Looking outside the window today on this balmy first day of spring, I’m transfixed by the glittery surface of the Hudson River and the procession of boats up and down it. As I see all the dogs promenading up and down the tree-lined Esplanade, my mind is drifting back in time to all the fun my dog, Katie, and I had here, in Battery Park City, a little town built on water.
For those who don’t know it, our neighborhood is tucked away at the southernmost tip of Manhattan, built on the land fill created when the World Trade Center was first constructed. The charm of the place is that it’s so hidden away, though impossible to leave once you’ve discovered it. Here there are playgrounds decorated with fanciful sculptures, playing fields brimming with Little Leaguers, expansive lawns for sunbathing, and plazas for outdoor concerts. I write all about it in the introduction of Katie Up and Down the Hall–in a section titled: Welcome to Battery Park City.
My new puppy, as yet unnamed (any suggestions?!), is arriving on May 1, and what she’s going to discover here is a waterside world filled with winding trails, parks, and gardens with flowers of every kind. There are 80 species of birds. There are duck ponds with waterfalls and restaurants perched along the water. And the backbone of it all is that magnificent tree-lined Esplanade with grand English oaks and river birches.
And that’s not to mention the dogs!–hundreds of them in every shape and size here, more than 400 in my 35-story building alone.
The new puppy will never get lonely, that’s for sure. I know that Katie never did. She made friends with fellow dogs, seniors, kids, and even a mounted police horse named Walter–who is featured in the book. Katie loved Walter and would whack him on the face with her paw, then kiss his muzzle, while he licked her back in return. I’ll have to introduce Walter to the new puppy.
So, today, on this first day of spring, I’m sitting outside on Katie’s favorite park bench, directly opposite the Statue Of Liberty. I can see her trotting along the river’s edge, racing for tennis balls in the park, chasing squirrels, snoozing under a willow tree, stealing nacho chips at our local Mexican restaurant, taking sunset cruises on a local sailboat, greedily licking m pistachio ice-cream cone on a hot summer night, and like all dogs, searching for the best smells and tastiest treats available to her.
All Katie’s adventures up and down the hall–and up and down the Hudson–are coming in fall, but just for today, I’m savoring the memory of it all. I hope all you dog owners and lovers are having a long happy walk with your canine buddies–for our time with them is all too short. That I know for sure.