By Terry Trucco
Considering the size of the average hotel room, it’s amazing that New York City has any hotels that allow guests to bring their pets. But pet friendly ranks have grown in recent years.
The SoHo Grand has always been kind to pet lovers, possibly because the hotel is owned by the family that founded the Hartz Mountain pet supply company. Dogs stay free of charge, and the hotel was one of the first to send up a goldfish in a bowl to pet-loving guests. But this month the hotel unleashed its grandest pet friendly effort yet — an outdoor Dog Park next to the hotel that’s the exclusive domain of pets belonging to hotel guests.
With benches, potted trees and two bright-colored fire hydrants, the brick-lined park looks like it was designed by an architect who understands dogs and people. And privacy. A black iron gate keeps out non-registered guests (and pets) and gives the park the look of a compact private garden in London.
The bricks are the real deal, from a heritage standpoint. Prior to the dogs, the site was home to
St. Alphonsus Liguori, a Catholic Church built in 1847 and torn down in 1981. The lot lay fallow all these years (the hotel arrived in 1996). But some of the original bricks survived and line the walls of the park.
The park looks like a splendid place to sip a coffee and catch some urban rays, whether you have a dog or not. And presumably, it will eventually get some four-legged traffic. (It’s been dog- and people-free every time I’ve stopped by.)