in no air-conditioning during peak daytime hours making their RV’s uninhabitable.
  3. According to the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) Dog Rules, a carrier is required to board any bus, ferry, subway or train.

Surrender? No way.

There was no avoiding the widespread heatwave. We’d continue to Jersey City. If the situation got sticky we could always leave, right?

Okay, first things first:

Pico needs a bag, pronto. We’d been neglecting this detail for years. A proper carrier is a vital necessity when traveling with a pet – especially in an emergency. Get on it.

After four hours of intense, expert research, Jim found a Pet Carrier on Amazon. Thanks to Amazon Prime it was delivered overnight, for free, to our remote campsite at Penn Wood Airstream Resort in Pennsylvania.

dog friendly New York City

Everyone thinks their dog-Friday is a smart pup, but we were stunned by how quickly Pico took to the new digs like, “Yeah, ’bout time I had my own office.”

dog friendly New York City

The carrier is genius too – quality lightweight construction, portable, collapsable, expandable, cozy, vented, and with every feature we wanted, plus beaucoup details and accessories we didn’t even know we needed. If only it was a hover craft … Jim keeps looking for a hidden control panel.

dog friendly New York City
With the sides down, Pico can spread out very comfortably.

Oh yeah, and a couple shots of Pico’s “happy spray” came in handy.

A few spritzes of Adaptil Travel on a “calm scarf,” lured him into his carrier.

Two weeks later, the “dog condo” is his favorite chill spot.

dog friendly New York City

I should have happy-sprayed myself on that drive into Jersey… Next time.

So, we drove in, checked in, settled in… and lost AC shore power within an hour.

Our electronics didn’t fry thanks to the Progressive EMS Surge Protector when it identified the low-voltage problem.

We raised the thermometer to the mid 70’s. Still no luck. Power failed. Was it just us? Jim investigated. Nope. Every RV in the campground had outages and blown fuses.

Fortunately, on the Hudson waterfront, the nights were cool. But in this blistering heat with no air-conditioning, Pico had to be with us throughout the daytime hours. No exceptions.

Dog Friendly New York, here we come.

dog friendly New York City

Pico digs the city

Oh, the sounds, the smells, the hydrants.

dog friendly New York City

He has some heavy dope for his San Diego adventure homie, George Harrell in Little Italy, where as pups, they ruled the street.

Pico’s buddy, George, enjoying a cold one at the Coronado Golf Course.

As we arrived, the city was abuzz with the news of tomorrow’s ticker-tape parade for the US Women’s Soccer Team.

As a pre-title lX high school wanna-be athlete, it was exhilarating to breathe the same air with that glorious team.

But the metro systems would be packed – too freaky for Pico’s first day.

pet friendly new york city

So, I ditched the guys at a pub and went around the block to a sweet hair salon for a trim and tint of “Statue of Liberty Blue” in honor of women’s sports.

Jersey City

We came to see NYC, but Jersey really tripped our trigger. Dog-friendly breweries, bistros, shady tree-lined streets, outdoor wine bars, farmer’s market, and a leash-free dog park right on the water.

And Jersey was a beautiful sight on that fateful day of the midtown blackout, when we exited the subway from Manhattan just minutes before the lights went out.

dog friendly New York City

As the investigation continues, Pico’s lawyer would would like to dispute the false accusations. “His client did not pee on that transformer.” Two witnesses will swear Pico de Gallo was no where near Hell’s Kitchen on that Saturday evening.

dog friendly New York City
So innocent!


Other than the high price of our prime location campsite, our expenses were low. Most activities were free, like sweating (haha) and taking the Staten Island Ferry.

… exploring Central Park with my niece, Maria, who is relocating to the city …

… a visit to Coney Island …

… a walk on Times Square …

dog friendly New York City

… a beautiful morning in Battery Park …

… taking in the summer scene …

… and checking out Wall Street on a Saturday afternoon …

… followed by a quick lunch in a dog-friendly Chinatown bistro.

We gave up trying to stay cool, just managing not overheat was the goal. We packed plenty of water and avoided subways whenever possible. The locals were thoughtful and stepped up to offer assistance.

That’s the spirit of New York City.

dog friendly New York City
Everything’s under control in Central Park

Kayaking the Hudson

I wrapped up the week with a LIB victory paddle from the launch at Liberty State Park parking lot (on Morris Pesin Drive near the golf course) to Liberty Harbor. Jim and Pico followed along from the shoreline.

But old ladies in inflatable kayaks make security jumpy – they almost nabbed me shouting, “We have you on camera! This is a secure area!

kayaking Manhattan

Good grief, I wasn’t even in the channel. “Yeah?!” I shouted back, “Then, where’re the signs?” The answer was basically that there are no signs. Okay, okay. Whatever.

After paddling a half mile or so north, I found one small basketball sized buoy posted “security area” So, I continued paddling north as planned, close to the shore in cool, calm waters. No harm, no foul.

My once-in-a-lifetime private self-guided tour of the Hudson ended with me docking at Surf City. No launching is allowed from their private establishment, which is only about 50 yards from the RV park. They have customer-service docking only – so we demonstrated our appreciation to their wonderful staff by purchasing beer and appetizers. It’s the American way.

Surf City
Drying off at Surf City after a fabulous paddle. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Okay, we’re outta here.

Would we ever do this again? Yes and No.

Yes, if it was in late Spring or mid-Fall. Never again in summer. With the heat and the power outages, it was like The Apocalypse.

But if LIB ever returns to Jersey City we’ll take the trucker’s route. On good advice from our camp host, we circumnavigated the metro area on our way out.

Here’s Jim’s detailed map of our safe-&-sane exit route.

Our route out of Jersey City to avoid traffic

Okay, that’s the full report. Pico’s not finished with his because he’s applying for work in Jersey – looking for something, anything at the dog park.

For a tough guy he’s kinda sentimental about sunsets.

Colgate Clock – Jersey City, NJ

FYI: Here are the MTA rules concerning dogs:

  • Small domestic pets are permitted provided they are carried in kennels or similar containers that can be accommodated by you on your lap without annoyance to other passengers. No part of the animal may protrude from the container and pets should not occupy seats. Service animals properly harnessed and accompanying people with disabilities are always welcome in MTA’s network.
  • Pets, other than service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are not allowed in the facilities and/or onboard the ferry boats, unless they are caged and/or muzzled.

If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.

35 thoughts on “Pico Does Manhattan

  1. Once again, ships passing in the night… We stopped at Penn Woods on our trip to NY but we parked this time at Croton Point Park Campground. Not as convenient as Liberty Harbor, but there is a great Brew Pub right near the entrance! It’s a nice clean CG not far from the train line to the city. I hear you about driving around Jersey City. It had to be one of my toughest drives ever.

    1. Oh no! We will be in New England until the leaves turn. We hope you see you! Thanks for the tip about Croton Point – it sounds like a viable alternative to Jersey City. We will check it out – but it appears that the truck route can get you into from the back of the park – through a very industrial dry dock lot. Other than the low-voltage problem, Liberty Harbor was what we expected. It is a great location for kayaking the harbor.

      Great to hear from you, Bill!



  2. I remember staying at Liberty Harbor and also remembering driving (Reed drove) through that area. Not fun at all.

    1. Hey Jan! Wonderful to hear from you! Yes, I can imagine how that drive would be with 3 kids in the RV! Yikes!!!. I hope you had a good time though. Let’s plan lunch when I’m back in town – but I hear they’re tearing down our campground and building a new Sun Communities resort.



  3. Loved it! The photo of Pico raising his leg in his salute to NY was great! Safe travels guys and stay cool.

    1. Pico’s peed everywhere, man
      Pico’s peed everywhere, man
      ‘Cross the deserts bare, man
      He’s breathed the mountain air, man
      Of travel, had his share, man
      Pico’s peed everywhere.

      Staying cool.



  4. Awesome blog as usual! Love the “I should have happy-sprayed myself on that drive into Jersey”……I have had a few moments towing through major cities, or narrow winding mountain roads, driving myself, when some “happy spray” would have come in handy. So nice to have you two (3) out there navigating the waters (pun intended!) for us armchair Airstreamers who learn from your first hand adventures! Love the new Petyella carrier! When I die, I want to come back as your dog 😁. Let me know when you get your next dog (parrott🙄) and I will hook you up with my awesome bird backpack carrier vendor! Happy 44th anniversary you lovebirds! ❤

    1. Aw, thank you so much for being with us, Lulu! Safe and Happy travels to you!



    1. Thank you, Cate! He is a little lover boy that’s for sure. Nothing but trouble, but that’s how most lover boys are.



  5. Hi Guys , Just to let you know I work as a Bus operator for NYC Transit MTA. We don’t enforced the pet carrier rules .

    There is no Train / Bus operators that I know of that will tell you to put your dog in a carrier no matter how big or small – seeing eye dog / handicap assisted or whatever.

    we deal w/ too many humans in this city so this is not a priority. matter of fact I’ve had Great Danes / Golden Ret – X/L dogs all the time now.

    This just started about 10 years ago when all the young newbies / millenials moved here .

    if you google pictures of what people bring into the nyc subways you will be surprise.
    I’m glad you guys had a good time – safe driving –

    P.s. Best to avoid traffic leaving NYC next time is leave before 6:00am – never in rush hr.

    Take care Mason NYC

    1. Hey Mason! Thanks so much for being with us and for your expert advice about pet-carriers in NYC.

      We were wondering about enforcement of the rule as we saw several dogs without carriers. Pico probably would have been fine without the carrier – but there’s always a risk that he will bite someone – and that makes us nervous. He’s excitable and hyper-vigilant about people touching us. So a person can get bit if they don’t know the Pico Rules – no human touching allowed. He will bark at people he doesn’t even know if they touch -shake hands or make a noise like clapping. He will also bite if a person reaches for him. The carrier gave us peace of mind because when he is in it he’s off-duty. I can see the problem with enforcement. Within that week, we only saw one operator.

      All great advice about commuting in the NYC metro area! Thanks!

      Safe and Happy Travels, Mason!


      1. Hello LIB .
        I have 2 senior rescues . black lab mix & newfie retriever mix just turn 12 yesterday.

        like they say only the doggie parents know their dog more than anyone. so if that’s a safer way to go w/carrier & piece of mind for Pico . then that would be the prudent way to go.

        I just thought you & the readers could use the info for future reference if traveling w/ their pets in NYC.

        most people even dog lovers in most instance tend to mind their own business in public transportation in the city. or they too busy staring at their smart phones.

        Safe Driving

        Hopefully a Future Airstream Owner When retired.

  6. We used to live in downtown Brooklyn, so we drove out 45’ coach and toad through there when we were transitioning out of our apartment. Air horns are awesome, although I assume it’s illegal. 😃

    1. Hey Mick! We met several locals who have used the park for transitioning and I think we had a family living next door to us who were just between moves.

      I wonder why there is no camping at the State park? It would be a perfect location and there seems to be plenty of space. It would probably be full year-round.

      Thanks for being with us, Mick!


  7. Wonderful, entertaining and informative article! My husband and I are hoping to visit NYC soon and wondered how to do it with our AS. This is a wonderful tutorial. I think we may have to leave our dog with friends for this trip, though. Even if I could find a carrier for our 120 lb Lab, I don’t think I could carry it. 😂

    1. Hey Clarice! Great to have you with us. Check out Mason’s post below – the dog carrier is optional!!!

      Also, take a look at Bill Grant’s comment about Croton.

      Safe and Happy Travels to NYC!


  8. Hey, you were in my hometown of Jersey City.
    From your pictures it looks like you were heading into the Holland Tunnel with your trailer, did the Port Authority give you a hard time about the propane? Or did you hang a right on Marin Boulevard to get to Liberty Harbor? If you came in on the New Jersey Turnpike I would recommend getting off at the Columbus Drive exit and take Columbus Drive to Marin Boulevard, it’s wider and the turns are big rig friendly.
    The person yelling at you about getting too close to Liberty Island or Ellis Island should have challenged you on not having and heeding current navigation charts that indicate the restricted waters.
    (I am posting this on both your blog and your entry on RVillage.com)

    1. Bob, we did indeed turn right on Marin Blvd and we did not go into the tunnel. Thanks for the advice on getting there next time. As kayakers, we usually do not read navigation charts about restricted waters. For us, signage on buoys has worked in the past to stay away from places we should not kayak. Since we weren’t arrested or shot at, we assume all is good. Safe travels. LIB

    1. Hey Lori! Yes, Pico is quite comfortable in metro areas. His Aunt Barbie Harrell trained him well in Little Italy, San Diego. He loves the city!!!

      Safe and Happy Travels, Lori!!


    1. Hey David! Thanks for being with us. Yes, it’s quite a challenge to be “home” in a parking lot though we’ve done that before with much more success.

      The grid failure during that heatwave was more uncomfortable than we had predicted due to the small space. If we’d had more room we could have run the A/C on our generator to cool it off for a few hours, but there was only about eight inches or less between us and our neighbors.

      We produced enough sweat to supply an entire season season of Streetcar Named Desire. I wanted Jim to grab a beer and step outside bare chested and holler, STELLA!!! but he refused.

      Enjoy the rest of the summer. Stay cool!


  9. Another fun post, Carmen. You had me giggling right from the start. Steve handled traffic like a champ when we visited the east coast last year; never mind, the horrific storm as we entered New York.

    Keep showing us the way, Veteran Airstreamers

    Kathy and Steve M

    1. Hey Kathy and Steve! Oh my!!! If it had been storming I would have bailed out!!!

      Always lovely to hear from you two. xoxo


  10. Jim’s map of the route out of the city is a keeper, for when we finally hit the upper East Coast!

    1. That’s great, Bob. We like to help when we can. There are a lot of great comments in this section that might make your Jersey City trip even better.

      We’re in Massachusetts having a great time even though it’s still hot and sticky. Hopefully, the heat will break tomorrow.

      Off to the lake!

      Safe and Happy Travels!


  11. A beautiful layer of ‘happy spray’ all throughout your share…what a fun read! Happy Anniversary, you guys!

  12. Sorry you won’t be seeing us in New England. We are already back in the midwest. Enjoy your time up there. We love Maine and New Hampshire and the Adirondacks. So much to explore up there. If you make it to Lake Placid, be sure to take the boat tour.

  13. Yes. That map shows the only sane way out of there for you. When we visited New York we stayed just above the Tappan Zee Bridge in Croton, at Croton Point Park. Right on the Hudson. They have a campground, and the train into NYC/ Grand Central Terminal stops there. 40 minute train ride (not a subway)……

    That last shot of the city dressed in GOLD! Just WOW. Well done!

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