30 mins from midtown
Tue Oct 21 2008
Given the location of Crotona Park—in the South Bronx, and bordered on one end by the Cross Bronx Expressway—it’s no surprise that it was regarded as a total cesspool in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Druggies and their dealers ruled the 127.5-acre roost, while the park’s crown jewels—including an Olympic-size swimming pool and the 3.3-acre Indian Lake—fell into disrepair. But thanks to a series of community endeavors, including the 1996 founding of the Friends of Crotona Park and the establishment of the Crotona Park Nature Center in 2001, the space has become a haven for sober SoBro residents. Kids can play on one of 11 playgrounds; athletic types get physical at the restored pool, five baseball diamonds and 20 tennis courts; and naturalists are drawn to the park for its variety of flora and fauna, including 28 different species of trees (sweet gum, sassafras, hickory, etc.) and its “butterfly bushes.” (Look for monarchs nesting in the milkweeds later this month.) It’s also a first-rate spot for concerts and festivals: Just in the past year, the park has hosted the Honduran Independence Festival and the 2008 Crotona Park Jams, and was featured as a stop on the Tour de Bronx. On Saturday Jun 6, families should pop by Family Day between 9am and 5pm where they can enjoy food, music and arts and crafts activities. The Metropolitan Opera will host a recital at the park Sunday Jun 17. —Amy Plitt
GO THERE NOW! Take the 2 or 5 to 174th St. Call 718-378-2061 or visit nycparks.gov for more info.