Visiting New York? Try a walk in a different park
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.