East River State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Kent Avenue at North Eighth Street, Brooklyn, NY
Hours:9 A.M. to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: In trailer near North Tenth Street
Water/Snacks: None

USGS Brooklyn

This park offers plenty of green space where kids can fly kites, run around, watch a concert, or enjoy a picnic.

Visitors can enjoy concerts or even make their own music on a Pop-Up Piano, part of the city's largest public art project.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Located on the edge of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, East River State Park offers spacious views of the Williamsburg Bridge and Midtown Manhattan. The seven-acre park was opened in 2007 on the former site of the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, a railroad terminal that closed for good in 1983. New York State purchased the site in 2001.

The park is still a work in progress, though the results so far are promising. Enter the park at North Eighth Street and follow the gravel pathway down to the river. Walk north and south along the East River, then follow the pathway back to Kent Avenue. Picnic tables are available, as well as open areas where you can play catch or fly kites. In summer, East River State Park hosts open-air music concerts.

Keep an eye out for remnants of the park’s past as a shipping dock, including cobblestone streets and railroad tracks embedded in the concrete. Though biking is not allowed in the park, the surrounding neighborhood is paved with bike lanes that are popular with cyclists, as are those surrounding nearby Mc- Carren Park (Trip 37) in Greenpoint.

Near the Eighth Street entrance you will also spot the Chimney Swift tower. The tower is designed to help preserve chimney swifts, a migratory bird whose population is in decline due to the loss of their habitat. Chimney swifts originally built their nests in large, hollow trees, but they get their name from the fact that brick chimneys also served as favored nest-building sites. Unfortunately, new steel chimneys are not suitable for this purpose, but the wooden tower serves as an ideal alternative for the swifts to roost and build their nests. Remember: Dogs and bicycling are not allowed.

Plan B:

Head to McCarren Park (Trip 37), just a few blocks to the east, for excellent biking.


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