Picnicking season is upon us, and although sometimes the best picnic is just on your stoop or a friend’s roof, there are scores of interesting places for an outdoor meal in our urban landscape. The excursion, the people-watching, and the views are all part of the fun.
So wrap up your bottle of wine in a paper bag and pack yesterday’s fried chicken, and come with us on a tour of the best picnicking spots in all five boroughs.
Winners 10 through six….
10. MacNeil Park at College Point (115th Street and Poppenhusen Avenue, Queens)
This waterfront park has expansive views of Long Island Sound, the Whitestone Bridge, and the Manhattan skyline.
9. Wave Hill (675 West 252nd Street, Bronx)
This 28-acre public garden on the Hudson has designated picnicking spots.
8. Staten Island Ferry (To/from Manhattan’s Whitehall Terminal and Staten Island’s George Ferry Terminal)
It’s a free boat trip! Take in awesome views of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Be sure to hide your booze well.
7. Brooklyn Bridge Park (Main and Plymouth Streets, Brooklyn)
In the picturesque shadows of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, find perhaps the best views of downtown Manhattan. Plus, there’s plenty of nice grass to lay a blanket on.
6. Cherry Hill in Central Park (West of Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, Manhattan)
Overlooking the lake and bow bridge, this picnic spot is centrally located but feels secluded. Cherry blossoms bloom here in the spring.
The top five coming right up…
5. Green-wood Cemetery (Main entrance: Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, Brooklyn)
Picnicking is verboten here, but if you’re discreet, and stay in the old part of the cemetery (the northern side), you should be fine. Green-wood contains the highest point in Brooklyn, gorgeous landscaping, and impressive antique monuments. Parrots nest in the cemetery’s neo-Gothic gates. Established in 1838, the cemetery was once one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting half a million people a year.
4. Inwood Hill Park (Dyckman Street and the Hudson, Manhattan)
On the rocky banks of the Hudson, this park encompasses hiking trails, glacial rock formations, and Manhattan’s last natural salt marsh.
3. Prospect Park by the lake (Enter at Prospect Park Southwest and Parkside Avenue or Prospect Park West and 15th Street, Brooklyn)
On a nice day this spot is idyllic in the extreme, with sun glinting off the calm water and plenty of grass to sit on. Plus, the people watching is often excellent, as folks from all over the borough come to enjoy the park.
2. The Rockaways’ Breezy Point Tip (Western end of Rockaway Point Boulevard, Queens)
At the far western tip of the Rockaway peninsula, Breezy Point juts into the Atlantic Ocean. It feels wild and remote, with 200 acres of beach, dunes, and marshes, plus the endless blue horizon of the sea. Watch flocks of migrating shorebirds and the the planes taking off from JFK while you eat.
1. Moses Mountain in the Greenbelt (Off the Greenbelt’s yellow trail, Staten Island)
In the 1960s, Robert Moses wanted to build a highway through Staten Island’s parkland, and he succeeded in starting excavation before conservationists managed to stop him. The dirt and rock that had already been dug up was turned into Moses Mountain in Staten Island’s Greenbelt, an enormous conservation area that’s three times the size of Central Park. Hike through the forest to the top of the “mountain” for a panoramic view of the harbor, and a peaceful spot to picnic.
Do you have a favorite picnic spot that we missed? Tell everyone about it in the comments.