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New York Parks and Recreation

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by Andrew Pelberg (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living everyday like an adventure.
Published April 11th 2011

Central Park is the most well known park in New York City, perhaps the nation. The boroughs of New York also have lovely parks.

In Brooklyn there is Prospect Park's 585 acres which is located between Park-Slope, Prospect-Lefferts' Gardens, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, and Flatbush Avenues, Grand Army Plaza, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This park contains seven baseball fields two of which are the size of a major league baseball field. A track club has met in the park since the early 1970's pacing themselves on a trail that circles around the park. Horses housed in the Kensington Stables can be seen being ridden throughout the park.

However, if land is not your bag and water is, pedal boating is a fun leisurely activity on the lake during the warmer months. In the colder months the park is just as vibrant and crowded. The lake freezes over allowing people to ice-skate. (If that's not your thing) And there is always a popular sledding hill by the entrance off of 10th street. As the seasons change and the weather becomes pleasant again the Bombshell is a great place to go by yourself, with a date, a friend, or family to watch the bands perform outdoor concerts.

Prospect Park is a great place to attend in all seasons for the outdoors type or the one's just needing to be out in the fresh air. On a different note, (despite all the positive and fun activities the park has to offer) the park was a popular place in the 19th century for individuals to commit suicide.

Back in Manhatten there is Bryant Park with no major history in suicides is privately managed and opened to the public. The New York Public Library is located in Bryant Park. The park ranges in 9.603 acres. Although, this park is smaller than Prospect Park it still has a lot to offer. HBO sponsors a film festival on Monday evenings during the summer. Although, the website recommends you get there an hour before hand, I recommend getting there even sooner than that. The festival becomes crowded quickly which can effect your seating and experience.

For those of you who enjoy other free things and who doesn't? The park offers free Wi-Fi. In the warmer months there are free yoga classes where the instructor uses a mega-phone to shout out positions. Bryant Park is a popular location in films and television and can be seen in the following movies; Howard Stern's Private Parts, The Library in the opening to Ghostbusters, Sex and the City, andLaw and Order to name a few.

Washington Park is an historic landmark located in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village and is 9.95 acres. Surrounding this park is New York University. The most notable event to occur in this park is the "Beatnik Riot." For those of you who are unfamiliar with the historic riot, it's where police infamously beat folksingers and hippies with Billy Clubs in 1961. However, today the park is a hot spot for meeting new people and old friends. It's a great place to people watch. Moreover, this is one of the safest parks in New York City because of the installation of video surveillance and campus security from NYU.

Madison Square Park named after James Madison, our nations 4th president, is located at the intersection of 5th avenue and Broadway at 23rd street. The park itself is 6.2 acres if you're curious. This park is highly recommended for spending your lunch hour. Fair warning bench seating is hard to come by if you have an issue with sitting on the ground this wouldn't be the best place for you to dine. In the winter around the holidays; however, when the decorations are all hung and displayed it's a great place for a romantic strut.

The first community Christmas tree was illuminated in this park on Christmas Eve 1912. For those of you with children who desire a playground there is one located at the 25th street entrance. Another fun tidbit is in the beginning of 1876 the arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty were displayed for six years to raise funds for construction of the rest of the statue and its base.

The Hudson River Park is yet another of New York City's great parks located by the Hudson and extends from 59th street to Battery Park. The park is terrific for cyclists and joggers due to its wonderful paths. The park also contains tennis courts, soccer fields, batting cages, and children's playgrounds. For you animal lovers out there, there's a dog park located on the premises. Fun fact this park was named Best of New York in 2005. Beating out Central Park.

Union Square Park located in an important historical intersection in NYC where Broadway and 4th Avenue come together. The park is most notable for many political demonstrations. Furthermore, the park held the first Labor Day Parade in 1882 along with the first Earth Day event in 1970. Many people enjoy this park due to the many subway lines that stop here. The park is in the middle of everything! Such as shops, movie theaters, and restaurants. Unlike Madison Square Park there are many places to sit because of the accommodating benches.

I hope this article has been informative and to old and new New Yorkers who are looking for a new place to explore or hang. Enjoy the outdoors; one park at a time.
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Why? Explore and Discover the best New York parks
When: Check with Event Organisers for Event Dates
Where: In and around New York City
Cost: Free
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