Meet Pepper the Mini Hippo

BY Meatpacking BIDPUBLISHED 03.19.2024

One of the best things about Meatpacking is its residents and their adorable dogs. Cue: Pepper the Mini Hippo! We recently met up with Pepper and her mom, Samantha Casamento, in Gansevoort Plaza to learn more about their NYC life and favorite district spots. 

MTPK: How long have you lived in the Meatpacking District?

SC: I've lived in Meatpacking for almost a year now! When my boyfriend and I were looking for our first place together we knew we wanted to be on the west side since some of our favorite restaurants and places to go are over here, so when we saw our current apartment on Street Easy, [we] we were the first to go to the open house and immediately applied. The location is truly everything!

MTPK: What kind of dog is Pepper? 

SC: She is half Shar Pei and Half Cocker Spaniel! Her mix is known as a "mini hippo" hence her IG username (@pepperthehippo).

MTPK: What are some of your favorite things/Pepper's favorite things to do in the neighborhood?

SC: We are constantly going on walks around the neighborhood... that's one of our favorite things about Meatpacking! It is truly so walkable. Coming from east 34th street, Meatpacking has way less cars and less lights, it's really the best! On our walks there are quite a few things we love to do. Pepper is great friends with one of the Tao security guards, so around dinner time we usually try to walk by and say hi. He says she makes his days! In the mornings, she loves walking by Restoration Hardware to get treats from one of the security guards there too! Meatpacking has the friendliest people! She also loves joining me to shop at Sephora and Anthropologie because the employees are always so kind to her and give her ample pets and praise! We of course also love the west side highway and the new Gansevoort dog park, but Pepper is a little shy with other dogs (she is not at all shy with people) so we only go in when it's not busy.

Pepper the Mini Hippo

MTPK: Where do you like to take friends in Meatpacking when they visit?

SC: My favorite places to take friends are to the West Side Highway for a walk and then dinner at Pastis [then] sunset at Le Bain or dancing at Common Ground! Pastis has some of the city's best burgers and martinis which are always sure to impress friends! I always go to Common Ground with friends at night (the music is my favorite!) and Le Bain during the day for a cocktail pitcher, and in my opinion, some of the best downtown views in the city. The sunset at Le Bain is unreal! We actually had my boyfriend's birthday at the rooftop over the summer too and it was a hit! The views seriously always impress! 

MTPK: When did you get Pepper and how has she become part of your New York City life?

SC: I got Pepper in September 2022 when she was just 10 weeks old. She is truly a city girl at heart. I lived with two of my best friends at the time, so that definitely made the puppy stage easier - so thankful for them! Pepper works so well with my life. She is always happy to accompany me on my 8-9 mile walks around the city on Saturdays and Sundays, which I used to do alone because no one else wanted to walk that far haha, but also always down to binge watch Real Housewives of New York on rainy days. She is truly the best companion. I can't imagine life in the city (or life anywhere) without her! I have also met so many wonderful humans by just walking her around the city, and we actually have a little mini hippo friend group as there are a few others in NYC and in Brooklyn! People stopping and asking to pet her is the sweetest and I always say yes because she loves it! 

MTPK: What is a highlight of Pepper’s life in the Meatpacking District?

SC: Walking down the runway for the Meatpacking costume contest and being pet by a bunch of little kids as she strutted her stuff was probably the best day of her life.




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