Parks in Your Backyard

Walk to the water at beautiful Carl Schurz Park l Where Traveler
Carl Schurz Park (©Meryl Pearlstein)

New York is a city of parks. From Central Park in Manhattan to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, from The High Line on Manhattan’s West Side to Carl Schurz Park along the East River, you can clock many steps while you breathe fresh air, commune with nature, and enjoy the people watching that’s about as good as any movie you might see elsewhere.

 Central Park

Of these, I highly recommend Central Park. It’s New York City’s lungs, the green area where everyone congregates to play ball, schmooze, picnic, run, cycle and tour. There are plenty of landmarks to explore like the city’s notable folly, Belvedere Castle, where the official temperature for NYC is recorded daily. Or The Ramble, a tangle of paths and trees that is a sanctuary for migrating birds. Bring your binoculars and be on the watch for the park’s newest occupant, the snowy owl. Rumor has it he likes to hang out by the garbage bins. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is where runners and walkers spend their time, circling the beautiful body of water with its fountains and itinerant ducks. Bring the kids to the Ancient Playground or let them climb on the Alice in Wonderland Statue by Conservatory Water, where kids of all ages love to sail their toy motorboats.

A great family area is Conservatory Water l Where Traveler
Conservatory Garden (©Meryl Pearlstein)

Conservatory Garden

Conservatory Garden is one of Manhattan’s hidden gems. In plain view on Fifth Avenue (but behind the ornate Vanderbilt Gate), three immaculately designed gardens, one English, one Italian, and one French in style, are seasonally planted to provide a quiet oasis with benches, fountains, and a wisteria-covered pergola for mid-afternoon shade.

Sit a while and watch the world go by on the High Line l Meryl Pearlstein
The High Line (©Meryl Pearlstein)

The High Line

The High Line is a popular attraction, so busy now that it requires a timed entry. The 1.45-mile park is a prime example of urban ingenuity and renewal, taking a decaying elevated railroad structure and converting it into walks, plantings, seats and relaxation areas. Along the route, artists show their innovative works and food vendors offer NYC-centric treats like Brooklyn brisket or frozen pops.

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