Book Review: City of Dogs

New York Dogs, Their Neighborhoods, and the People Who Love Them
By Stories by Ken Foster, Photos by Traer Scott
Reviewed by Susan Tasaki, January 2019, Updated June 2021

From the outside, New York City seems monolithic, a fizzing anonymous hive of activity and noise. From the inside, it’s much the same any other American city (albeit one with way more people, languages and cultural amenities than most). Its five boroughs—Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island—are home to 250 distinct neighborhoods, 850 million people and roughly 600,000 dogs. In those neighborhoods, as they are everywhere, dogs are the catalyst for many human connections.

In City of Dogs, author Ken Foster and photographer Traer Scott explore the boroughs and their neighborhoods and profile, in words and pictures, 40 human/ canine families. First in the queue is writer Jacqueline Woodson and her dogs Toffee and Shadow, who call Park Slope, Brooklyn, home.

While some are well known, most are celebrities only to the dogs who love them. And that is, in large part, the charm of this book: the heartfelt heart connections captured on its pages.

Both Foster and Scott have an impressive list of books to their credit, but in working together on this one, they’ve created a true gem: an inspired portrait of life in the city with dogs, and how dogs make those lives better than they might otherwise be.

Read an excerpt of City of Dogs.

Susan Tasaki, a freelance editor and writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.