Top Ten Parks in New York City
New York is known for an overwhelming number of different attractions. From restaurants to iconic landmarks, she always manages to impress. When recommending sights and "must see" attractions for friends and family visiting the Big Apple, there are a few I always suggest. This is a list of New York City’s top ten parks chosen by myself, a park enthusiast. I have taken into account numerous attributes such as recreational activities, cleanliness, beauty, plant life and the overall attraction. As an enthusiast I have visited nearly every park stretching from Staten Island to Rockaway Beach in Queens. I have personally experienced the beauty of each of the following parks first hand.
Flushing Meadows Park
Flushing Meadows Park is arguably New York's most iconic park. Home to the Unisphere, Arthur Ashe Stadium, Citi Field and The New York Hall of Science, it is the second largest park in all five borough. The Unisphere, which was built to celebrate the beginning of the space age, was dedicated to "Man's Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe". For those who enjoy recreational activities, there are tennis courts, soccer fields, numerous play areas, an impressive hockey court, aquatic center and a boating lake just to name a few. It's not rare to spot photographers roaming the beautiful rolling green hills and breathtaking scenery due to the remarkable natural grace of this park. Hands down this is the most impressive park the city has to offer.
In the early 1850s New York's high society wanted to prove to Europe they appreciated cultural refinement. Sixteen years and ten million dollars later they created the second best park to visit-Central Park. This is the most versatile park creating entertainment for all ages. Enjoy a romantic horse and carriage tour with your special someone, or take the family to see a puppet show at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. Tourists and locals all can enjoy this park with the never ending entertainment and natural beauty offered. Need a break from city life? No problem! Just get lost in the 136 acres of woodland. This is one park nobody ever should miss out on!
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Known as one of New York's most romantic places, The Brooklyn Bridge Park sits on the coast of the East River in Brooklyn adjacent to The Brooklyn Bridge. With amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, this park is widely known for acting as a backdrop for wedding proposals. Events are held almost every weekend on the park grounds so park goers can count on having a good time when visiting after a rough work week.
Created by the visionaries who designed the world famous Central Park in the heart of Manhattan is number four on our list, Prospect Park. Located in Brooklyn, Prospect Park is known to the locals for its quite and relaxing environment. The city life offers very few places where one can enjoy true tranquility like in Prospect Park. As a matter of fact, Yoga classes are held just about every day as well as meditation classes. For this reason the park has drawn a crowd that celebrates its unique "zen-like" atmosphere.
Coming in at number five is Riverside Park. This park is one of my personal favorites and one I visited almost every day. Just about every "best parks of New York" list around has this park listed. For one, the park stretches from 72nd street all the way to 158th street and runs along the charming Hudson River. Locals commonly use the walking paths to for their daily commutes. It has an astonishing glamor that is unique from most other parks in New York.
High Rise Park
Finished just a five years ago in 2009 the stunning High Rise Park lands number six on my list. There are many different reasons for it's popularity amongst locals and tourists alike. For one, the park is lined with lush green gardens that stretch along the walkways giving it a natural ambiance. It was developed on an elevated infrastructure that was originally built in the 1930s and runs through Manhattans west side art district which is known for fine dining restaurants, shopping and cafe's.
Most don't know it but Staten Island is home to almost 200 parks and playgrounds. Due to the islands accessibility, most tourists don't take the time to hop on the ferry and enjoy what the island has to offer. Coming in at number eight is Willowbrook Park. This park is a wonderful place to take the kids for a weekend outing as attractions include The Carrousel For All Children (a merry go round), a five acre lake, and a playground that will create unforgettable memories. As for recreational activities, there are tennis courts, hiking trails and baseball fields.
The Bronx Park
Best known for being the home of the Bronx Zoo, The Bronx Park is one of New York's best known family destinations. Park amenities include an impressive bike path accommodating all ages and skill levels. Don't forget about the baseball fields, soccer fields, and multiple playgrounds for the kids. Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of this park is its unique wildlife. Every week hundreds of bird watchers gather with binoculars to the wooded areas to view natures graceful scenery.
Battery Park, which is located on the shores of Downtown Manhattan, is one of the city's most infamous parks. With a breath taking view of our lady liberty as well as the history the park holds, this is a must see for anyone visiting the Big Apple. Year around events such as fairs and concerts are held here, many of which are free to attend. If you are interested in seeing the Statue of Liberty up close, ferries pick you up at the park.
Lastly on our list is Bryant Park. Located directly next to the New York City Library (you know, the one from ghost busters), this park is one of the best places to go for a relaxing afternoon. My favorite thing about this park is the summer set up. The library donates racks of magazines and books to the park so you can catch up on the news, or get lost in your favorite novel with no strings attached. That's right, they have racks of magazines and books you can check out temporarily and read in the park. Also connected is a restaurant that serves amazing lunch and coffee with a reputation known throughout the city. The park is nestles in one of Manhattans busiest areas but manages to hold an ambiance that one can't help but be attracted too.
A list like this is not an easy one to judge by any means. I've been to almost every park in the magical city of New York and as the parks listed are, in my opinion, the best offered, there are so many that are astounding that didn't make the list. These parks listed, are the ones that stand out superior to most others. New York offers thousands of parks all with their own unique wonder. I highly recommend that anyone either visiting or living in the big apple take the time to experience the loveliness for themselves.