Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NYC's Outdoor Hidden Gems

Despite today's chilly temperatures, this weekend New York City is expected to hit 88 degrees. That means packed parks and lots of sun-bathing bods littering all available green space.

Gray Line New York has put together a list of the city’s most family-friendly parks and playgrounds. Whether you're grabbing a group of friends for a picnic lunch in the park, going for a bike ride with the bf or playing host to family, check out these free ways to enjoy New York's coveted outdoor space:

  • Diana Ross Playground: The Central Park playground, located near 81st Street and Central Park West, has tire swings, tube slides, a gigantic wooden playscape, and even a mushroom water feature.
  • Arthur Ross Pinetum Playground: Everyone can enjoy a bit of the outdoors at this city playground, also located in Central Park, northwest of the Great Lawn at 85th Street.  Bring some friends to enjoy a fun outdoor lunch in the playground’s vast picnic area, set under a beautiful pine tree canopy.  
  • Lenox Avenue Playground: Also located in Central Park, at 110th Street and Lenox Avenue, this newly renovated playground boasts tons of fun for kids of all ages.  With its timber climbing structures, tire swings, and even a water feature, there is no need to worry about shortage of entertainment here. 
  • Heckscher Playground: What better way to celebrate summer than by taking in an all-American baseball game? With its open fields that host several baseball and softball games throughout the season, Heckscher Playground is the perfect spot for the whole family to take in a game or two together. 
  • Bryant Park: Centrally located in midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is home to beautiful gardens, carousel rides, and the movies in the park summer movie series.  
  • Madison Square Park: With its outdoor festivals, Madison Square Park is one not to be missed. Every year, this park salutes the kids in our lives with their Spring Kids Fest and Madison Square Kids entertainment series, featuring child-friendly performers, live music, storytelling and more. This is also a great spot for parents and older kids to enjoy, with the historical architecture and monuments located in and around the grounds, and relaxing rest areas.  
  • Booker T. Washington Playground: Located at 108th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus and complete with swings, slides and open spaces, this Riverside Park playground is a great outdoor spot. 
  • Martin Luther King Playground: In addition to all the traditional playground must-haves, MLK Playground, located at 114th Street and Lenox Avenue, also offers basketball courts, handball courts, spray showers for water fun, and volleyball courts.  
  • Riverside Park: Stretching from 72nd Street to 158th Street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is a fantastic place to enjoy a serene landscape and spectacular views of the Hudson River.  And be sure not to miss the park’s recreational facilities, including sports fields, a skate park and the public marina at 79th Street. 
  • Battery Park: Head to lower Manhattan to visit one of the most recognized spots in the city, Battery Park.  Once operating as the world’s first immigrant depot, this outdoor space is full of New York and American history that the whole family can appreciate.  Hop on one of the ferries that will take you to see the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.  If water cruising is not of interest, stay on dry land and take a stroll through the park’s many gardens or have some play time at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Playground. 

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