Bronx River Forest

1 hour from midtown

The Bronx River Forest used to be a hotbed for prostitutes, junkies and glory-hole seekers; nowadays you’re more likely to see a praying mantis than any illicit activities (at least in the daytime).

“People were afraid to go there,” says Anne-Marie Runfola, deputy director of the Bronx River Alliance. “When they hear Bronx River, they don’t associate it with an area that’s green and quiet. ”But thanks to a $3 million restoration project, completed in 2005, the park’s a whole new woman. An old cricket pitch was connected to the river, and visitors can navigate the floodplain via paths and boardwalks. The space is also home to more than 250 species of native flora and fauna, including the elusive red-tailed hawk.

Indiana Jones types can sign up for regular canoe trips (suggested donation $10–$25; bronxriver.org) or bike ride along the developing Bronx River Greenway. And if you forget to pack a picnic lunch, Runfola recommends Trinidad and Tobagonian takeout from nearby Feroza’s Restaurant Roti (716 Burke Ave between Cruger Ave and White Plains Rd, Bronx; 718-405-9081). So good is the grub, she stops there after every canoe trip.

Go there now! Take the D to Norwood–205th St; or the 2, 5 to Burke Ave. Call 718-430-4665 for more info.

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