New York, New York. The city of lights.Wait no, that’s Paris. New York, New York, The Big Apple, The City of Dreams, The City that Never Sleeps, The City So Nice, They Named it Twice! And really really nice it was.
When we announced that we were taking Pip on a trip to NYC, there’s was a small group of people that were worried for his safety, and thought he shouldn’t go. But the weather here at the beach has been so windy and gross, and Pip wanted to get out and explore somewhere, anywhere, so bad! So when the opportunity presented itself, we had to take it! We knew he would love it. And we ourselves have been to New York a lot, so it was hardly unfamiliar territory. However, we had never been with a pet before.
New York is extremely pet-friendly, just like Savannah; however, it’s so pet-friendly that we found many places allowed dogs, but would not allow a cat. Literally, some places were so packed with dogs that they didn’t feel comfortable letting in a cat. And we get it, they don’t know Pip, they haven’t seen him out and about with dogs before, so we obliged.
After days of contacting places (because hello, New York is HUGE and we were not about to take a taxi across town just to be told we couldn’t come in with a cat)- we had a solid list of places that we could go! And a hotel to stay at! Now, obviously we recommend these places not just because they accepted our little Pip, but also because we liked them a lot! We had so much fun in New York, we want to go back as soon as possible. The people on the streets walking around were obsessed with Pip. So nice to him, so welcoming, so interactive. We have so many new fans that we met out and about in the city.
Now we have always known that Pip is pretty much fearless, and even some of the things he once feared (for example elevators), he doesn’t anymore. But we had no idea how he would react to city life. We agreed that if at any point Pip presented signs that he was uncomfortable, we would go straight back to the hotel. But there wasn’t a moment in the trip that Pip acted even a little bit out of place. He fell asleep halfway through his first ride on the subway! A cat so bored of the subway that he falls asleep? Now that’s a fearless cat.
So a huge thanks to everywhere that welcomed Pip and everyone that we met! We know a lot of you followed along with our adventure, but here it is all in one place in case you want to go anywhere we did! Also as always, never hesitate to contact us directly firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever have any questions or want to get in touch with us!
The Algonquin Hotel
It was a no-brainer that Pip just had to stay at the Algonquin, and after we introduced them to Pip they graciously offered for us to be their guests courtesy of Mr. Hamlet VIII- the orange rescue-cat that calls the hotel home and his caretaker Ms. Alice. Hamlet was a little worried that Pip was trying to take his job away from him! But have no fear Hammie- we would never do that!
The Algonquin Hotel is not only in an awesome location (just a few short blocks from Times Square itself), but it has a feline history like no other! The hotel has been around since 1902, and has had a resident cat since 1923! For 15 years Billy the cat lived in the hotel, two days after he died a stray wandered into the lobby looking for food. The hotel immediately adopted the cat, first calling him Rusty. Rusty was eventually renamed to Hamlet, thus beginning the lineage of Hamlets, that has been interrupted by a few Matildas. In a few short years, the Algonquin will have officially been housing a cat on the premises for 100 years!
Pip and Hamlet VIII met briefly upon check-in, and then had an official breakfast together on Monday morning at 6:30am. Hamlet could not have been more welcoming. The Algonquin has two custom made cat trees, one next to the front desk, and one that allows Hamlet to sit in a window that looks out onto the street! He also spends a lot of time on top of the keyboards at the front desk, or hiding in plain sight. One couple behind us said how they were sad they didn’t see Hamlet during their stay, and I said, look, he’s right there! They had no idea to check his tree!
According to the hotel’s website Hamlet enjoys “daily brushing, birthday parties, and fashion show benefits.” He was found “in a feral colony on Long Island and now delights fascinated guests of the Algonquin.” In order to keep track of New York’s feral cat population the city uses something called eartipping. “Eartipping is the universal sign of an altered feral cat” (https://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how-to-tnr/veterinary/eartipping). It has also proven to be the simplest, safest, and least harmful way to make sure that people working with a feral cat colony or TNR can identify which cats have already been spayed or neutered from a distance. So, if you look closely, you will see that Hamlet is missing the tip of his left ear.
What is so great about Pip and Hamlet’s stories, are that they both were once little homeless street kittens- but now are living the life of luxury! Hamlet at the Algonquin, and Pip on the beach of Ocean City, Maryland. And this is why we, with Hamlet, adhere to the “Adopt Don’t Shop” mentality when it comes to choosing our pets.
Pip Sees the Sights!
Pip spent a considerable amount of time sight-seeing. He loved seeing all the new places, and smelling all the new smells. And he even experienced two new kinds of transportation!
On our first night in town, Pip headed straight to Times Square. The Algonquin was close by, so we just had to walk a few blocks from the hotel before we were directly in the hustle and bustle! He was amazed by all of the lights and kept sticking his head out to look up at the tall buildings. People were fascinated by his bubble, but we kept a low-profile and after he got to have his first ever New York Hot Dog- we took him to a little “quiet” spot to see if he wanted to hop out for a minute. And that is when Pip got his picture taken in the middle of Times Square! He really wanted to run around the whole place, but there were just too many people. So we put him back in his bubble and went out for the night!
What’s really cool is that there are so many people in NYC trying to get places at one time that the prices for Uber/Lyfts were really affordable. We took several shared Lyft rides around the city Saturday night, and it only cost $4 per person.
Our first stop was to the Oldest Bar in all of New York City- McSorley’s Old Ale House! While it is up for debate if this is really the oldest bar in NYC, they claim it, and offer a vintage-bar experience. It’s cash only- duh. There’s literally cash all over the place. And they only have two beers. You get light or you get dark. That’s it. You order two at a time, so it’s two little beers for $5.50. Or if you want you can order one at a time for $3. There is sawdust all over the floor and history strewn all over the walls. For a Manhattan bar, you can’t beat the price, and it is clearly the place to be. Everyone is super friendly that works there, but you are also immersed in an environment where there are so many people, having so much fun, that you’re bound to make some new friends. And they might even be famous! We ended up next to the artist Paul Davies, who stopped by alone on his way to a party- what a pleasure it was!
Now, full disclosure, because we never want to misinform you, this bar is NOT pet-friendly. It is the only place in the city we snuck Pip into. He stayed in his bubble the whole time, until the end when we snapped a few pictures and he just stuck his head out. We would have come without him, but it was on our way to the pet-friendly bar we’ll tell you about next, and this trip was about Pip, so we weren’t going to leave him alone in the hotel room! But if you’re looking for cheap beer, a cool environment, and an interesting experience, then head to McSorley’s and step back in time!
Our next stop was Black Door. While a lot of people will know Black Door as an event space in Chelsea, it is also a low-key, pet-friendly, candle-lit bar! They don’t serve food, so they can be pet-friendly even in the winter, indoors. You’re more than welcome to bring your own food with you, or order takeout nearby and bring it with you. It’s a fun spot. There was a group of friends celebrating one’s birthday next to us, people meeting up for drinks before heading out for some late-night partying, and there were couples on dates.
It was a really chill spot, with a cool vibe. Perfect for us, and perfect for Pip. The bartenders were really wonderful. We are simple drinkers, and since we’ve poured our entire life-savings into Pip’s book project and business we are always looking for some cheap beer. I mean come on, we’re from Ocean City, the land of Natural Light. So. $4 PBRs were a pleasure. Pip had brought his dinner with him, so he ate it here, and then took his spot at the bar to watch all the action. One of Pip’s favorite things to do is sit high up on a stool so he can see all around him and observe. If anyone is good at people-watching, it’s Pip!
Next time we are in the city, Black Door will be our spot for sure!
We had gotten to the city late on Saturday afternoon, so the day was soon over. We headed back to the Algonquin and tucked ourselves in for the night. We knew we had a jam-packed Sunday! Pip chose to sleep under the bed. And then around 5am started squeaking. We said, “Pip!! No— it’s too early!” So he jumped up on the bed and snuggled in for a few more hours. But by 8am it was time, he wanted to explore some more! So we packed his bag (traveling with Pip is like traveling with a newborn baby!) and headed out for the day.
Our first stop was Central Park. Pip quickly took to the large rocks and started running all around, smelling, looking, climbing. We gave him about an hour to play and play and play. He chased little leaves, he dug in little patches of dirt, he climbed all over the rocks. Central Park has so much to offer that you could spend an entire day there. Even more! But we only had a short time, so we packed Pip up in his bubble and took a short stroll. We found a crepe truck and settled in for a quick breakfast. And then it was time to see what Pip thought of the Subway.
Pip has never been afraid of cars or loud noises (other than horses) so we weren’t worried about taking him on the subway. I mean this is how New Yorkers get their pets to the vet if they don’t have a car, so it wasn’t a crazy place to have an animal. The subway allows animals, but they “must be in carriers.” Some people have come up with some crazy carriers for when they need to transport their pets.
Pip went through the terminal with ease, made some friends while he waited for the train, and hopped on for his first ride. He sat in his bubble, sticking his head out when he felt like it. Before we knew it, he was asleep. Yes, asleep. On the subway. So clearly he didn’t care about it at all.
But when we hopped off we saw a rat! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Next we visited the Bull on Wall Street…
Staten Island Ferry
And then, since the subway went so well, we weren’t even worried about the Staten Island Ferry. What’s cool about the Ferry is that it’s free! You get to pass by the statue of liberty, there’s food and drinks available for purchase, and then you head back. So Pip officially got to ride a boat, and see the Statue of Liberty all in one!
The Brooklyn Bridge
When you ride the ferry back to Manhattan, you are just a short distance to the Brooklyn Bridge. So we popped Pip back in his bubble and started walking! We weren’t planning on crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, but the weather was so nice, we did! The pedestrian walkway is just a tad bit over a mile. So it was a quick and easy walk. Pip actually got a lot of new fans on the bridge! He took photos with people, and we watched various art projects being filmed as we went along.
Brooklyn is extremely pet-friendly. Which makes sense. But this is where we ran in to trouble. There were lots of bars that would let dogs in, but would not let Pip in. We were able to find two cool places to chill for a bit. The first one was the Five Boroughs Brewing Company. They make their own beer of course, and have a clean-warehouse sort of vibe. There were lots of groups there playing board games, and a few other dogs too! The taproom is really spacious and comfortable. The staff is very welcoming and knowledgeable. When I think of Brooklyn I think dark, dungeon-like, underground bars, but this is much more modern feeling.
Next we went to Mission Dolores. They loved Pip there! And he had a beautiful candlelit dinner. This was the sort of Brooklyn Bar we were looking for. They were more dive-like in appearance with pinball, darts, and a handwritten chalkboard menu. But there was an extensive beer list, and a staff that could not have been nicer to Pip. There is a standard main bar, surrounded by low-sitting tables with short stools. We opted for a little table and settled in. Pip got to eat his dinner here, and then settled in to relax. He spent some time meeting everyone that works there, and then slowly but surely began to fall asleep. This is how we know Pip is comfortable somewhere. If he closes his eyes and drifts off, we know he feels safe. So we let him sleep, while we explored all the different beers they had. This is the type of place I think of, when I think of a Brooklyn Bar.
We took one last subway home to the Algonquin and settled in early, as we had a 6:30am breakfast appointment!
At 6:30am we went down into the lobby of the Algonquin Hotel. And there waiting for us, with a silver bowl of our very own was none other than Hamlet! We shared a meal, and got to know each other a little better.
Then it was time for me to practice my tricks a few more times, and head off to my meeting with an animal talent agency! Fingers crossed they call us for a job someday (and that when they do, my hair is all grown back in!)