- New York
The mention of the USA’s New York City conjures images of towering skyscrapers and flashing lights.
Many travelers who go New York City overlook the more than 11,300 hectares of green space among its five boroughs. Parks such as Central Park and Washington Square Park are go-to spots for fresh air, but others are often overlooked. Here’s a list of five of New York City’s underrated, but worthwhile, parks.
The High Line, Manhattan
First opened in 2009, this repurposed elevated railway — located in the trendy Chelsea neighborhood in west Manhattan — is the product of investors and local community members coming together to preserve a relic of the city’s past by creating a beautiful and useful public space. The High Line, which stretches more than 2 kilometers, offers beautiful views of the city from above street level, and features art installations and a few cafes. You can reach the park just outside of Chelsea Market, a chic spot for foodies with gourmet market stalls, casual restaurants and fun shops.
Getting there: There are several entrances to the park along 10th Avenue. To get there, hop on the A, C or E subway train to 14th Street and 8th Avenue. The High Line is just a short walk from there.
The High Line occupies what was once an elevated train track. The park weaves its way through the buildings of west Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Riverside Park, Manhattan
The Upper West Side of the city offers another gem worth exploring. Riverside Park runs more than 6 kilometers along the Hudson River, from 72nd Street to 158th Street, with trails to make any walk, jog or bike ride feel like an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. While here, be sure to check out the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Grant’s Tomb and Riverside Church. At the end of the day, you can watch the sunset from the Boat Basin Café (on West 79th Street) or the Pier i Cafe (on West 70th Street).
Getting there: Take the 1 subway train to West 79th Street and Broadway and walk a few blocks west. You can also take the 2 or 3 subway train to West 72nd Street and do the same.
The striking Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument sits in Riverside Park, which runs along the Hudson River on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Flushing Meadows Corona Park is as diverse as the community it serves. At more than 500 hectares, the park is one and a half times the size of Central Park. Flushing Meadows Corona Park was originally built to host the 1939 New York World’s Fair; it did so again in 1964. The park remains a popular destination for concerts and sporting events at Citi Field stadium, home of the New York Mets baseball team, and Arthur Ashe Stadium. While you’re here, spend the day kayaking or paddle boating on Flushing Bay, or playing cricket and soccer with locals. Educational and cultural attractions include the Queens Museum of Art, New York Hall of Science and Queens Theatre in the Park.
Getting there: The quickest way to get to Flushing Meadows/Corona Park from Manhattan when the Mets are playing or the U.S. Open is being held is to take the 7 subway train to Mets-Willets Point Station and follow signs to Flushing Meadows/Corona Park. Otherwise, take the 7 to 111th Street, then walk south to the park entrance at 49th Avenue.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park was constructed to host the 1939 World’s Fair. Today it is a popular gathering spot for visitors and Queens locals alike.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who designed Central Park, also designed the Brooklyn oasis of Prospect Park. Next to trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope and Lefferts Park, Prospect Park features plenty of ways to enjoy a sunny day. Like Central Park, Prospect Park features a boathouse where you can rent pedal boats, as well as a concert venue and even a zoo. The park is also near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which serves as an extension of the park’s natural beauty.
Getting there: From Manhattan, you can take the B or Q subway trains to Prospect Park stop at the northeast edge of the park. You can also take the F line to the 15th Street–Prospect Park stop on the southwest corner of the park.
Prospect Park in Brooklyn was designed by the creators of Central Park.
Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx
Central Park may be big, but Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx is more than three times the size of the Manhattan green space. Pelham Bay Park boasts around 21 kilometers of shoreline along the Long Island Sound, not to mention two 18-hole golf courses and numerous hiking trails and play areas. With this much space to explore, you’ll feel worlds away from the hectic city streets.
Getting there: Hop aboard the 6 subway train, which runs along the east side of Manhattan, and take it north to the last stop, Pelham Bay Park.
Three times the size of Central Park, the Bronx’s Pelham Bay Park offers respite from the crowded city streets