What better way to spend Family Day Weekend than with your fur family? If not, spend it in NYC celebrating them at the new American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.
Lining up on the stairs in front of the AKC Museum of the Dog in the Big Apple, I’m ridiculously excited. An entire museum dedicated to dogs? Well, in this case, dog breeds because the AKC runs the country’s oldest purebred registry.
The Dog Museum opened February 8th on 101 Park Ave near Grand Central Station, after the facility moved from St. Louis where it existed for 30 years. Attendance wasn’t as high as expected in Missouri, so NYC it went. Now housed in a shiny office building, the museum increased admission to $15 per person (from $6) and – to a continuous reaction – removed the ‘dogs welcome’ status.
The Museum of the Dog is about dogs, not for dogs … just those who love them.
And there are many because minutes before the doors open on Sunday, people are waiting to get in. Some bought tickets online, to expedite the process a bit. Others, like me, pass the time quickly watching the steady stream of video dog silhouettes prance across the top quadrant of the museum’s front windows. Which breed will run along next? Interestingly, it’s easy to identify each based-on gait and confirmation.
But that’s kind of the point of an organization dedicated to the perfection (sometimes controversially) of a variety of breeds – from purse to mini-horse sized.
So, what fills the three floors of the AKC Museum of the Dog?
Art mostly, dog art – many Victorian-style hyper-realism portraits, documenting the name of the piece, the artists and … the dog breed represented, of course. In fact, that’s how the museum is curated. Other items include sculptures, ceramics from two centuries and curiosities like the flight suit of Australia’s first war dog – a Yorkie that parachuted into troop camps.
Also eye-catching – William Wegman’s photograph of Weimaraner canoeing; an elegant Edwardian-style Chihuahua dog house, and Barbara Bush’s framed letter beside a painting of “Millie on the South Lawn.”
Half the third floor, however, is the biggest potential time suck – a library and archives of 1500 books and resources about anything and everything dog, including of course, specifics about breeds. Art, books and dogs all in one place. I could live here.
Far from stodgy, this slick white and stainless-steel interior is all contemporary including techie interactive opportunities like the one filling the first floor with non-stop laughter: a screen takes a photo then matches you with your ‘spirit’ dog breed based on appearance. Not one person doesn’t laugh at the results. Ultimately, we all resemble our pets, right? At least in spirit.
AKC Museum of Dog is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $15. Located at 101 Park Ave., NYC, New York. Exhibits will rotate throughout the year.
TRAVEL GUIDE: NYC travel with the dog is possible and many New Yorkers have dogs. My early morning walk down 9th Avenue to the Chelsea Market revealed just how many head out well before noon for pee pee strolls.
The Chelsea Market is a 20-minute walk from the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel on 8th and 34th Streets, across from Madison Square Gardens. The New Yorker is brimming with dogs during the annual Westminster Dog Show (check out our review).
The art-deco designed New Yorker Hotel is dog-friendly all year and also hosted the American Dog Writers Association Annual Awards Dinner in 2019.
Two blocks away, the historic Hotel Pennsylvania is also dog-friendly – see our previous review.
Central Park has 23 different off-leash areas throughout the park. Cabs don’t seem to have an issue transporting dogs, and frankly legal yellow cabs are still my transportation of choice in the city, especially when I’m short on time. I’m always short on time in NYC.