Designed by the same minds that created Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Prospect Park is Brooklyn's answer to the more famous of the two. With Prospect Park, Olmsted and Vaux were able to have a second chance to design the park of their dreams. Freed from the limitations of Manhattan's grid design, the two were able to create a space that seemed more organic, resulting in less artificial and more natural plant life. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is known for its famous large arch and for being one of the best places to watch people go by.
This elegant park has stunning views, more than 210 species of plants, shallow pools, sun loungers, art installations, food stalls, shops and several historic points of interest. Originally home to Castle Garden, the world's first immigrant repository, Battery Park has played an integral role in New York City's history since its creation in the 1850s. Before Ellis Island existed, millions of immigrants came to the United States through Battery Park, sowing the seeds that would later transform the country into the nation of immigrants it is today. We cover much of the story on our tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which begins at Battery Park.
Another of New York's most modern innovations, Brooklyn Bridge Park has taken what was once a lifeless piece of the Brooklyn shoreline and transformed it into a delightful expanse full of energy. The highlights, by far, are the spectacular views of Manhattan, which accompany you as you navigate through the different sections and unique attractions. The more than 80-acre tract is home to Jane's Carousel (a restored 1920s carousel), sports fields, playgrounds, basketball courts, and skating rinks. The summer season also includes outdoor movies, free kayaking, and literary readings.
Definitely the farthest hike on the list, but one that's worth it, is Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The park's highlight is the great Unisphere, a remnant of the 1964 World's Fair, which was held in the park. As the name suggests, the space is very mountainous, located on a ridge that rises 200 feet above the Hudson River. This park is also historic: it's the site of one of the last farms in Manhattan and many wealthy New Yorkers have used it over the years as a “rural retreat” to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Located in the far reaches of the Bronx, Pelham Bay is the largest public park in New York City. It's 2,772 acres, more than three times the size of Central Park. The entire area, with miles of hiking trails and mooring trails, takes hours to explore. Originally, the park was home to a large number of deer, turtles and sturgeons, which attracted the large Siwanoy Native American population that once inhabited the area.
Full of history and greenery, it's worth taking the 6 train to reach Pelham Bay Park. Among the various places to visit, there are Orchard Beach, the two golf courses, the Bartow-Pell mansion and the incredible coastline that juts into the Long Island Strait. Check what travel insurance covers COVID-19 (testing and treatment abroad). Or buy the Heymondo plan with a 5% discount.
In fact, Riverside Park is one of the best natural places in New York City, and it's particularly popular with birdwatchers. More than 170 species of birds have been seen in the park, including red-tailed falcons, peregrine falcons, kestrels and mallards. Union Square Park is one of the most famous parks in New York and represents the intersection or junction of Broadway, 4th Avenue and 14th Street. It's also a convenient midway point between several Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Greenwich Village, the Flatiron district, and the Bowery.
There is another pool in the Astoria Play Center, a large recreation center with several sports facilities. In the open air, you can play sports such as basketball, petanque and soccer. In addition, the park's tennis area, which is located partly under the Triborough Bridge, is an impressive space with 14 courts and bathrooms. Also known as Flushing Meadows, it is the fourth largest park in New York and is home to some of the most famous sights in the city.
Perhaps the park's most iconic structure is the Unisphere, a steel globe that measures 140 feet high and 120 feet wide. Commissioned for the 1964 World Expo, it represents that year's theme: “Peace through Understanding”. What's the word that best describes Central Park? Let's choose iconic. Like Little Island, the recently renovated Pier 26 is also located within the four-mile-long Hudson River Park.
The pier opened in October as an ecological paradise, dedicated to educating visitors about the Manhattan ecosystem before human expansion. One of the most interesting features of the pier is located at the western end, called Tide Deck, and it shows some of the best coastal views the city has to offer. Oh, and did we mention that there are swings? Read more here. The new Waterline Square park offers three acres of extensive greenery with beautiful coastal views.
Recently opened on the Upper West Side, the park is the newest space to relax on a bench, read on the grass, or admire the Hudson River shoreline. The park includes fun water games for kids to splash around, trails to walk around, plants to explore, and a play area to enjoy. Although it is located in the center of the Waterline Square residential development (at 400 W 61st St. Learn more about it here.
Many people make the mistake of contemplating Prospect Park during their first visit to New York City, but I won't let that happen to you. There are lots of new families in Prospect Heights and Park Slope, but the park is more than big enough to accommodate people who come in droves on nice days. You can also find Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, the Billie Jean King Tennis Center and the New York Science Hall in this sprawling park. This beautiful park on the southern tip of Manhattan offers stunning views of New York Harbor, a unique glass carousel, and ferry connections to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Staten Island.
But don't be scared, the history of the park gives it depth and character, and it's one of the things we love to talk about on our tour of Greenwich Village, where you can learn all the secrets of this cool neighborhood. Regardless of the dispute, one thing is for sure, Prospect Park is easily one of the best parks in New York City. If you have more free time and want to explore even more fantastic parks in New York City, I recommend visiting the following. So, without further ado, let me share my personal list of the best parks in New York City for people watching, picnics, and panoramic skyline views.
Located in the heart of charming Greenwich Village, this is one of the most beautiful parks in New York City. Stop by Island Oyster in search of oysters to enjoy great oysters and beverages to properly round off your adventure in a New York City park. You'll also find the largest public pool in the city in Astoria Park, for those days when you need to cool off and get some of the moisture out of New York's skin. It is also one of the first artificial parks in the country, designed with a new concept for the time called landscape architecture.