Successful Retirement in NYC, 3 – The Pet Experience

February 27, 2015

When we decided we wanted to spend four months in NYC, we also decided we wanted to bring our 75 lb Golden Retriever, Rufus, with us. Rufus is eight years old, and while we are comfortable leaving him with a caretaker for a few weeks while we travel internationally, we didn’t want to leave him for four months.

Rufus is used to doing his “business” on grass and taking long walks in a wooded area. We figured NYC would take some adjusting so, in preparation for the city,we began to take him for walks in urban areas, and since we would be living in an elevator building, he began to take rides in elevators. All this went well.

On arriving in NYC, he seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the smells: food, spills, dog business and other things. He seemed amazed that dogs do their business just about anywhere. Now he has learned to do that also. He was used to greeting almost everyone we met on our walks and took some adjusting to the fact that many people didn’t want to say “hi”.

His elevator experience was fine, but he hadn’t gone up more than three floors. Now we go up 28 floors with people getting off and on. Looking out the apartment window, he seemed initially uncertain about all the little people and little cars and trucks.  I think he’s figured it out now.

He loves Central Park. We are near the northern end of the Park which has a nice woodsy area called, appropriately enough, the North Woods. There are streams and paths and lots of wildlife – just like home

The City can be dirty in the winter and it is easy for Rufus’s fur to pick up that dirt so lots of towels are in order. There is a lots of salt and sand on the sidewalks which can be tough on the feet so many of the dogs wear boots. Rufus was frequently stopping and holding up a paw for me to clear his pad of debris so I decided to try a set of boots for him. I got one on, he held his paw up, looked me in the eye as if I was nuts, and declined further boots.

We took him back to Connecticut this week for a brief visit and seemed seemed happy to be there. But on our return to NYC, he seemed just as happy to be here.

Overall the experience has been good. I just wish more New Yorkers would pick up after their dogs – not hard to do and there are disposal receptacles everywhere.

R. Kevin Price

© 2008-2015 R.K. Price




Successful Retirement in NYC, 2 – Getting Around

February 10, 2015

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down.
The people ride in a hole in the ground.

Yes, we do ride in a hole in the ground and that works pretty well for the most part. The subway lines go up and down town in a fairly convenient way; but there are few underground cross-town options.

Buses go up and down town as well as across town but you need to stand outside to wait for them.  And, compared to subways going in the same direction, they are slower.

There are apps for your smartphone which will keep you apprised of routes, schedules, delays and even the imminent arrival of your bus or subway, but I still use a Streetwise Manhattan map to help plan my movements.

As a senior you can get a subway/bus pass that gets you 50% off.

Taxis are everywhere but I find most of them a bit cramped for my 6′ 4″ frame. A taxi alternative is Uber or other private car system. With Uber I can order up an SUV on my smartphone and track its arrival. Uber has my credit card so no money needs to change hands in the car. I have found the cars to be neat and the drivers professional. It can be a bit pricey: in a recent snowstorm I watched the estimated cost of my ride go from $17 to $25 to $38 in less than three minutes.

I have my car in the City but I would not use it other than to get back and forth to Connecticut or maybe a Target run to Mount Vernon for paper goods etc. Parking is terrible and many drivers are very aggressive. I have seen taxi drivers deliberately hit cars they didn’t think were moving fast enough.

The most interesting aspect of getting around has been walking. NYC is a very walk friendly. My wife and I frequently walk across Central Park to get from the upper west side to the museums on Fifth Avenue (we were at the Guggenheim today). My son suggested I get a Garmin wrist band to track my exercise and I have found I am walking 6 to 8 miles a day! This has been great at offsetting the caloric intake from NYC’s many fine restaurants.

Back to New York, New York: one of the most fun plays we have seen is On The Town with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Comden/Green. Highly recommended!


R. Kevin Price

© 2008-2015 R.K. Price