When living in a concrete jungle, life’s little pleasures of walking barefoot through freshly cut grass or laying in the sunshine can be rarely enjoyed. Luckily, for NYC-area residents you never have to go too far for a little taste of nature.
“New York City has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs,” says the city’s official park website. “Parks properties range from swimming pools to wetlands and from woodlands to skating rinks.” And all of them are a little slice of mother nature heaven.
A walker, reader and sun-lover myself, I’ve wrangled up my favorite NYC parks that Brooklyn and Manhattan have to offer. Space, greenery and the ability to trick yourself into thinking you’ve left the hustle and bustle of New York, even if only for a few moments.
Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn)
My favorite on the list, Brooklyn Bridge Park has the most amazing view of Manhattan from the very edge of Brooklyn. Not to mention a great view to sit right under the Brooklyn Bridge (possibly after a walk over the bridge itself). From Smorgasburg to the gorgeous piers and cute restaurants, it’s definitely a must-visit for any Brooklyn trip.
Washington Square Park (Greenwich Village)
A park with constant things to look at, the beautiful arch and fountain bring the masses out to cool off and take in some culture in Greenwich Village. Street performers, artists and musicians alike line the paths with all sorts of creations. Sunbathing is common in the summer and it’s a perfect spot to find a tree and five into your favorite novel.
Bryant Park (Midtown West)
A favorite for suits and after work enjoyment, Bryant Park is full of events and surprises for New Yorkers. Theater in the park, movie screenings in the summer, music, food and more — there’s little that doesn’t happen here. Check out their schedule of events for all sorts of free fun in any season.
Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Another slice of Brooklyn heaven, you can really get lost in nature here without all the skyscrapers and buildings pouring over the greenery like in Manhattan. Beautiful walkways, bridges and a scenery, Prospect Park also boasts a fantastic Green Market and occasional Food Truck rally that’s worth checking out.
Central Park (Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan)
Arguably the most famous park in the world, I couldn’t leave Central Park off the list. Although it might seem compact and quaint on a map, this park is massive and filled with all sorts of events, ponds, structures and buildings. A gorgeous design and layout, New Yorkers and tourists alike take refuge to escape the city streets of neighboring areas. A real treat and perfect to spend a sunny spring day with friends, family or even just a good book.
Thumbnail photo: Flickr / Patrick Ashley