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The warm weather we’re experiencing makes me want to get outdoors and run around! We’re fortunate to have such a wide variety of parks in New York City. I’m partial to dog parks because I like to see my dog Basil jumping around and having a blast with other pooches. But there are plenty of other area parks perfect for whatever you’d like to do.
- Hillside Dog Park: You can find Hillside Dog Park at Columbia Heights and Vine Street in Brooklyn. This two-acre-plus park has a lot of space if you want to walk your dog off-leash. It has a wooded section where dogs and their owners can explore. The design of the park includes one section reserved for little dogs and another for big canines. I appreciate this feature because my dog Basil is very small. I feel much more at ease when he’s able to play with dogs his own size. Be sure to let your pet refresh itself at one of the drinking fountains/bowls for dogs.
- Pier 84 Dog Park: Check out the Pier 84 Dog Park at West 44th Street and you’ll find an indoor/outdoor restaurant where you can enjoy some food while keeping an eye on your dog. There’s a large fenced-in area that keeps your dog safe as it romps and plays with other canines. The Pier 84 Dog Park is located within the 550-acre Hudson River Park.
Parks for Families With Children
- Heckscher Playground: Heckscher Playground is in Central Park, specifically mid-park at 65th Street. This 1.8-acre playground is an exciting place for families with young children who love to play. Kids can enjoy climbing on a huge spider web, digging in the sand, or flying down a variety of slides. Though the water sprayers are only active in the summertime, the swings and monkey bars are accessible any day of the year. Be sure to catch a ride on the Central Park carousel located near this popular playground.
- Nelson A. Rockefeller Park: If you have young children, they are bound to love the playground located in this park. The self-propelled merry-go-round is a longtime favorite with many youngsters. Also, there’s a huge red net that serves as an awesome trampoline. This playground features slides, bridges, and plenty of places to climb. The Nelson A. Rockefeller playground is in Battery Park City at River Terrace and Murray Street.
Parks Ideal for Date Night or Time With Friends
- Central Park: Central Park spans from 110th Street to 59th Street and has several different attractions that are perfect for a first date and beyond. A couple may want to take a horse and carriage ride to enjoy the scenery up close and personal. Or you and your date can rent bicycles to take a romantic, rolling tour of Central Park. A tour of the six-acre Central Park Zoo also makes for a fun date. You can go with your friends or a loved one to check out the snow leopards, pandas, penguins, and monkeys along with the many other animals that reside in the zoo. If you’re planning a date or a get-together with friends in the wintertime, you may want to ice-skate at Wollman Rink inside the park.
- Sunset Park: Located at 4200 7th Ave. in Brooklyn, this park spans 280 acres. You and a date can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Staten Island. Of course, these sights are even more romantic when viewed at sunset. Play volleyball on the sandy court, take a refreshing swim in the pool, or walk the pedestrian trails in the park.
Parks Perfect for Exercising or Fitness Classes
- Chelsea Park: Travel to this three-plus-acre park located at West 27th Street and 9th Avenue and you’ll find basketball courts as well as places to enjoy a baseball game with friends. Or you could do some pullups on the fitness equipment, then try your skills on the handball court. This park offers lots of space for physical activity.
- Prospect Park: You can find Prospect Park at 95 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn. If you like to run, jog or power-walk, you’ll appreciate the 3.36-mile running loop in this sprawling park. There are many groups that run at this park, including the well-known Prospect Park Track Club. Prospect Park also has baseball and softball fields as well as basketball courts. Or you can get out your bicycle and take a fast-paced or meandering tour of the park on one of the many park drives. If horseback riding is your favorite way to get some exercise, you can visit nearby Kensington Stables and sign up for a scenic trail ride through the park.
I hope you make it a point this spring and summer to enjoy some of the beautiful parks New York City has to offer. I know I will!