When most people think of New York, they think of old buildings and modern skyscrapers, but the city is actually pretty green too. New York has loads of parks and in the summer, chilling in the park is a great way to spend some time. Allthough you do not need much (besides dry weather), there are some practical things that you might want or need while chilling in a park.
During both of my trips to New York (which were both in the summertime) I spend some time chilling at one of the parks. Not only is is a great way to get away from the busy streets, it is also a nice way to take some time for yourself.
In this article I talk about the five parks that I have spend some time in and tell you who goes there, can you buy food there and (not unimportant) …is there a bathroom?
1. Central Park
Central Park is the most famous park in the city and that is not without reason: not only is it huge, there are so many different areas that there is something to see or do for everyone.
Crowd: Central Park can be busy with people, both tourists and locals, it depends on where you are in the park.
Grass: There is a lot of grass in Central Park, so you will always find a spot to sit down. And around the ponds there are a lot of benches, where you can sit on.
Food: There are some foodvendors in Central Park and a few cafes. Personally I have not tried any of them. I just bought some food at a supermarket and took that to the park.
Free bathroom?: Yes, there are some bathrooms in the park which are “acceptable”.
2. Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is not a huge green park, but there are some green fields, there are benches, there is a fountain and of course there is the Washington Square arch.
Crowd: In Washington Square Park you will most likely run into tourists, NYU students and nanny’s with children.
Grass: There are both grass and benches in this park.
Food: In the park are some foodvendors, but in the surrounding area are a lot of cute places to grab a snack or lunch. Click here for an article about the food options in this area.
Free bathroom?: Yes, there is a bathroom in the park; it is not the cleanest, but there is toiletpaper.
3. Columbus Park
Columbus Park is smaller park with a playground in the Chinatown-area.
Crowd: In Columbus Park you find mostly locals (mostly Asians) who live in Chinatown.
Grass: There is not much grass, but there are benches around the playground and the sportsfields.
Food: I do not think there are food vendors, but in and around Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho are plenty of places to buy a snack of some food. Click here for more food info in this area.
Free bathroom?: Yes, there is a free bathroom in this park. However near the female-entrance are usually a lot of homeless men sitting and sleeping, so it probably is not the safest.
4. Tompkins Square Park
I did not know about Tompkins Square Park, until I heard a song from Mumford and Sons about it. So when I was in the city, I wanted to check it out.
Crowd: In Thompkins Square Park I saw mostly locals.
Grass: There is a grass field in the middle of the park with some trees.
Food: I do not think there was food being sold here, but in the streets around the park are plenty of good places to buy a snack or lunch. Like a bagel from Thompkins Square bagel. Click here for more food options in this area.
Free bathroom?: Yes, there is a free bathroom.
5. Brooklyn Bridge Park/ Empire Fulton Ferry Park/ Main Street Park
In my opinion, the best view of Manhattan, you get from one of the parks in Brooklyn.
Crowd: In these three parks (that are all next to the East River and close to the Brooklyn Bridge) you will spot mostly tourists.
Grass: Yes, there is plenty of grass in all three parks.
Food: There are a few food and drink vendors and in the surrounding area there are plenty of cafes and restaurants. For example, there is the Brooklyn Icecream Factory where you can get good icecream or Seamore’s for a delicious fish dish, click here for more about food in Brooklyn.
Free bathroom?: There is a toilet in Brooklyn Bridge Park. In the other parks there is none, but they are closeby a shoppingmall I believe is called Empire Stores and there are free toilets (but the waitingline can be long).
I did spend some time in Madison Square Park (pretty small and mostly benches), The High Line (pretty busy, so not really the place to sit down and read a book) and Bryant Park (very “open”), but I chose not to include them in this article.
-> What other parks in New York city are worth spending some time in and do they have facilities? Let me know in the comments.