Surely when you think of New York, you immediately think of Central Park. It makes sense, too, because this green oasis in the middle of Manhattan is simply beautiful. But there is more. In fact, New York turned out to be a remarkably green destination, with beautiful large and small parks in every neighborhood. Beautiful in winter with the bare trees, in summer a great place to picnic and plant yourself down in the grass. Read on and discover this green city: my top 8 most beautiful parks in New York.
1. Central Park
Probably one of the most famous parks in the world. In the year 1857, Central Park was little more than a farm with a garbage dump. Twenty thousand workers and 20 years later, this had been transformed into a park. Today you will find more than 25,000 trees, over 3.4 km2 of forest, 21 playgrounds, 36 bridges and 7 lakes. There are also many bird species flying around and you will find several sculptures and restaurants. No wonder Central Park is visited by more than 37 million people annually. Enjoy the water, the many squirrels, the peace and quietness and each other.
2. Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The 3.6km2 Flushing Meadows, located in the Flushing Queens neighborhood, was built specifically for the World’s Fair (World’s Fair) in 1939. Visible from afar is the magnificent centerpiece of the park: the Unisphere, the world’s largest globe made of stainless steel. The Unisphere was built as a symbol of the 1964 World’s Fair. For those who recognize it, the globe was used in the intro to the series The King of Queens. Next to the globe you will also find the New York State Pavillon, consisting of three towers, a monument you may know from the movies Men in Black and Iron Men II. During our visit at the end of the day, the globe was beautifully illuminated by the setting sun. This made the walk through this already beautiful green park even more amazing.
3. Prospect Park
In the Brooklyn neighborhood you find the beautiful Prospect Park. It is large, green and, with “only” 8 million visitors a year, much quieter than Central Park. Muddy paths, pretty lakes and cute little houses are all encountered in this unexpected beauty. At the main entrance, you first come to Grand Army Plaza, where you will find a large busy rotunda with an ark, reminiscent of the soldiers who fought during the Civil War.
4. The High Line
Unlike anything else, the High Line is a park located above the ground, on an old railroad line that has not been in use since the 1980s, in the Chelsea neighborhood. Once at the top, you have fantastic views of the Hudson River and the city from the 2.3km boardwalk. An area of tranquility, greenery and history, where among other things you will pass the Chelsea Market, an old building where you find food stalls and a small shopping mall. The park is still quite young: it only opened to the public in 2009.
5. Washington Square Park
One of the most beautiful parks in the city, located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, is a park with a history. In the 17th century, this place was used by the Dutch as farmland, which remained so until April 1797. Then the land was used as a public cemetery for deceased unknown and poor people. Those killed by the yellow fever epidemic in the early 19th century were also buried here. To this day, more than 20,000 bodies still lie beneath this park. We, meanwhile, sit on a bench for a while, eating our sandwich in the cold. With a beautiful live piano concert on a large grand piano in the background in the middle of the park. How special!
6. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
Located on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, this park gives you spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. As a tribute to the 32nd president of the United States, you will also find a memorial site featuring his 1941 speech in which Franklin D. Roosevelt expressed his concept of four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
7. Riverside Park
The insanely beautiful Riverside Park in Manhattan’s Upper West Side is great not only because of its magnificent cathedral, Grant’s Tomb and other landmarks, but also because of the stunning views of the Hudson River. And if you know the movie You’ve got mail: the scene at the end of the film, where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet, was shot here. The sun, the peace: it was simply wonderful.
8. Fort Greene Park
In southern Brooklyn, we took a walk through the neighborhood, ending up in the small Fort Greene Park. Not only the park itself, but the neighborhood in which the park is located, also called Fort Greene, is well worth seeing. Several forts were housed there during the War of Independence. We walk over the small hills where the many squirrels are looking for food. And enjoying the peace and quietness of Brooklyn.
New York: the city of gray skyscrapers, historic buildings and Times Square. But also a green city where we enjoyed nature, beautiful views and each other during our stay. It’s those little things that make New York even more awesome. These 8 walking routes in New York City will take you past all of the above parks.