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Can you really say you’ve been to New York City without visiting Central Park? Most locals would answer with a resounding, “no.”
Arguably the most recognized park in the city, or maybe even the world, Central Park takes up 840 acres right in the heart of Manhattan. It was one of the first American parks to be designed using landscape architecture, as well. That’s right: the park is manmade.
Today, it has acres of grassy meadows, gentle hills, rocky cliffs, fountains, a zoo, lakes, and even a castle.
Every New Yorker has a section of the park that feels
like their own little special place of calm in an otherwise nonstop city.
2.Brooklyn Bridge Park
Partially tucked beneath the bridge after which it’s named, Brooklyn Bridge Park has transformed the 85- acre swath of land adjacent to the East River into a green space complete with the best views of the Manhattan skyline from, well, pretty much anywhere; a restored 1920s carousel; a playground and sandbox; athletic fields and volleyball courts; concessionaires and more.
3.Washington Square Park
If it’s cool or controversial, it probably started in Washington Square Park. For decades, this nearly 10- acre park in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village has been the epicenter for counterculture and creativity. Marked by the iconic white arch, which honors George Washington, Washington Square Park is steeped in New York City history. In the late 18th century, the area of Washington Square Park was a potter’s field, which is a burial ground for the poor, criminals, and victims of illness. As it transformed into a park, it became a center for the Beatnik movement and, later, the hippies.
Stretching 4 miles along the Hudson River’s edge on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Riverside Park is a mecca for joggers, runners, walkers and bicyclists. From 75th Street to 158th Street, the park is chock-full of activities and amenities for parkgoers. Visitors will find bicycle rentals, biking lanes along the Waterfront Greenway, walking paths, a skate park, sports courts, free kayak rentals, outdoor concert venues (with many summertime shows and events scheduled) and plenty of grassy knolls. Wannabe mariners can peek at boats docked at the 79th Street public marina while stopping for a drink or meal at the waterfront Boat Basin Cafe.
5. The High Line
It was never meant to be a park. But that’s part of the charm of New York’s High Line park, now one of the top attractions in the city. In the 1920s, the city created an elevated rail line to help protect pedestrians from freight trains that used to make deliveries up and down 10th Avenue. After the rise in trucking in the 1980s, the High Line railroad track fell into disuse. For decades, it sat unused until the early 2000s, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved the elevated rail line to be transformed into a pedestrian park.