The late spring and early summer months are ideal for enjoying parks and other green spaces in New York City. With more than 1,700 parks to choose from, there are many options beyond the well-known (and crowded) Central Park. Here are eight of the best.
A couple enjoys the fountain at Washington Square Park Courtesy Andrea Crowley-Hughes
This Greenwich Village landmark is recognizable by the Washington Square Arch and its huge, picturesque fountain. It’s an ideal space if you’re looking for a dose of culture along with your picnic lunch. The park’s proximity to New York University and The New School means you might hear musicians at play or witness an impromptu film session. You’re also likely to catch a glimpse of Paul ‘The Birdman’, who has trained and befriended a large flock of pigeons.
Escape the Midtown bustle at Madison Square Park, a seven-acre green space formed by the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street. Flowering, evergreen and deciduous trees line the park’s paths, and a dog run, lawns and playground are available. Free WiFi and a nearby Shake Shack make the space a popular lunch break destination. The Madison Square Park Conservancy hosts free programs, including contemporary art installations and concerts.
The 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s edge of the East River. On the Pier 3 Greenway, hills minimize the noise generated by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. You can catch breathtaking views of New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan from Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn, or see Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty and skyline from the Greenway Terrace. Notable attractions include a 1920s carousel and a Civil War-era Tobacco Warehouse turned concert venue.
No list of New York City green spaces would be complete without The High Line, a unique public park built on a freight railroad line that towers above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Visitors can walk as far as they desire on the elevated path which stretches from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. Flowering plants and trees fill gardens along the path. Stop by for events like tours, meditation, stargazing and more.
Bridge view in Astoria Park Courtesy Andrea Crowley-Hughes
Astoria Park sits in the shadow of the Hell Gate Bridge, a signature Queens sight, and on the edge of the East River. Its expansive lawn is a perfect place for a peaceful afternoon picnic, benches along the shore of the river are ideal spots for sightseeing or picture-taking. The park is also home to tennis and basketball courts, a running track and walking trails, a bandstand, and the oldest and largest pool in the city.
Home to the Cloisters Museum, Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan provides glimpses of both historic architecture and natural scenes. The 67-acre park is a national landmark originally designed by the Olmsted brothers for John D. Rockefeller, Jr. From one of the highest points in Manhattan, visitors can see striking views of the Palisades and Lower Hudson Valley.
Before bar-hopping in Alphabet City or shopping in the East Village, Tompkins Square Park offers a quiet respite. True to its eclectic neighborhood, the park hosts outdoor events such as the Allen Ginsberg-inspired Howl Festival. The park includes flowering plants and lawns, the first dog run in New York City and diverse historical monuments.
This public green space, located between Riverside Drive and Claremont Avenues in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, gets its name from the cherry trees that grace a lawn between its two walks. The trees were delivered from Japan in 1912, a donation from the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York. After the cherry blossom bloom ends, tulips and the foliage of linden trees can be enjoyed from the gazebo or park benches.