Best Of

Best Place to Watch Wildlife


An hour-and-a-half-long nature walk that’s almost entirely in nature—and in city limits. Yes, it exists. On a crisp Sunday morning this fall, take the A train to Broad Channel (or rent a Zipcar—it’s much faster) to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Commissioned by highway-loving Robert Moses to be a sanctuary for displaced fauna and avian species, the refuge is actually the largest bird sanctuary in the Northeast. On a stroll through bayberry thickets and woods, you’ll pass brackish-water ponds and dreamy salt reed marshes that total 9,155 acres. The park is home to around 330 bird species—including Yellowthroat Warblers and Oystercatchers, as well as herons, egrets, sparrows, and owls. It’s lovely for a jog or for a date—and what’s nice for overbooked New Yorkers is that it’s a day trip that won’t take up the entire day. The only thing that’s not so idyllic is the part when you’re forced to interrupt your pleasant walk to cross the traffic-throttled Cross Bay Boulevard to get from one part of the trail to the other. (You can hear Robert Moses chuckling in his grave about that one.)