The unique, everyday challenges New Yorkers face goes for their dogs, too, which makes for an unbreakable bond—a kind of "we're all in this together" connection.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that it's impossible to spend too much time with our dogs. At least that could be said for most New York City dog lovers, who, along with the rest of the state, found themselves under lockdown for seemingly endless months during the virus' earliest days. Only essential activities were permitted outside the home—of which "walking the dog" was one. So, when New Yorkers say their dog kept them sane back then, they're not kidding.
Fact is, sanity-saving is nothing new for New York dogs. The pandemic just gave them an ongoing, long-term opportunity to show their stripes. Throughout most of that scary, socially distant year, City dogs took on loneliness, stress and a Pandora's box of irrational fears without missing a beat. And their innate comic relief showed how hard it is to be depressed around one's own dog. All of which helps to explain the "pandemic pup" phenomenon—the considerable uptick in dog adoptions for 2020, nationwide. (And while we're on the subject, reports of those dogs being returned or abandoned have been greatly exaggerated, at least among New York City shelters.)
If City dogs seem particularly adept at emotional support, chalk it up to life in the urban jungle. The unique, everyday challenges New Yorkers face goes for their dogs, too, which makes for an unbreakable bond—a kind of "we're all in this together" connection. In exchange for showering them with love, care and all the creature comforts we can muster, our pups bring us a kind of lightness and joy that cannot be explained in words. But walk down most any residential street in any neighborhood in New York, day or night, and you'll see it: delighted dogs of all sizes, tails wagging, noses twitching, scurrying along with their cherished companions on the other end of the leash.
And this being New York, dogs are allowed to accompany us pretty much everywhere (and do!): beaches, boardwalks, parks, outdoor cafes, shops, the subway, taxis, even the office (when we return). In other words, dogs are as much a part of the social fabric of this City as their human counterparts. So, to celebrate our favorite four-legged New Yorkers—and to thank them for getting us through the past year of Covid—we present this inspiring photo essay. The images are unstaged, spontaneous scenes from neighborhoods all around town, each one catching a moment of that indescribable joy that dogs so effortlessly bring to our lives.
Proof that multi-tasking can be a beautiful thing. Location: Washington Square Park
If looks could stop traffic! Jersey City, NJ
Looks like these two simply adore one another. Location: Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Looks like this Frenchie knows who pulls the weight in the family. Location: Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Strolling in style in Washington Square Park
A man and his dog in Dumbo
Aren't they happy! Location: Washington Square Park
The Contemplative Two. Location: Brooklyn Heights Promenade
John Bartlett, Hug (right) Millie (Center) and Rudie (left) looking like a very happy family on West 24th Street
Snoopy, the Sheepadoodle, leading the pack on the streets of Tribeca.
While shooting in Brooklyn Heights, we found Casey from Los Angeles, out walking his friend's Golden Retriever
A woman and her dog on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. This looks serious!
An English Bulldog gazing at us curiously
A woman immersed in the day's news while her Pitbull mix poses for the camera in Brooklyn Heights
A Husky in Dumbo looking quite happy among all the pooches and legs
Justyna enjoying an early morning stroll with Jon Snow, Grace Jones, and Morgan LeFay on lower 5th Avenue
Joe Vasallo, his wife, Jamie Brown and their Sheepadoodle, Snoopy, taking a stroll on W. Broadway in Tribeca.
Two dogs belonging to New Yorker John Bartlett. On left, his Chihuahua mix, Rudie, and the Bernese Mountain Dog, Hug, on the right
These two are playing in a park in Jersey City with spectacular views across the Hudson River to Manhattan
It looks like that Golden Retriever sitting so quietly in the fountain has other things on his mind!
New Yorker Justyna Szymczak walking her three dogs in Washington Square Park, June 2021