After the last few years of enduring Madison Square Garden under renovation for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, this year, the organizers bit the bullet and moved the daytime benching and competitions to Piers 92/94, while keeping the “show” at MSG.
The result? Mixed. We didn’t find the coat check until we were on our way out. We didn’t realize we needed day tickets as well as night tickets (what?).
What we liked? A lot more room for the benching and not being crammed into the aisles with everyone else, but otoh, I missed the energy and vibe of the close in crowds.
Also a plus, the larger number of active rings with simultaneous competitions. But two of the rings were located on the other pier. As were some of the benches. Which meant traipsing around, asking a security worker, who promptly pointed to the big sign “Pier 92.”
Yep, the big downside was logistics, as in getting all those people to the Piers and then worse, the long lines for cabs when we all were trying to take off. Unlike MSG, the Piers weren’t accessible by subway. Maybe there was a bus line? But perhaps a shuttle to the nearest subway station or main intersection would be helpful in moving people to and from the show.
The other bummer? The vendor area.
It was smaller and set apart from the rest of the floor, and while I liked checking out the Kiehl’s (!) booth, I kinda missed all the random dog grooming supplies and the tacky yet sometimes really cool dog accessories. And the booths about canine health research and medicine.
Still, the show itself was fun.
We got to see some random competitions, featuring working dogs and also got to enjoy some favorites in the sporting group. And I always love the benching areas, the dogs, mid-preparation, in anticipation of their big moments in the spotlight ……
The best experience of the show though? Standing ringside to watch cocker spaniels and randomly hanging out, watching and celebrating with the owner of the winning ASCOB. He was so excited, and his wife was recording the whole thing on her iPad. We got two fist bumps, and then the cute older couple dug frantically through their pockets for a dog biscuit. Then our new friend declared, “while I can’t celebrate with a drink right now, I can have a handful of these!” pulling out a ziploc bag of jelly beans!
Despite the weird logistics, Westminster is still great fun.