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Best sledding hills in New York City for families

These sledding hills in the five boroughs range from gentle slopes to steep inclines that appeal to thrill seekers of all ages.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Best sledding hills in New York City for families

    Central Park

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Best sledding hills in New York City for families

    Central Park

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Best sledding hills in New York City for families

    Central Park

  • Prospect Park

  • Prospect Park

  • Sledding at Prospect Park

  • Crotona Park, Bronx

Photograph: Marielle Solan

Best sledding hills in New York City for families

Central Park


City life has its ups and downs, but when it comes to sledding, that's a good thing. Below, we present our favorite sledding hills for families in all five boroughs (who knew there were so many prime slopes in NYC?). On special snowy days, the Parks & Recreation Department provides sleds and hot chocolate at select sledding hills. Then, for some apres-sledding fun, head to Asphalt Green or the High Line, both of which host kid-friendly snow-sculpting competitions after huge snowfalls.

 

Manhattan

91st Street
For a quick fix, slip down 91st Street's pedestrian-only zone. This is urban sledding in its purest form; just watch out for unsuspecting pups! 91st St between Second and Third Aves. Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St.

Central Park: Cedar Hill
Thrill-seekers need not apply: A less-crowded alternative to Pilgrim Hill, Cedar makes a good starter slide for beginners. Fifth Ave between 76th and 79th Sts (centralparknyc.org). Subway: 6 to 77th St.

Central Park: Pilgrim Hill
The grande dame of NYC sledding institutions—and rightly so, with its perfect steepness and gentle denouement (that's sledspeak for a smooth finish). This spot gets crowded, so prepare to slalom around a few human obstacles. Enter at 72nd St and Fifth Ave (centralparknyc.org). Subway: 6 to 68th St.

East River Park
Though this long, narrow park isn't known for its steep tundra, it's a great option for downtown kiddos to get their sledding fix. Since it's located right on the river, parents can enjoy the scenic view while their tots play. Montgomery St to E 12th (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: F, J, M, Z to Essex St—Delancy St.

Inwood Hill Park
While this spot is great for hiking and biking in the summertime, the expansive space and sloping terrain offer some nice sledding opportunities when the snow hits. Dyckman St at the Hudson River (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: A to Dyckman St.

Morningside Park
This is where the Columbia crew hangs out, using dining hall trays, cardboard boxes and snowboards. Take a cue from the undergrads and tote along a household item to use as a makeshift (read: cheap) sled. Morningside Dr at 115th St (morningsidepark.org). Subway: B, C to 116th St.

Riverside Park
There are some gentler slopes between 92nd and 103rd Streets, but for some real excitement head to Hippo Playground (91st St at Riverside Dr), where you can catch a glimpse of the Hudson River as you dodge trees on your way down. Hay bales at the bottom prevent impalement on the fence beyond. You'll find another great slope up on 103rd Street, which is the Parks Department's designated Manhattan activity spot. On super-snowy days, Rangers supervise sledding, snowman contests and snowball fights, and hand out complimentary cocoa. Go to nyc.gov/parks for announcements. Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 96th St (for Hippo Playground); 1 to 103rd St (for activity spot).

Brooklyn

Fort Greene Park
Anything goes at this mellow Brooklyn spot. Grab a giant garbage bag and join the mix of families and hipsters on one of the park's four hills, which range from beginner to painful. DeKalb Ave at Washington Park (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: G to Fulton St; C to Lafayette Ave.

Owl's Head Park
This popular Bay Ridge spot should be on every little daredevil's sledding shortlist. Slopes are just steep enough to provide the thrill of reaching full throttle, but the trip back up the hill can really tucker tykes out. The stunning views may be mesmerizing, but watch out for trees at the bottom. Colonial Rd at 68th St (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: R to Bay Ridge Ave.

Prospect Park
For a little downhill action, hit the slopes situated in Long Meadow, the Parks Department's Brooklyn snow day site. On those days, kids can venture into the nearby Picnic House for free hot chocolate. Finish up by making snow angels on the Nethermead. Enter at 9th St and Prospect Park West (prospectpark.org). Subway: F to Seventh Ave.

Queens

Crocheron Park
Bayside natives swear by this open space, which offers both a moderate pitch and a steeper one for daredevils. If you're into solitary sledding, come here to avoid the masses that dominate larger parks. 35th Ave between Cross Island Pkwy and 215th St (nycgovparks.org). Travel: LIRR to Bayside.

Forest Park
Although thrill seekers have been known to tackle "Suicide Hill" (Forest Park Dr at 79th St, nyc.gov/parks), the Parks Department says it's a big no-no. Not only is it located on a golf course, it's considered quite dangerous. Instead, try the park's Mary Whalen Playground (Park Lane South at 79th St, nyc.gov/parks). Subway: E, F, M, R to 71st Ave—Forest Hills.

Juniper Valley Park
Though a bit less expansive than other parks (at 55 acres), the Queens locale has plenty of hills conducive to winding downhill in a snowstorm. 80 St at Juniper Blvd North (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: M to Metropolitan Ave—Middle Village Station.

Staten Island

Cloves Lake Park
The inclines at Clove Lakes Park are so formidable that park staff stack bales of hay at the bottom to prevent kids from gliding into traffic; this is where Rangers organize sledding races on the hill and oversee kids on school snow days. Doody Home Center (1677 Victory Blvd at Slosson Ave, 718-872-0099) is the sledding shop of choice, located just two blocks away. Martling Ave at Slosson Ave (nyc.gov/parks). Travel: From the Staten Island Ferry, take the S60 bus to Victory Blvd.

Silver Lake Park
While Clove Lakes Park may be the Parks Department's official Staten Island spot, Silver Lake is also a good bet for an afternoon of snowy mischief. Dead Man's Hill may sound ominous, but it's lots of fun for experienced sledders. Forest Ave at Victory Blvd (nyc.gov/parks). Travel: From the Staten Island Ferry, take the S92 bus to Forest Ave.

Bronx

Crotona Park
As the Bronx's most popular sledding destination (park staff have been known to show up bearing hot chocolate for sledders), the historic park's minipeaks fill up with everyone from babies to vagabonds—prepare to share. Fulton Ave between Crotona Park North and 172nd St (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: 2, 5 to E 180th St.

Ewen Park
Hey, lazybones, we all want to sail downward without having to hike back up a slippery slope. At this steep free fall, you're in luck: Extreme sledders just take the stairs alongside the snowy incline. Riverdale Ave at 231st St (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: 1 to 231st St.

Henry Hudson Memorial Park
When Riverdale schools let out, the cool kids head here to get their adrenaline rush on the snowy drops that overlook the Hudson. Kappock St near Palisade Ave (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: 1 to 225th St—Marble Hill.

Van Cortlandt Park
NYC's fourth largest park (over 1,000 acres!) gives kids plenty of space to set up their own little sledding spot, without running into other tots on the way down the hill. Van Cordtlandt Park South between Broadway and Jerome Ave (nyc.gov/parks). Subway: 1 to 242nd St—Van Cortlandt Park, 4 to Woodlawn.

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