Sheep Meadow is the best…when you want to play Frisbee with 2,000 of your closest friends.
But if you’re looking to relax in relative seclusion (you know, for NYC), explore one of these off-the-radar parks you’ve probably never heard of. We’ll bring the picnic blanket.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Just take the 7 train one stop past Grand Central into Long Island City, and in five minutes, you’ll be taking skyline selfies and soaking up the sun. It has patches of grass to relax on, walking paths, piers with gorgeous views of the East River, a giant Pepsi sign, sunbathing chairs and hammocks. Hammocks!
MSGR. McGolrick Park
Sure, you’ve been to McCarren, but head a little farther north for a much quieter stroll through McGolrick Park. While you’re there, get a history lesson and check out Shelter Pavilion, commemorating Greenpoint natives who perished in World War I–it was built in 1910 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Socrates Sculpture Park
This is the coolest thing ever: Before it was a gorgeous park-slash-outdoor-art-exhibit, this four-acre patch of land in Long Island City was an abandoned landfill. It earned its official NYC park status in 1998 when a developer swooped in and attempted to build luxury apartments over it. Nature wins!]
Take the 1, 2 or 3 train downtown to Battery Park City and follow the path between two residential buildings–hidden inside is a tiny, teardrop-shaped park that’s a great place for kids to play. There’s a water playground, two sand pits and a giant slide. (OK, it’s pretty damn fun for adults, too.)
This isn’t technically a park, but after hanging out near the koi pond in the cemetery’s tranquility garden, we dare you not to feel relaxed. While you’re there, stroll over to check out Frederick Ruckstull’s majestic Revolutionary War monument, Altar to Liberty: Minerva.
This is, hands down, the park with the best view in all of NYC. Stand at its tallest point and you’ll spot the Statue of Liberty, the skyline, Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey. It’s the perfect off-the-radar spot to take photos–yep, you guessed it–at sunset.
Fort Tryon Park
Welcome to the most secluded corner of NYC. This Inwood park has a whopping eight miles of pathways, the longest dog run in Manhattan and the Cloisters, a gorgeous medieval museum, on-site. You won’t have the whole 67 acres to yourself, but when you’re exploring the lush, wooded paths, you’ll definitely feel like you do.
The best cure for a bad day? Your own private waterfall. It can get a little crazy during lunchtime, but in the morning or late afternoon, this hidden Midtown gem is an amazing place to grab a few moments of peace between meetings. Best of all, the calming sound of rushing water drowns out the honking cabs.