Park-cation

Get a change of scenery at one of these fine green spaces.

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Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park Photograph: Philip Greenberg

The High Line
Spend some time on the recently extended railway, the site of nature walks, dance performances, art installations, Tuesday-night stargazing and more. This is one instance in which the sequel is just as good as the original. thehighline.org

RECOMMENDED: Our most recent Staycation Guide

Central Park
Stroll through the Conservatory Garden and experience the charms of a European landscape without having to fly to Europe. This six-acre spread offers three styles (French, Italian and English) and a plethora of flowers, fountains and walkways. Afterward, take a romantic paddle around the lake (hour $12, each additional 15mins $2.50, plus $20 deposit)—or let someone else do the work, with a Venetian gondola ride (half hour $30). While you're there, notice the peace in the air around you, the result of the park's new quiet zones. centralparknyc.org

Pelham Bay Park
At just over 2,700 acres, Pelham Bay Park is New York City's largest green space—and it's best seen on wheels. Pelham Bay offers bike fiends the most scenic cycling in the five boroughs: One minute you're coasting through a thick forest and spotting a graceful deer; the next minute you might be inhaling fumes from the Bruckner Expressway. More than five miles of quiet, woodsy trails take you past stables, through the marshland of Goose Creek and out to picturesque Orchard Beach, Robert Moses's "Riviera of New York," which faces Long Island Sound. From there you can jaunt across a bridge to City Island; it feels like you've somehow pedaled to Maine. nycgovparks.org/parks/pelhambaypark

Brooklyn Bridge Park
When Empire--Fulton Ferry Park (one of the green spaces within the massive Brooklyn Bridge Park) reopens later this summer, there will be a new attraction for the city's kids (and kids at heart): Jane's Carousel, a 1922 merry-go-round that was temporarily housed in a building on Water Street in Dumbo. By late June, you'll be able to sip beer at a new rooftop spot at Pier 6, but in the meantime, try boating, chess, Pilates workouts, the Syfy Movies with a View series and evening tours. brooklynbridgepark.org

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