I spent much of my time in my early years in New York in Riverside Park (tel. 212/408-0264; www.nycgovparks.org) staring at the New Jersey skyline, jogging along the wind-swept Hudson river, playing hoops at the courts on 77th Street (when I still could jump), taking strolls along the promenade on hot summer nights, and watching the comings or goings of the unusual community that lives in the boats at the 79th Street Boat Basin. This underrated beauty, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same man who designed Central Park, stretches 4 miles from 72nd Street to 158th Street. The serpentine route along the Hudson River offers a variety of lovely river vistas, 14 playgrounds, two tennis courts, softball and soccer fields, a skate park, beach volleyball, the aforementioned Boat Basin, two cafes -- the Boat Basin Café, at 79th Street (tel. 212/496-5542; www.boatbasincafe.com), and Hurley's Hudson Beach Café, at 105th Street (tel. 917/370-3448), open April through September only -- and monuments such as the Eleanor Roosevelt statue at 72nd Street, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at 90th Street, and Grant's Tomb at 122nd Street (tel. 212/666-1640; www.grantstomb.org; daily 9am-5pm). But here's the best part: On a hot summer day, when Central Park is teeming with joggers, sunbathers, and in-line skaters, Riverside Park, just a few blocks from Central Park's western fringe, is comparatively serene. The Riverside Park Fund (tel. 212/870-3070; www.riversideparkfund.org) has an excellent website with a comprehensive list of events and gives history with illustrations of the parkland.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010