New York City has been slowly re-opening and welcoming the movement of people once again. Sidewalks are filled with dining tables and people are out and about wearing masks. When you don’t want to eat food or check out some retail spots, there are plenty of areas around the city that are open to enjoy. Grab a few friends, a first date, or simply go on a stroll by yourself in these parks. While you’re there take in as many historical elements as you can. All of these spots are home to the greatest creative, modernized, and breathtaking views which can lift up your day. These parks are your city’s backyard, so make the most of it and take care of it as it is yours.
As the weather stays warm for a couple more weeks there is still so much time to take advantage of some great outdoor spaces. A perfect way to appreciate the sunrise (if you can get up that early) or sunset is the swings at Pier 35. This project was designed as an eco-park that also functions as a habitat restoration feature to showcase the shoreline of the East River and protect mussels. Here you can view the Manhattan Bridge along with enough space from others who are relaxing the same way. The swings are the biggest attraction and can be a great place to bring a first date or friends. Many think the swings are like the city’s ‘front porch’, which gives off a feeling of tranquility.
In Downtown Manhattan, we have an open park called ‘Elevated Acre’ which is located within the Financial District. This park can accommodate all of your needs. There are escalators that can be missed if you’re not paying close attention. As soon as you reach the top, you come across a garden oasis for anyone that likes to sit on benches within the surrounding environment; a small grass lawn that can be home to your new yoga hobby. Stadium seating also allows a place that gives you room from others if you need it. Most people come here to eat their lunch while at work or simply relax. Be sure to take in each area as this is not something you would want to pass up.
Another way to take a breath from the concrete jungle is to visit The Conservatory Garden, located in Central Park at 105th St and Fifth Avenue. This oasis blooms with flowers and plants that are in season. There are official calendars that let you know when certain flowers are in bloom so you can plan your visit. When nearing the building you become face to face with the Vanderbilt Gate, an enduring architectural structure from the Vanderbilt Mansion, which stood on fifth avenue and 58th St. Past that in the garden is the Untermyer Fountain, a beautiful piece to visit which adds a pleasant touch to the environment. The three dancing maidens surround the fountain. Many pieces are dated way back which transcends into historical times. There are thirteen medallions for the first thirteen states which are in the walkway of the pergola shelters.
For any Upper West Side resident when needing some outdoor space you can squeeze yourself into Septuagesimo Uno, one of the smallest hidden parks on the Upper West Side, almost like an alleyway but bright and a lot less creepy. This park was built by Mayor John V. Lindsay Vest Pocket Park campaign by bringing greenery to small lots in between the various buildings. In the 1960s there were too many vacant areas that were too small to build out of, so the answer was simple. Similar to other community gardens and parks that are cared for by neighbors, to have a city-owned park. It fits the community perfectly and the locals adore the privacy of being secluded. This is mostly good for people that like to read or if you live in the area to sit in peace.
In Battery Park, right behind the Irish Hunger Memorial is Rockefeller Park. There is an attraction for every age group. An eight-acre park is one of those, which includes enough room for everyone. Ballparks are also in the vicinity, along with an extensive playground and a nice pavilion. In addition, The Lily Pond brings a peaceful sense of serenity. The pond areas are filled with elegant fish and a plethora of birds, alongside distant views of boats on the Hudson and the Statue of Liberty.
All of these parks and outside areas guarantee you composure and peace and give you another way for you to start a new hobby or even meet some new people during this time (safely of course). There is a lot of uncertainty revolving around Covid-19, schools opening, and the city in general, so take these parks into consideration for your emotional and mental wellbeing. While the days and nights bring a comfortable breeze and we are able to sit and get out of our apartments and dorms, maybe you want to read a book and then catch a bite to eat at the restaurant next door. Or you just moved here for school and want to wander around. All of these places are open and give exceptional views of the city. Some are more intimate than others as seen with the close proximities of Septuagesimo Uno. Which translates in Latin to “seventy-first” bearing the street name. Hopefully, now you have some spots to visit and lay back the next time you find yourself wondering where to go in the city.