Incredible Parks of New York

Friendly Local Guides is no stranger to the fact that it’s hard to run out of stuff to do and places to visit in the perennially gorgeous city of New York. While mostly known as a 24/7 commercial hub of big city hustle-and-bustle, NYC is also a model city for providing green spaces in urban landscapes – as evidenced by the many incredible parks you can find within the city.

incredible parks new york

New York parks. Image credit: By Beyond My Ken – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10811588

High Line

While High Line is certainly not New York’s most famous park, it’s easily New York’s most unique. This 1-mile public green space sits on an elevated section of the city, a former railway viaduct that ran through Manhattan’s Lower West Side – now an unusual public green space that sees its fair share of NYC visitors. Since the park’s inception in the early 2000s, High Line has actually spurred the development of real estate in adjacent neighborhoods, a testament to its value to the local community. For these reasons, the elevated park is seen by city planners and landscape architects as a great example of how obsolete infrastructure can be transformed into a beneficial public space. Prepare to see some of the most unique views in all of Manhattan.

Swale

While High Line is impressive, when it comes to parks with a view, not many can beat Swale. That’s because this 5,000-square-foot space is actually a floating barge that specializes in growing edible produce. Swale is an art project by Mary Mattingly whose vision is to bring foraging to the concrete NYC jungle – where despite the demand for local produce, a highly limited amount of fresh fruits and vegetables are produced locally. Given that Swale itself can only produce 400 pounds of food per season, Mattingly acknowledges that the fresh food barge is not the solution that NYC needs. Rather, it’s more of a way to show people and city institutions the need for new models and ideas of addressing New York’s dependence on imported produce. With its own water filtration system and completely solar-powered operations, Swale might just be the most futuristic park in all of NYC. Keep your eyes and ears out for where in New York it’s scheduled to dock next.

Central Park

This 840-acre public park is perhaps the most famous in the world, and for good reasons. There’s the beloved Central Park Zoo where you can find monkeys, snow leopards, polar bears, red pandas and more than 100 other species from the California Coast, polar regions, and the tropics – each situated in their respective natural habitats. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, there’s the Conservatory Garden, the only formal garden in Central Park. It’s divided into three parts: English, Italian, and French – the last of which features the bronze statue and fountain called Three Dancing Maidens. You can also opt to spend some time at Central Park’s famous lake by enjoying a meal, sipping a cup of coffee, or renting a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse.

These are just some of the reasons why properties around the gargantuan Central Park are some of the most sought after and expensive in the city. Yoreevo reports that the average NYC apartment sales price was $1,120,572 in 2017, yet for an apartment around Central Park the price is much higher. The current most expensive location is 15 Central Park West, a 5,417-square-foot apartment which Curbed notes is on the market for $56 million. That’s around $10,000 per square foot. And while that may seem extravagantly expensive, it’s a surprise to no one. Apartments with great Central Park views have commanded millions of dollars in real estate prices for decades.

The next time you’re in NYC, remember that this urban jungle is actually home to a couple tiny to fairly-sized natural areas where both locals and tourist can take a breather from the city that never sleeps.

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