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.