10 Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park
Operated by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park is part of the series of parks that stretches from Historic Battery Park to the World Financial Center. This park also features the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and a pavilion with a restaurant. Visitors can spend hours walking along the beautifully manicured lawns and gardens. The benches that border the Hudson are perfect for extended viewings of harbor sights. TRAIN: 1, 9 to Rector St (212-267-9700)

9 Central Park
This famed 843-acre rectangular park offers a variety of beautiful recreational opportunities amid the bustle of Gotham. Joggers, nature lovers and bikers use the park daily. Kids young and old enjoy riding the Friedsam Memorial Carousel (near 65th Street), and the Belvedere Castle (near 79th Street) affords great views of the city. The Central Park Wildlife Center (Zoo) at 5th Avenue and East 64th Street (212-861-6030) is open daily year-round. A ticket from CPWC gets you in free to the nearby Tisch Children's Zoo. The two and a half-acre Strawberry Field contains the black-and-white "Imagine" mosaic, a tribute to John Lennon, donated by the city of Naples, Italy. Ice skate in the winter and in-line skate throughout the year at Wollman Rink (6th Avenue at 59th Street). The Great Lawn (behind the Met) is popular with sunbathers. Race mini-yachts or rent a boat of your own at Conservatory Water (near 5th Avenue and 74th Street). The Conservatory Garden (212-360-2766) at 104th Street is open 8am-dusk and holds tours of its six-acre grounds every Sat (April-October) at 11am. Central Park Conservancy Visitor's Centers are located at: the Dairy, mid-Park at 65th Street, Belvedere Castle, mid-Park at 79th Street, mid-Park at 97th Street, the North Meadow Recreation Center, and the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (off Fifth Avenue). TRAIN: A, B, C, D to 59th St, 66th St-Lincoln Center, 72nd St, 81st St-Museum of Natural History, 86th St, 96th St, 103rd St, 110th St-Cathedral Pkwy; 2,3 to 110th St; N, R to 5th Ave (212-360-3456)

8 Bryant Park
This is the largest illuminated park in the world and the site of the first World's Fair (1853-54). Midtown workers have found this park, with its gravel paths and movable green iron chairs, to be a great lunch spot. The park draws thousands of visitors daily during the warmer months; at various times of the year, the park features free film and music festivals, fashion shows, a holiday market and a pride celebration. One of the nation's most successful restaurants is onsite, as well as food kiosks servicing park patrons and the streets surrounding the park. TRAIN: F, V, B, or D to 42nd St/Bryant Park (212-768-4242)

7 Battery Park
Named for the battery of cannons that once guarded New York, Battery Park dominates the southern tip of Manhattan. The park is a good jumping-on point for tours of Ellis Island, Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty, and it is the best place to view the convergence of the Hudson and East Rivers. Battery Park is a great stop during summer months when outdoor shows and concerts are plentiful. Castle Clinton, built as a fort in 1807, was later redesigned as the first U.S. monument to World War I veterans. The park is a great place for an outdoor picnic or walking tour. TRAIN: 1, 9 to South Ferry: R to Whitehall (212-360-3456, 212 344-3491)

6 Prospect Park
Brooklyn's version of Central Park, Prospect Park provides a pleasant retreat for Brooklyn-ites seeking refuge from city life. The park is the site of the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Built in 1859, the 562-acre park is punctuated by natural woodlands, ponds, meadows and bluffs. Prospect Park Wildlife Conservation Center (718-965-6505) offers kids of all ages a look at wallabies and a prairie dog town, just two examples of the extensive nature offerings. The park also includes a boathouse and tennis center. (718-965-8951)

5 Hudson River Park
Manhattan kids love to play in this park. Bronze, life-sized (kid-sized actually) statues of animals and people populate the landscape. The park also houses playgrounds, promenades and walkways. Downtown residents frequent the park for great views of both the harbor and The Statue of Liberty. There are also several handball and basketball courts for a quick pick-up game. The park's bike path is open 24 hours-a-day. TRAIN: 1, 9 to Chambers St (212-627-2020)

4 Gramercy Park
A cast-iron fence completely surrounds the tranquil grounds of Gramercy Park, one of the only private parks still remaining on Manhattan Island. The two-acre park, designed by Samuel B. Ruggles, dates from 1831 and is flanked by numerous grand homes, ranging in style from red-brick townhouses and brownstones to Victorian and gothic-style apartment buildings. In the center of the park stands a statue dedicated to the famous Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth. Numerous modern-day stars own homes in the area. Street Smarts Walking Tours (212-969-8262) offers a $10 tour of Gramercy that includes a trip around the park. TRAIN: L, N, R, 4, 5, 6 to Union Sq-14 St

3 Union Square
This grassy enclosure is surrounded by some of Manhattan's best restaurants and boutiques. The park, designed in the first half of the 19th century, is home to the popular Greenmarket, where you can buy flowers, plants, and produce of all types. From Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, a bustling holiday market carries everything from designer handbags to handcrafted ornaments. Historically, the square has been the setting for political rallies and street-corner orators, much like Speaker's Corner in London; in recent times, it hosted candlelight vigils honoring victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. TRAIN: 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W to Union Sq-14th St (212-460-1200)

2 Washington Square Park
Washington Square is the former stomping grounds of such writers as Henry James, Mark Twain and Eugene O'Neil. The square's famous white marble arch provides a formal entranceway into Greenwich Village, giving it an almost London-like flair. The square is the cultural and social heart of the Village, for this is the place where residents gather to watch street performers or eat lunch. On the northern side, an architect's dream overlooks the Square — a row of 19th century Greek revival homes. Meanwhile, to the east is the main campus of New York University. TRAIN: A, B, C, D, E, F, Q to W 4th St

1 Fort Tryon Park
The 60-plus acre park surrounding historic Fort Tryon, one of the last strongholds to resist the British invasion of New York in 1776, offers spectacular views of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge. The park itself is a beautiful landscape filled with trees, lawns and rock gardens designed by Frederick Law. In the fall of each year, Fort Tryon Park hosts the Medieval Festival, during which the park is transformed into a medieval market town. TRAIN: A to 190th St

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Maps and Directions

Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks
Neighborhood: Financial District
Central Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks, Public Spaces
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Bryant Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks
Neighborhood: Garment District
Battery Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Great Views, Parks
Prospect Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks
Neighborhood: Brooklyn
Hudson River Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks
Neighborhood: Tribeca
Gramercy Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks
Neighborhood: Gramercy
Union Square 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks
Neighborhood: Union Square
Washington Square Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Parks, Sightseeing
Neighborhood: West Village
Fort Tryon Park 10Best List Arrow
Type: Historic Sites, Military, Parks
Neighborhood: Inwood
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