If you’re a dog-parent, you know who’s in charge when it comes to dinner time, walkie-walks, squirrel hunting and finding a home. When James and I decided on moving to New York, my partner and I knew that our two Shiba Inus, Candy and Fonzie, would decide where we’d end up. We knew they’d love Central Park, which is heaven on earth for canines. But beyond that, we weren’t sure where to land.
I had joined the actors union in January and wanted to be in New York immediately for audition season. A quick online search for a temporary furnished apartment provided some promising results. However, I’d heard a number of nightmare stories involving subleases and Airbnb. I wanted a turnkey situation with zero chance of bait-and-switch or landlord conflict and that’s exactly what Blueground seemed to offer.
Within an hour of emailing them, I was looking at my new home (everything in New York happens very fast, I’ve since learned). The photos were gorgeous, the price was within budget, and the location was within walking distance of my auditions. Plus, I couldn’t think of a better place to spend a month exploring my new city than Times Square.On New Year’s Day, a taxi dropped me and my bags off in front of my new home in the heart of the theater district. The concierge handed me the keys as the elevator doors behind him opened and two dogs leaped out, dragging their owner behind. Home!
Over the next month I saw dogs nearly every day coming in and out of the building, encouraging me to reach out and ask the owners about their experience. Most said their dogs had grown accustomed to the “sidewalk lifestyle” – something Candy and Fonzie, lifelong Southern Californians, weren’t going to be cool with. I wanted them to come out as soon as possible, but I needed to find another place first.
I spent an afternoon exploring the Upper West Side and had that “we can do this!” feeling. James, my partner, was not planning to come out until the end of audition season in May, but I decided to move things up. No doubt in my mind, the “Pupper West Side” would be the perfect place to introduce Candy and Fonzie to New York City. Another e-mail to Blueground and we found our new home: The Sagamore, just north of Barney Greengrass and walking distance to my new job at Steps on Broadway Dance Center.
Move-in day couldn’t have gone better. James had driven cross-country with the dogs and was (understandably) ready to relax. Thankfully this check-in was as seamless as the first. The unit, just as the last one, looked exactly as the photos depicted, and was equipped with everything we needed. The building even boasted an enclosed dog area in the courtyard on the 3rd floor. The only daily struggle would be deciding where to walk the dogs: Riverside (on the Hudson) or Central Park. Usually, we’d let the dogs decide, but sometimes even they seemed unsure. An embarrassment of riches—and squirrels abound.
During our third month in NYC, I auditioned for a play at the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side. This is an area we hadn’t considered as it is on the other side of the park from the theater district. After the audition, James and I decided to do some exploring and came across a true hidden gem in New York City. Carl Schurz Park, aka the holy grail of dog lovers. Carl Schurz, which is unknown to many New Yorkers, is the definition of a city refuge. It features two enclosed areas for dogs, a huge playground for kids, incredible landscapes and a wide promenade with amazing views of the east river and Roosevelt Island. The park also houses Gracie Mansion, an antebellum yellow colonial where the mayor and his family live. Also plenty of squirrels, naturally.
After that visit, we added Carl Schurz to our list of walk destinations. We’d put the dogs in the car (which we had decided to keep since street parking is mind-mindbogglingly easy and safe), traverse Central Park and walk Candy and Fonz down the promenade, enjoying the families, the other dog-parents and the tugboats. It wasn’t long before I e-mailed Blueground again. This time I requested a pet-friendly apartment in Yorkville. The Upper East Side is almost as new to us as the city, but with every passing day, it feels more and more like home. It’s not the hippest or most exciting neighborhood but for now, it is our sanctuary in the city that never sleeps. Which is more than either James or I had hoped for.
In New York, you hear a lot about the lack of downtime and the need to hire others to do things that most people do themselves. Such as shop for groceries, walk the dogs, pick up the kids from school, and so on. You also hear a lot about how time-consuming it can be to find a place to live – and to commute if the right place isn’t available or affordable. More than anything, Blueground has given us time to explore our new city together. All while still doing the things we’ve always enjoyed doing as a family. We may not be New Yorkers quite yet but we have experienced more of this city in a few months than many do in years.
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