By Marlene Garzona
Central Park is probably your first park that comes to mind in New York City, but there are better alternatives when you’re looking for smaller, more intimate outdoor settings.
Here is a list of some of the lesser-known parks scattered around the city that are less populated. Not all of these parks require you to bring a blanket and chair. Some come with chairs and even a waterfall. So if you’re looking for an outdoor date, a picnic with wine and fewer distractions, here are some 212Access park ideas for the outdoor weather.
Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn Bridge) – Head to lower Manhattan for a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge and a visit to this green spot. Included you will find a postcard view of the skyline. The kids will also enjoy the several playgrounds and carousel. Wander among the piers for a perfect date.
Greenacre Park (E 51st) – Tucked away in midtown along 51st this park is a hidden oasis, which took me years to find. This quick and lovely escape features a 25-footwaterfall with moveable tables and chairs which plenty of shade for an evening of people watching. There’s also plenty of room for a contemplative stroll alone or for two. Nearby you will also find Paley Park on 53rd, which offers a mesmerizing waterfall as well.
Inwood Hill Park (Inwood, Upper Manhattan) – There’s a unique reward for trekking to the northernmost corner of Manhattan where you’ll find enormous trees in the island’s last natural forest and salt marsh. A comparatively remote location, it’s perfect for a private picnic or to simply get back in touch with nature.
High Line Park (E 34th St) – Find peace and relaxation above the city at this trendy green spot located along the West Side. Built on abandoned elevated railroad track this park features tons of funky seating and sumptuous gardens. Catch up with some old friends while enjoying impressive views of the city.
Bryant Park (W 40th St) – Situated behind the New York Public Library in the heart of Manhattan this space features a French-style carousel, chess tables, 25,000 varieties of flower and 2,000 moveable chairs. During the winter you can ice skate for free and in the warmer months free yoga classes are also common. Take a break from the bustling streets of Times Square and stop by some of the outdoor shops!
Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Corona) – Most venture out here only to catch a Mets game or see the U.S. Open. But visitors will be surprised at the other sites they can find here. This park is home to New York’s largest lake: freshwater Meadow lake. It in you will also find the Queens Zoo, Museum of Art and the Botanical Garden along with numerous unique sculptures.
Prospect Park (Brooklyn) – Paying a visit to this park in Brooklyn is well worth the subway fare to get there. Admire the Beaux-Arts Boathouse or rent a pedal boat and make your way across Lake Prospect. Take a stroll in the Long meadow, visit the zoo, or let the kids ride on the wooden carousel.
Washington Square Park (Greenwich Village, 5th Ave) – Located downtown in the historic Greenwich Village, this park is known for its cultural activity. Its huge arch is modeled after the French Arc de Triomphe and its fountain area is home to a variety of performers. Trust me it’s a great spot to have lunch if you’re in the area!
Hudson River Park (B/W Battery Place and W. 59th) – This strip of waterfront park stretches from Battery Park to 59th Street, allowing you to walk, jog, or bike while looking at the Hudson River and New Jersey. There are lots of flowers and programs including youth sports and kayak rides in the river.
Tompkins Square Park (E 9th Street) – A wonderful way to get a taste of line in New York’s East Village. Surrounded by dozens of trendy cafes, this park is the perfect place to hang out. It even features a set of very entertaining dog runs, where man’s best friend can play around for free.
Union Square Park (Union Square, 14th Street) – A historic intersection this park is filled with statuses from George Washington to Gandhi. Make sure you check out the Greenmarket Farmers Market held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday year round.
Riverside Park (B/W 72nd and 158th) – This scenic park spans four miles from 72nd to 158th along the Hudson River in the Upper West Side. It features a little of everything including a water trail and public marina.