Spots for wind and shade

Let nature cool you down.

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  • Photograph: Luca Vignelli

    Hudson River Park's Pier 45

  • Photograph: Matty Baker

    West 79th Street Boat Basin Caf

  • Free ferry

  • Socrates Sculpture Park

  • Photograph: courtesy www.flickr.com/Marjorie Lipan

    Memorial Grove in Van Cortlandt Park

  • Photograph: courtesy of Central Park Conservancy

    Harlem Meer in Central Park

  • Astoria Park

Photograph: Luca Vignelli

Hudson River Park's Pier 45

Windy

Hudson River Park's Pier 45
A sleek metal-and-fabric tent creates a sweet spot at the tip of the wooden-planked pier, perfect for relaxing on the Hudson without actually dipping a toe in. A concession stand at the foot of the promenade provides cold drinks if you need something to toast the passing party boats. Pier 45, Christopher St at the Hudson River (212-627-2020, hudsonriverpark.org)
Wind-o-meter: 7/10

Carl Schurz Park
In addition to being puppy-friendly (thanks to two dog runs), Carl Schurz Park is especially peaceful. Its many nooks and gardens might remind you of a mini Central Park, but better than that shared backyard, this one has a promenade along the East River, with all the gentle breezes and views you'd imagine. E 86th St at East End Ave (nycgovparks.org)
Wind-o-meter:
5/10

West 79th Street Boat Basin Caf
Protection from the sun is pretty much a given at this partially roofed-in but open-air happy-hour destination. Protection from the potency of the Electric Lemonade ($8) or from some guy's bad pickup line is not so guaranteed. W 79th St at the Hudson River (212-496-5542, boatbasincafe.com)
Wind-o-meter:
6/10

Free ferry
Any fast-moving boat is going to give you that great wind-in-your-hair feeling. But it'll feel even better if the ride is free. Thank the New York Water Taxi for running a gratis trip to and from Ikea Red Hook on Saturday and Sunday (weekdays $5). In Manhattan, departs from Pier 11, Wall St at the East River * In Brooklyn, departs from behind Ikea, 1 Beard St at Otsego St, Red Hook, Brooklyn * 718-246-4532, info.ikea-usa.com
Wind-o-meter: 7/10

Rockaway Beach and boardwalk
Facing out to the Atlantic, this beach and boardwalk puts nothing between you and fresh ocean air. We recommend the area around Beach 96th Street, where you can take advantage of the good eats at Rockaway Taco (95--19 Rockway Beach Blvd at Beach 96th St, rockawaytaco.com). Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, between Beach 9th and Beach 149th Sts, the Rockaways, Queens (nycgovparks.org)
Wind-o-meter: 7/10

Shady

Socrates Sculpture Park
This riverside park has plenty of leafy trees to lean back against while taking in a variety of works of art. Grab a spot and contemplate the sun reflecting off of Jillian Conrad's aluminum Relative Distants sculptures—from behind your well-tinted sunglasses, of course. 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org)
Shade-o-meter: 5/10

Memorial Grove in Van Cortlandt Park
Wander among the 39 oaks and maples of this cool thicket, planted to honor Bronx soldiers who fought in World War II and the Korean War, and marked with memorial plaques. Van Cortlandt Park, near W 246th St between Broadway and the Van Cortlandt Mansion (718-430--1890, nycgovparks.org)
Shade-o-meter:
8/10

Harlem Meer in Central Park
Olmstead and Vaux's whimsical lake is overseen by a gingerbread-style house (the Dana Discovery Center) and surrounded by oak, bald cypress, beech and ginkgo trees—ideal for lazing under. Central Park, enter at W 110th St and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd (Seventh Ave) (212-310-6600, centralparknyc.org)
Shade-o-meter:
8/10

Astoria Park
Two picturesque bridges cast welcome shadows over this park: At the south end looms the Triborough and at the north end the Hell Gate. On either side of each one, you'll also find coverage on tree-lined paths and benches. But if you get too hot, take a plunge in the park's public pool. Astoria Park, enter at 19th St and Hoyt Ave, Astoria, Queens (nycgovparks.org)
Shade-o-meter:
10/10

The Ravine in Prospect Park
Escape that pesky sun inside the park's lush forest district. To up the refreshment factor, take the Waterfall Trail, where you'll pass by small cascades and woodland pools. Trails begin at the Audubon Center at the Boathouse, Prospect Park, enter at Lincoln Rd and Ocean Ave, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn (718-287-3400, prospectpark.org)
Shade-o-meter: 10/10

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