Great Outdoor Escapes Within NYC
Despite the sprawl of the New York City Metro Area, the city features vast amounts of green space. While you may be used to some of the parks in Manhattan, maybe you want to check out something in Brooklyn or Queens. Whether you live in the Financial District or East Village, there’s fortunately green space just a short ride away. If you don’t have time for a full weekend getaway, then try to visit one of these spots listed below.
Where to Get Fresh Air in NYC
Red Hook, Brooklyn
Source: Instagram (@brooklyn_crab)
Distance from East Village: 45 minutes (Take a Brooklyn bound F train to Smith 9th St, then walk east.)
Distance from Financial District: 35 minutes (Take the IKEA express ferry from Pier 11/Wall Street to the Red Hook Dock)
You may have been in this neighborhood before to go to IKEA, but there’s so much more to Red Hook. When you arrive, be sure to grab a “swingle” from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie, a Belgian chocolate-dipped key lime tart that’s made on site everyday.
During warm weather months, Red Hook also features plenty of outdoor restaurants that allow you to dine right on the water. Our favorite is Brooklyn Crab, which offers fresh oysters, various crab rolls, and plenty of other options even for those who don’t like seafood. After dinner, take a stroll towards Louis Valentino Park and Pier to watch the sunset over the Statue of Liberty & New Jersey. On Thursdays, Red Hook Flicks occurs where you can watch free movies under the stars (weather permitting).
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Distance from East Village: 32 minutes (Take a Brooklyn bound F train to York Street, head west towards the Brooklyn Bridge.)
Distance from Financial District: 15-20 minutes (Take a Brooklyn bound 2 or 3 train to Clark Street; head west towards the water.)
If you’re looking for something to eat or drink, hang around the north end of the park near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. As you cross under the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ll approach Pier 1, which features some of the most beautiful gardens in the entire city. There are also plenty of spots to lie down in the grass, without worrying about chairs or pets. Pier 2 features plenty of activities and facilities, like basketball courts, kayaking, dance, bocce courts, fitness equipment and much more. Pier 3 offers a beautiful granite terrace overlooking the financial district, while Pier 4 has a sand beach where non-motorized boats can be launched (swimming is not permitted). At the south end of the park, Pier 5 offers plenty of spots to have a picnic, barbecue, or game of soccer, while Pier 6 offers a dog run, volleyball courts, and playgrounds.
Source: Instagram (@governorsisland)
Distance from East Village: 1 hour (Take the M15 Select Bus down to the last stop at South Ferry/Terminal, hop on a ferry at Battery Maritime Building)
Distance from Financial District: 20-30 minutes (Catch a ferry from the Battery Maritime Building)
While Governor’s Island has always been a popular escape for New Yorker’s from all boros, there are a few new things this year worth highlighting. Adventures at GI offers a 300-foot zipline, a 3,600 square foot maze, and three, 25-foot rock walls. For foodies, Island Oyster is a new 36-seat seafood restaurant offering vast views of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Ellis Island. Also new this year is expanded ferry service, allowing the park to be open until October 31. If you don’t make it there during the summer, be sure to head there to check out some great fall foliage. There’s also a brand new six-acre concert venue called The HRBR Project, which has hosted big name DJ’s like Tiesto, Hardwell, and Carl Cox.
Fort Tilden, Queens
Distance from East Village: 42 minutes by car
Distance from Financial District: 30-40 minutes by car
While you can’t get to this destination by subway, bus, or ferry, it’s worth going out of your way if you’re looking for a quiet day at the beach. Located on the Rockaway Peninsula, Fort Tilden is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area and the U.S. National Park system. Fort Tilden was originally an artillery post built to protect New York City in 1876. It was opened up as a base in 1916 right before World War I and was also used during World War II. It was officially decommissioned in 1974. New York’s most serene beaches can be found here, and is also a great spot to fish. Beaches here are $10 per carload, which is charged when you enter the parking lots after driving through Rockaway Beach.