Vis­it­ing New York? Try a walk in a dif­fer­ent park

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Travel - By Jen Mur­phy

You’d be for­given for think­ing that New York’s Cen­tral Park isn’t ex­actly bu­colic. After all, the most vis­ited city park in Amer­ica wel­comed 42 mil­lion peo­ple in 2016.

The 840-acre refuge quickly loses its tran­quil­lity as the sun rises. Selfie stick­wield­ing tourists flock to the Imag­ine mo­saic in Straw­berry Fields, bridal par­ties clog the park’s in­tri­cate bridges and pic­nick­ers blan­ket ev­ery green blade of the 55-acre Great Lawn. Although the en­tire park is now car-free, pedes­tri­ans still must deal with speed­de­mon cy­clists and ma­nure-de­posit­ing horses and their car­riages.

An al­ter­na­tive awaits in Brook­lyn’s Prospect Park. The largest park in the bor­oughs, which you can get to in less than 30 min­utes by sub­way from Mid­town, ri­vals Cen­tral Park in terms of pas­toral beauty.

Cre­ated by the same ar­chi­tects — Fred­er­ick Law Olm­sted and Calvert Vaux — the 526-acre park has many of the same at­trac­tions as its Man­hat­tan coun­ter­part, in­clud­ing its own zoo, vin­tage carousel, run­ning loop and skat­ing rink. The Long Meadow, which stretches al­most a mile along the west side of the park, is one of the longest un­bro­ken green spa­ces in any city park in the coun­try.

Un­like on Cen­tral Park’s Great Lawn, there is room to spread a pic­nic blan­ket or toss a Fris­bee here, even on week­ends. Pub­lic events are more low-key but no less star-stud­ded.

The sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hood of Park Slope has the Up­per West and Up­per East sides beat when it comes to great food. After a day in the park, you’ll have count­less of-the-mo­ment restau­rants, such as Fausto and Olm­sted, to choose from for din­ner, and, at bars like craft beer shrine Dou­ble Wind­sor, you’ll be rub­bing shoul­ders with lo­cals rather than tourists. Prospect Park in the Brook­lyn bor­ough of New York of­fers a less-crowded al­ter­na­tive to Man­hat­tan's Cen­tral Park.

MARK KAUZLARICH/BLOOMBERG

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