An emerald expanse in the thriving, concrete jungle that is New York City, Central Park lies in the heartland of the Manhattan borough. It commences its labyrinthine stretch from Midtown, all the way to Harlem. It was created in 1857 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who envisioned a sprawling green space in the center of the island. The park spans 843 acres (341.15 hectares) and bustles with life throughout the day, even as the layered, multi-hued fold of the city's skyline unfolds at its hem. The park's 21 playgrounds are speckled with ornate fountains, sculptures, myriad bridges and arches, together forming an urbane respite where several come to find peace from the city's chaotic pace. Attractions within the park include the Bethesda Fountain, the Conservatory Garden, Belvedere Castle, and Central Park Zoo.
Open to visitors from April until November, the Bailey Arboretum offers up a world of color during that time: daffodils kick off the season, followed by flowering trees and a variety of annuals and perennials all through the summer. This arboretum has a particularly wonderful collection of conifers, and features a sensory garden for the physically challenged. Many events are hosted here, along with guided walks and other educational opportunities. No entrance fee for children 16 and under; $3 for adults.
The Sands Point Preserve makes full use of its 216 acres: landscaped gardens lead to tangles of trees, meadows become cliffs overlooking beaches, vines of honeysuckles and other flowers surround a freshwater pond, and a castle sits on sweeping lawns. Explore Long Island history by touring the elegant gray-stone Hempstead House or the French eclectic Falaise, after exploring the natural beauty of this diverse environment on 6 marked trails. Educational visits are welcomed, and festivals or special events often take advantage of the spectacular scenery. See website for details.
A renowned entertainment venue in the Big Apple, Madison Square Garden has gained iconic importance around the world. Attracting crowds since 1968, the stadium is abuzz with voices of Knicks and Rangers fans. With a capacity of 18,000, it is considered to be Midtown Manhattan's revered and oldest entertainment spot. From glamorous music concerts to award shows, the venue has witnessed some of the biggest events over time. A sought after venue in New York City and sitting right above Penn Station, it is easily accessible for everyone.
Brooklyn's Coney Island became one of the city's leisure hotspots in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, following the introduction of the Coney Island & Brooklyn Railroad streetcar line. Since then, the area has been swamped by resorts and attractions. Following the decline of World War II and the years of neglect the park endured after, the area has burst back into life and is home to Luna Park, the Aquarium and of course, the beach. A three-mile-long boardwalk runs the length of Coney Island into Brighton Beach. There is sometimes a circus, but always something strange to see. Also, don't let the non-holiday cooler months deter you from visiting; it is much less crowded, and the stores remain open.
At over 897 acres (363 hectares), the Flushing Meadows Corona Park is Queens' largest and New York City's fourth-largest. It is the site of two former world's fairs, one in 1939 and the other in 1964, as well as the home to the famous symbol of the 1964 Fair: the Unisphere. While its immaculate pastures are home to several public facilities such as the Shea Stadium, the home of the mighty New York Mets, the USTA National Tennis Center, along with the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Citi Field and the Louis Armstrong Stadium are definitely Flushing Meadow's most noticeable sights. The park really comes to life during the American Open, when it receives its highest number of attendees.
National Geographic Encounter is tourist attraction located in the heart of the Big Apple. The main aim of the establishment is to take its visitors on an underwater journey. A few of the species you will come across are the Humboldt squid, Humpback whale and many more. Learn more about life underwater at the EXploration Hall. They also provide spaces for rent for private events such as parties, galas and corporate meets.
Chelsea Piers are an array of piers along the Hudson River, extending from Pier 59 to 62. A bustling commercial harbor in the early 1900s, and the intended arrival point of the Titanic and Lusitania, the later-abandoned port metamorphosed into a recreational hub in 1995. The 30 acres (12 hectares) of waterfront space features state-of-the-art sporting facilities like a golf range, roller-skating and ice rinks, bowling lanes, basketball courts and an indoor soccer field. Head to the fitness club and day spa for health and wellness. Also on floor is one of the largest gymnastics center in the city and versatile venues playing host to private events.
With a picturesque location on the banks of the East River, this local park offers numerous activities for children and adults alike. Despite its modest size, the park has facilities like basketball and handball courts, baseball and football fields, running tracks as well as a children's playground. Dogs can frolic in the designated areas, while there are barbecue areas for picnicking families. The Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center at the heart of the park offers fitness facilities as well as a pool.
An urban oasis for residents of the Lower East Side, the Hamilton Fish Park was completed in 1900. It consists of a modern gymnasium, an Olympic-sized pool, a playground, a basketball court, a recreation center and an after-school program that offers varied lessons to both children and adults. The original landscaping of the park was remodeled in 1936, when the park was outfitted with a swimming pool, and the open space was more effectively used to construct tracks and tennis lawns. Today, it consists of terraces and planters with trees preserved from the twentieth century.