Oakland Gardens is an urban community in New York City’s borough of Queens. Surrounded by densely populated neighborhoods, it also is near parks and other outdoor spaces perfect for a dog-lover and her canine pal. Plus, it is close to Little Neck Bay, Long Island Sound and Coney Island, which offer opportunities for water-side fun.
Dog-friendly Alley Pond Park is the Borough of Queens’s second largest city park, occupying over 655 acres. It features “Kettle Ponds” formed by huge chunks of ice buried during the Ice Age that gradually melted and mixed with salt water from the bay. These alternate with “knobs” or rounded hills. This results in mixed and diverse ecosystems that support a variety of wildlife to catch sight of (and scent) while walking through the park. Speaking of walking, this park offers a nature trail that is used for hiking and walking as well as biking. It’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon with your fur-pal. Alley Pond Park is part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway that connects parks in Queens with those in Brooklyn, including Coney Island. Note: dogs must be leashed in city parks except where specifically posted. Look for leash-free signage.
For a hearty and delicious meal following your jaunt in Alley Pond Park, head over to the Greek Family Restaurant in nearby Hollis Hills. Besides featuring a fabulous Mediterranean menu, this eatery is especially dog-friendly. Not only do they provide outdoor seating where Fido is welcome to join his humans, they treat him like the member of the family he is, bringing water and lots of pets and hugs. Don’t miss this place!
Dog-friendly Cunningham Park is in the nearby Fresh Meadows neighborhood to the southwest of Oakland Gardens. At 358 acres, this large park requires pups to wear leashes as they journey throughout. Numerous wooded hiking trails snake through the park, and there is abundant wildlife for you and your fur-buddy to discover. Cunningham features the same Knob and Kettle geography as Alley Pond Park and is connected to it by the Motor Parkway Trail, a paved hiking and biking trail that tunnels under the major streets between the parks. If you go to Cunningham in the spring, be sure to listen for the peepers, and later, the frogs.
The Bayside neighborhood borders Oakland Gardens, and lies on Little Neck Bay. This is also the home of the Little Bay Dog Run, a large fenced park with separate areas for large and small or timid dogs. With benches around the perimeter, it affords spectacular views of Long Island Sound and the graceful Throgs Neck Bridge. Water is provided, and the surface is sand, easy on the pups’ toes and feet. This is a convenient and beautiful place to bring Fido – in fact The NY Daily News puts Little Bay at the top of its list of Queens dog parks. When you and Fido are ready for some eats, be sure to head over to CJ Sullivan’s American Grill. Long considered Bayside’s favorite gathering place, this restaurant features a large outside patio and bar where well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome go join their human families. Offering pub fare like burgers and tenders, there should be something to please everyone, including your fur-pup.
Although named Cunningham Park Dog Run, this leash-free park is actually located in Flushing, a neighborhood to the northwest of Cunningham Park. This is a large fenced area for mixed size dogs, with double-gated entries, benches for the humans and waste bags for the, um, waste. The surface is wood mulch and dirt, so be sure to bring a towel to clean up muddy paws on wet days. Drinking fountains are provided for both humans ands pupsters. This neighborhood is also home to Bowne Park, which features a sizeable pond with wildlife to scent and see with your furry Bestie. Arf! It also offers huge weeping willows and other shade trees, fountains where you can refresh yourselves in the spray, benches along paved, shaded walking paths. Your canine friend must be leashed and is more than welcome.
The East Flushing neighborhood contains Kissena Park and the Kissena Corridor Park which connects Kissena with Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Kissena Park is the centerpiece of the Kissena Corridor Park, a greenway that can be traced to Alley Pond Park and Brooklyn. The park is a favorite for walking, running, biking and other outdoor enthusiasts, and it boasts large swaths of open area for pup-romping (on leash) surrounded by paved tracks and sitting areas. If you and your furry Bestie are staying in the area, the Parc Hotel and Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel offer accommodations for doggos for a small additional fee. Hungry? Try PappaRich, an eatery that offers Malaysian cuisine in a relaxed environment. Sample rice, curry, noodles and a variety of meats and seafood prepared fresh. Fido can join you at one of the outdoor tables. Bone appetit!
The neighborhood of Bay Terrace is home to the dog-friendly Fort Totten Park, a pristine expanse surrounding a historic Civil War fort. Featuring a spectacular location on Long Island Sound, this is a perfect destination for families intent on exploring the fort, swimming in the outdoor pool and lolling about on its grassy edges, or taking a canoe out on the Sound with Fido in tow. The park is open year-round, and during the fall and spring, it provides opportunities to view the migratory flocks as they head to their seasonal homes in the South or New England. Dogs must be leashed, but are welcome to join their humans on the many paved walking paths among trees that are beautiful in every season.