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Top 5: Ways to Experience Nature in New York City

by Allie Moore

Apr 3, 2015

Spring Morning in Central Park, New York City © Graemes | Dreamstime

North America

Greenery and open skies can be hard to come by among the towering skyscrapers and busy streets of the city that never sleeps. But even the pavement pounders need to escape the steel and smog every once in a while. Luckily, New York City has more than a few spaces in which to find natural solace.


Poet's Walk, Central Park, New York City © Julie Feinstein | Dreamstime 20960566

Central Park © Julie Feinstein | Dreamstime


Central Park

Probably the most famous and most obvious refuge is the 2.5-mile patch of nature where bicycle paths, expansive lawns and shady trees abound. Roller bladers, cyclists, and runners take advantage of the miles of paths that circle the park. This haven of park space makes you feel like you have left Manhattan, but a quick glance toward the sky to view the surrounding buildings reminds you you’re in the center of one of the busiest cities in the world.


The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park, New York City © Littleny | Dreamstime 49211761

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park © Littleny | Dreamstime 49211761


Prospect Park

A short, cross-river subway ride out to Brooklyn takes you to the sprawling hills of Prospect Park. Slightly more remote than Central Park, this park is a dream for dogs and their Frisbees, and picnic fans who just want to get away from the city’s crowds.


Roosevelt Island River Walk and the Queensboro Bridge, New York City © Bojan Bokic | Dreamstime 36006004

Roosevelt Island River Walk and the Queensboro Bridge © Bojan Bokic | Dreamstime


Roosevelt Island

This narrow, two-mile-long strip of land between Manhattan and Long Island can be reached by tram and is home to Southpoint Park on the south end, and the North Point lighthouse on the north end, approximately 20 minutes on foot from each other.


High Line Park on Manhattan's West Side, New York City © Carlos Neto | Dreamstime 47711158

High Line Park on Manhattan’s West Side © Carlos Neto | Dreamstime


The High Line

Situated on the Lower West Side of Manhattan and nestled atop an old railway line, the High Line is a stretch of park space that features walkways, art displays and various plants and flowers.


Spring Tuilips in Washington Square Park, New York City © Robert Crum | Dreamstime 34173023

Spring Tuilips in Washington Square Park © Robert Crum | Dreamstime


Washington Square

This smaller but very centrally located square is tucked in the middle of New York University. It doesn’t offer as much nature as some of the others, but grassy knolls and dog parks help city dwellers escape the concrete for a brief moment.



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