Hidden amongst the concrete jungle of New York City are some of the most beautiful open spaces, just waiting to be found. While Aussie’s may be used to green grass and a few swings, these lush grounds take on a whole different meaning to the word, ‘park.’ Spot grand pianos stashed under flowering trees and meet fun-loving locals enjoying a competitive game of chess - there is neither rhyme nor reason for boredom here. Explore lavish fountains, ancient castles, meanderings lakes and flourishing gardens, as you enjoy a break from the fast pace of city life in this bustling metropolis.
Here are five of our favourite parks in New York.
It really goes without saying, but Central Park had to make it onto the list. The largest park in New York City, this impressive green reserve covers over 800 acres. Hire a bicycle and make your way round the famous grounds, spotting iconic locations from your favourite flicks. Kids will love a visit to the Central Park Zoo or go wild at the giant Heckscher Playground. Visit the towering Belvedere Castle for picturesque panoramas or brush up on your athletic skills at the basketball courts or on the baseball field. Couples might fancy a romantic ride on a horse-drawn carriage or if your visit coincides with the winter months, you can go ice skating at the popular Woolman Rink.
High Line Park
This unique park in the heart of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District needs to be on your go to list. Built on an abandoned elevated railway track, this green space offers an urban escape filled with modern sculptures and quirky pieces of artwork. Meander along the well designed path and enjoy a peaceful oasis of wildflowers and lush green grass as the city continues to whizz by beneath you. If it’s your first visit to the park, why not join a free Friends of the Highline walking tour where you will learn more about the park’s history, art, design and horticulture.
Smack bang in Midtown Manhattan, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, is the pretty Bryant Park. Take a breather from your daily duties and spend time simply enjoying the great outdoors. Admire the striking gardens surrounded by a canyon of skyscrapers and watch locals descend on this open space at all hours of the day. Of course, parks in New York aren’t just about taking it easy - they are all about having good ol fashioned fun. Fancy a hit of ping pong? Perhaps a puzzling game of chess? Make a hole in one at the public putting green or take your little one on a magical ride on the Le Carrousel merry-go-round.
Washington Square Park
One of the most well known parks in New York City is Washington Square Park, situated in Greenwich Village. Recognizable by the striking marble Washington Square Arch, you can enjoy respite in this verdant oasis. Enjoy a picnic on the lawn, cheer on the entertaining street performers or dominate in a game of chess. There are also plenty of colourful slides, sand pits and jungle gyms to keep the kids busy.
Just seconds away from the famous Wall Street is the lovely Battery Park. Spanning 25 acres, right at the southern end of Manhattan Island, the park offers beautiful waterfront gardens. You may find yourself here on your way to see the Statue of Liberty, with the ferry terminal close by or having just explored the Financial District. The park has starred in numerous films and televisions series and also features Fritz Koenig’s sculpture, The Sphere, which serves as a poignant reminder of the nearby September 11 attacks.