You’ve scaled the Empire State Building, toured One World Observatory at the Trade Center, bustled your way through Times Square, boarded the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, checked off the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, even glared at your favorite celebrities at Madame Tussaud's, and now you want to breathe. Look no further than the next patch of green on your subway map.
Ask any New Yorker to name his or her favorite park and likely it is one you have yet to visit because inside this vast urban cosmos called New York City are great swathes of verdant meadows, trails, golf courses, waterways and vestiges of native woodlands. Most attractions are free or inexpensive – from Central Park that stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street to vest-pocket parks that offer tiny respites like Father Demo and the Carmine St. Park in Greenwich Village – visit sites for special events year round.
As New York City’s former industrial sites – factories, gantries and railroad tracks have also transformed into parks that ribbon through the city. Public parks are essential elements of every New Yorker’s life. If it is simply people watching you want to do, come to a New York City park, natives love the spaces and use them year-round. Bryant Park in midtown at 42nd St. for instance, shows films outdoors in summer; in winter the lawn becomes a skating rink.
For the most up-to-date information on events, visit City Parks Foundation and for locating spectacular performances in the city's parks, visit Summerstage.