Photo courtesy of John Jay Athletics
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29
The Doghouse 524 West 59th St New York, NY 10019
Welcome to the Doghouse
A name, just a name, can go a heck of a long way. There’s The Pit in New Mexico and The RAC in New Jersey, just to name two. You may never get to these name venues, but you won’t forget their names.
Located in midtown Manhattan, a mere three subway stops away from Madison Square Garden, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice has a venue on its fourth floor with an unforgettable name: The Doghouse, where admission is free and every bleacher seat is excellent.
The Doghouse is often overlooked in New York City’s congested professional sports market. The John Jay Bloodhounds, members of the CUNYAC, play at the Division 3 level, which means no scholarships and no bells and whistles like a fancy scoreboard or Jumbotron. However, the Bloodhounds are turning into a force on the hardwood. In 2020, the Bloodhounds won their conference regular season with a 20-7 record.
Food & Beverage 4
There is none, technically. However, one of John Jay’s organizations might be hawkin’ modest snacks as a fundraiser. Another quick option: You can go downstairs to Tenth Avenue and purchase a very reasonably priced plate ($6) from the mega-popular halal truck and bring it back in. Also, an enormous Whole Foods is a few blocks east, as are a multitude of excellent food selections just outside (which can be brought in). F&B is not a problem at John Jay; they have food options – just not in the traditional sense.
It can vary depending on the game. For meaningful games, including homecoming, The Doghouse fills up and flips out, getting loud and intense. Fun! We’re talking hundreds of fans, not thousands. John Jay doesn’t have a pep band, but they blast lively music during breaks, and they have a lot of energetic, aerodynamic cheerleaders, who rarely take a play off.
It’s a hustling, bustling mecca, steps away from destination sites and attractions. Lincoln Center is a few blocks away as is a Broadway show. A stroll or bike ride in Central Park is even closer. You can rent a bike through Citi Bike.
And there’s no shortage of dining options. In addition to the above, The Greek Kitchen, Ocean Dragon (Chinese at a hole in the wall) and Jake’s Saloon (pints and pub fare) are all just a block south. Further away, uptown, there’s Cafe Fiorello (Italian), which is an institution. Parm (Italian) is much newer, but also excellent. For sweets, Magnolia Bakery is off the charts. And that is just the tip of the iceburg.
Most of the fans are students, faculty or alums, and they can get passionate. In the tight quarters, expect to hear everything, so those with ultra-sensitive ears should be on alert for, uh…. colorful language but nothing that’s not on cable.
Don’t expect much of a line or hassle but be prepared to show ID and to go through a security screener. John Jay is easily accessible by public transportation, about 15-10 minutes from Penn Station and Grand Central Station. By car, it’s very close to the West Side Highway. You can hunt and peck for a space on the street, or you can pay for an overpriced garage, which NYC has no shortage of.
Return on Investment 5
It’s free! Excellent, nearby halal is cheap. It’s good basketball in a small space on a micro budget.
Since it’s free admission, everything is extra. With that said, John Jay offers an upper level of seating: The Alumni Skybox, unveiled in 2013, surrounds the court and is on the fifth floor.
John Jay offers good college basketball in a small space, and it doesn’t break the wallet, to say the least.
Jon Hart is @ManVersusBall