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Where Are the Best Parks in Lower Manhattan?

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by Cristina Dimen (subscribe)
Cristina crafts pieces on travel, parenting and lifestyle. Connect with her at or and @CristinaDimen on Twitter. WN mentor link:
Published June 24th 2012
During your travels in New York City, you may have passed by or wandered into one of its many gorgeous parks. If you're in Lower Manhattan and need a place to sit and rest—stop by, stay awhile and let the kids run around in one of these parks.

Among the interesting bronze figures you'll find at Penny Park.

Nelson A. Rockefeller, Jr. Park or "Penny Park"

As you walk along the Hudson River Esplanade in Battery Park City, you may catch a glimpse of an array of bronze characters sitting atop tables and benches, and on the ground. Chances are that if your kids see them, they'll immediately want to walk over for a closer look.

Who can blame them? It's hard to resist these whimsical bronze statues that collectively make up what is known as "The Real World" sculpted by Tom Otterness.

A sculpture scribbles at Penny Park.

Among the many statues within the area are little cartoon-like figures with smiling faces, some of which are accompanied by animals and even piles of pennies. Together, they depict real-life issues such as struggles and power in a child-like and playful manner.

Depiction of struggles faced on a daily basis.

No matter where you sit at "Penny Park", you'll find yourself glancing at the figurines, and even breaking into your own smiles as your kids touch, pet and even climb on top of them.

Don't be surprised if your kids sit or pet this dog.

After they get their fill of playing amidst these characters, your kids have the option of running towards the expansive nearby lawn. With a happy gait, follow your young ones, claim a patch of green, spread your picnic blanket and bask in the waterfront scenery.

Savor the waterfront views.

Don't forget to take a leisurely stroll to the pond—a popular area where kids like to spot and count the koi fish and ducks.

A relaxing water garden.

Rector Park

If you seek quiet respite from the city's bustle, some time at Rector Park at South End Avenue in Battery Park City may be just what you need.

An inviting shot of Rector Street Park.

While playing with soccer balls, Frisbees and other sports equipment are okay at other venues—at Rector Park, only quiet activities such as reading, meditating or writing, etc. are appropriate.

Bask in quiet splendor at Rector Park.

Walk over to one of the benches—perhaps those under the shade of some fruit trees where you can admire the blossoms in cheery pinks, reds and other colors.

Enjoy the seasonal flora.

Look up. What type of fruit hangs on the trees above you?

Before you head out to this particular park, keep in mind that you can't bring your pooch with you. But take your favorite reading material along—you just might be able to finally finish that book, newspaper or magazine you've been meaning to read.

You'll find that no matter where you go, New York City offers various green spaces where you can drop by on your own, or with some energetic kids.

In your opinion, which Lower Manhattan parks are the best ones to visit?
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