Top 5 Parks in New York City
New York is the most densely populated city in the United States. Any trip here, whether a long stay or a quick weekend away, can quickly become overwhelming. Setting foot in Times Square at peak hour (or trying to, at least) will instantly give you a sense of how close all 19 million residents of the city live to one another. It will also give you a real understanding of the phrase, “packed like sardines.”
Luckily enough, New York also provides a long list of public parks — 1,900 to be exact — each one a little green oasis away from the insanity of the city’s streets.
Central Park (of course)
Spanning 4 kilometres through the middle of Manhattan, Central Park is a lush, green space that is both spacious enough for some well-earned relaxation and packed with things to do. Sunbake in Sheep Meadow, listen to buskers (some good, others very bad) doing renditions of Beatles songs in Strawberry Fields, paddle out onto the Lake, visit the Central Park Zoo or stroll under the canopy of Literary Walk.
Washington Square Park
The highlight of this park is the Washington Square Arch, which straddles the southern end of Fifth Avenue at a height of 23 metres. The Arch was modelled after Paris’s Arc De Triomphe and built in 1892 to commemorate George Washington’s inauguration. 115 years later, this park was the site of one of the biggest rallies of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2007, which pulled a crowd of almost 20,000.
Madison Square Park
A straight shot down Fifth Avenue from the Washington Square Arch is Madison Square Park.
Nestled under the shadow of the iconic Flatiron building, this park was once home to the hand and torch of the Statue of Liberty. It’s now the home of another New York institution, the original Shake Shack, in case you're looking to try some of New York's best burgers.
The High Line
Less away from the bustle of New York’s streets than hanging directly above them, the High Line has converted 2 kilometres of elevated freight rail tracks into a lush green walkway. Winding its way through Chelsea from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, it features a passage to the nearby Chelsea Market, views of the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson and open spaces for performances, art installations and other public programs.
Smack bang in between Washington and Madison Square Parks is Union Square. Named for its position as the meeting point for Broadway and Fourth Avenue (rather than any workers’ organisations), this park is best known for its triumphant statue of George Washington on horseback, and for the incredibly competitive games of street chess played on crates and makeshift tables.