Originally settled by a Frenchman in 1664, the name of this neighborhood is Dutch and means 'many creeks'. Since the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, this area has become a popular place to settle because it offers a direct route into Brooklyn. Great Kills is part residential, part resort destination due to its beaches and it has a healthy commercial community. You will find grooming and veterinarian services, but your best options for any of Bella’s other essentials are available in the adjacent neighborhoods.
Great Kills has lots of great walking weather from spring to fall with the exception of hot, humid days where you might want to find better walking surfaces than concrete or at least limit your walking to early mornings. Winters can be brutal with plenty of snow or rain and storms that can sweep up the coast and cause everything from flooding to high winds and heavy snows.
The terrain through Great Kills is not always typical of a New York neighborhood and it is very mixed throughout the area. Some roads have no sidewalks or shoulders to walk on and you will need to walk on the streets. Other neighborhoods have regular, defined streets with sidewalks and even grassy shoulders that will make for some pleasant city walking. The streets through the residential areas are pretty quiet which is good news for those who are forced to walk on the streets with no safe shoulder or sidewalk.
There are some hills in Great Kills and some of these hills make for great exercise for those people and their dogs that want more than just a gentle stroll. In the area just south of Amboy Road, there is a hill that will provide some challenge for those who are interested. Don't worry if you're just starting out! You have plenty of other, easier options.
There are lots of places to go to find a bit of nature and a patch of soft grass for Bella to roll around in. King Fisher Park, so named for the birds who inhabit this area, has some nice trails and, while you will need to keep your dog on a leash, it does make a nice place to get away from the rush of the city.
Crescent Beach Park is situated just outside of Great Kills Harbor and has an off-leash area where you can let your dog run.
Saving the best for last, the Great Kills Park is a huge park with plenty of trails and salt marshes to explore. The park has lots of grass and trees as well, giving your pup plenty of places to explore. There is a total of 580 acres, but keep in mind that close to half the park has been closed long term and may not be accessible.