RECOMMENDED: 50 best New York attractions
Some city parks—Central and Prospect, most obviously—were built to replicate rustic fields and preserve serene woodland. Brooklyn Bridge Park, however, was not—and that’s precisely why it has become so popular in the five years since it debuted. The project has transformed a chunk of the Brooklyn waterfront into an 85-acre expanse; several sections house unique attractions such as Jane’s Carousel, a restored 1920s merry-go-round, and riverside esplanades with gorgeous Manhattan views. Its latest addition, Pier 2, designed specifically for "active recreation"—sporting leagues, picnics and roller skating—further cements the space as the city’s premier urban playground.