Parks and Recreation: 6 NYC Parks

by Alana Cowan

Manhattan can be quite the concrete jungle! Lucky for us, New York City is also home to several outstanding parks, including Central Park, Union Square and Bryant Park (to name a few!). And, the best thing about parks in New York; they’re absolutely free! Phew, that’s a relief for us who paid $4.25 for this morning’s Cafe Latte!

So, while our apartments are most likely less than 600 square feet, this Summer, think of an NYC park as your very own backyard! Bring the kids to the playground, take your greyhound on a dog run or enjoy some fun fitness classes in the summer sun. Plus, most parks in NYC now host free WiFi networks, so there’s no excuse to stay indoors on a gorgeous, sunny day!

High Line – Built atop the former elevated New York Central Railroad called the West Side Line, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan, HIgh Line is the perfect place to lounge out during the day on one of its several day beds. Grab a delicious bite at one of Chelsea Market’s delicious gourmet food stores (located near the 15th street entrance) or take a breather between shopping sprees at one of Meatpacking District’s most coveted designer shops. During the Summer months, High Line has several events to keep you entertained. You can enjoy a dance performance  <> by Juan Morales and Sonido Costeño, the second in our series of three dance parties featuring New York’s finest live salsa and merengue bands by day and gaze at the stars, planets, and Moon using high-powered telescopes, and chat with members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. There is also a beer garden and a wine bar on the High Line, for those of you who are 21 and over.

Central Park – At Central Park, as we noted in our recent article, the amount of Summer activities you can find are boundless! Built as a green oasis, located between 59th street and 110th street, smack in the middle of Manhattan, Central Park contains a sanctuary of outdoors areas for fun Summer activities including lakes and ponds for boating and extensive tracks for exercise. Your entire family can enjoy sites such as the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden and the Delacorte Theater, which hosts the “Shakespeare in the Park <> ” summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel. There are also several sports fields used for informal or team sports and a number of enclosed playgrounds for children, one featuring Central Park’s most cherished sculptures, a bronze statue of Alice and her friends, the characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland..

Madison Square Park – This Summer, bring your kids out for a fun-filled day of Art in the Park, a series of playground classes to help bring out your child’s inner-most creativity. Kids will learn to master paper lanterns and even learn how to pitch a tent! Afterwords, grab a thick and creamy milkshake from the famous NYC landmark, Shake Shack. And, for a day of even more delicious eats, join Madison Square Park as they celebrate flatiron chefs <>  on July 17th for fabulous food, refreshing cocktails, and other delights in a charming and relaxed atmosphere.

Union Square – Home to the world famous Greenmarket, Union Square is known throughout New York as the place to purchase fresh floral arrangements, quench your thirst with a freshly squeezed lemonade and indulge in gourmet delights. And, during Summer months, the Union Square Partnership also features Summer in the Square, a free, weekly entertainment series that runs every Thursdays through August 9th.  The series offers an electrifying blend of fitness classes, children’s programming and free dance & music performances. And, if you’re interested in feeding your artsy side, Union Square hosts lunchtime Jazz performances every Tuesday, while the nearby Barnes and Noble will be featuring presentations from authors such as Glee’s Chris Colfer. For an entire list of events, check out the Union Square Partnership website <> .

Bryant Park – Home to the historical New York Public Library, Bryant Park is filled with busy office workers on sunny weekdays and city visitors on the weekends.  Every thursday during the Summer, park revelers can bask in some of Broadway’s most popular shows at The Broadway at Bryant Park Summer Series <>  without being stuck in a sunless theater! On and off Broadway performances include Wicked, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, War Horse, The Lion King and Mama Mia! And, for those looking to pick up a new Summer hobby can check out Bryant Park’s eclectic mix of activities including Fencing, Tai Chi or even juggling!

Washington Square Park – Leave the dumbbells at the gym and sculpt a beach-worthy body in the park! Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park provides fun toning exercise classes from Beginners Tai Chi <>  to outdoor yoga. <>  Conveniently located to near the NYU campus, Washington Square Park is the perfect place to study during the week or read leisurely on the weekend. This park sure makes Summer school look like a breeze!

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