Despite its reputation as a concrete jungle, New York City is filled with green spaces and parks that provide respite from the busy city streets.Less
One of the world’s most renowned green spaces, Central Park comprises 843 acres of rolling meadows, boulder-studded outcroppings, elm-lined walkways, manicured European-style gardens, a lake, and a reservoir — not to mention an outdoor theater, a memorial to John Lennon, an idyllic waterside eatery (the Loeb Boathouse), and a famous Alice in Wonderland statue. Highlights include the 15-acre Sheep Meadow, where thousands of people lounge and play on warm days
Skirting the southern edge of Manhattan, this 12-acre oasis lures with public artworks, meandering walkways, and perennial gardens. Its memorials include tributes to those who died in the Korean War and Italian navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano. You'll also find the lovely SeaGlass Carousel, historic Castle Clinton, and the ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
This 85-acre park is one of Brooklyn’s best-loved attractions. Wrapping itself around a 1.3-mile bend on the East River, the post-industrial site runs from just beyond the far side of the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo to the west end of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. It's revitalized a once-barren stretch of shoreline, turning a series of abandoned piers into landscaped parkland with jaw-dropping views of Manhattan. There's lots to see and do here, with playgrounds, walkways and lawns galore.
Brooklyn is blessed with a number of historic, view-laden and well used green spaces, but its emerald is Prospect Park. The designers of the 585-acre park – Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux – considered it an improvement on their other New York project, Central Park, and between rambling its tree-fringed walkways and sighing at ornamental bridges, you might agree.
It’s hard to believe that the 1½-mile-long High Line – a shining example of brilliant urban renewal – was once a dingy freight line that anchored a rather unsavory district of slaughterhouses. Today, this eye-catching attraction is one of New York's best-loved green spaces, drawing visitors who come to stroll, sit, and picnic 30 feet above the city – while enjoying fabulous views of Manhattan's ever-changing urban landscape. It loops around Hudson Yards and ends at 34th Street.
Surrounded by perfectly manicured Greek Revival townhouses and a grab bag of modern architecture (all owned by NYU), Washington Square Park is an enticing green space – especially as you are welcomed by the iconic Stanford White Arch on the north side of the green. The arch, colloquially known as the Washington Square Arch, dominates the park with its 73 feet of gleaming white Tuckahoe marble.
One block away from that famous High Line Park is a 5-mile-long recreational space that has transformed the city over the past decade. Covering 550 acres (400 of which are on the water) and running from Battery Park at Manhattan's southern tip to 59th Street in Midtown, Hudson River Park is Manhattan's wondrous backyard. The long riverside path is a great spot for cycling, running, and strolling.
European coffee kiosks, alfresco chess games, summer film screenings, and winter ice skating: it's hard to believe this leafy oasis was a crime-ridden hellscape in the ’70s. Nestled behind the beaux-arts New York Public Library building, it's a whimsical spot for a little time-out from the Midtown madness. There's a daily smorgasbord of quirky activities.