Outdoors With Kids and Kids Outdoors Featured in the New York Times
October 10, 2012

Outdoors with Kids New York City in the New York Times

“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” Does anyone still say that? If so then Friday, September 27, 2012 was when we would have because our book, Outdoors With Kids New York City, was the subject of an article in the New York Times. We were very happy to see the article, and were pleased to learn about Feelday—another great resource to discover more more about where to get your kids outdoors.   

The article covered a number of our favorite spots that are in our book—Floyd Bennett Field, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve, Inwood Hill Park, Queens County Farm Museum, and Pelham Bay Park. We thought it would be a good idea to talk about five more—one from each borough, in alphabetical order by borough—that we also consider undiscovered gems in the city.

Brooklyn: Marine Park and the Salt Marsh Nature Center

Marine Park is not only the largest park in Brooklyn, it is also a shining example of New York’s successful efforts to restore the city’s ecosystem and reclaim neglected space. Originally marsh that served as fishing grounds for the Lenape Indians, it was later the site of a mill that supplied flour to George Washington’s troops during the American Revolution. Thanks to extensive—and ongoing—restoration efforts, Marine Park is now home to 350 species as birds, as well as a nature center. Stroller-friendly hiking paths—also easily navigable for toddlers—allow for a close-up view of the marsh’s flora and fauna.

Manhattan: Swindler Cove Park

Swindler Cove Park is dubbed the “crown jewel” of the New York Restoration Project. It is one of only two saltwater marshes in Manhattan (the other is in Inwood Hill Park). The park—a tiny oasis in northern Manhattan on the Harlem River—features gravel paths, a dock from which one might spot a sunbathing seal on the dock of the adjacent Peter Sharp Jay Boathouse, and planting beds maintained by local school groups. It is an ideal outdoor destination for toddlers. Bring a picnic and spend the afternoon.

Queens: Gantry Plaza State Park

There are a number of reasons to appreciate this park. One, it is—like Marine and Swindler Cove—a park that was created from what was once an example of urban blight. Another is that it has a series of docks that offer opportunities for fishing, not to mention fantastic views of the east side of Lower Manhattan. Our favorite reason, however, is that it finally answered a nagging question we have every time we take the New Jersey Turnpike south to the Jersey Shore: “What are those huge metal things that look like creatures from a science fiction film dotting the shoreline of the Hudson?” The answer is: “gantries.” A gantry crane lifts cargo off of ships to put it on whatever vehicle will take it where it needs to go next. Gantry State Park was beautifully designed, incorporating the remains of the gantries (which were much smaller in the 19th century) into a landscape that encourages exploration and curiosity. Another great thing about his park is that—if you use the subway to get there—the walk from the 7 train stop at Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Avenue takes you past Andrews Grove playground, which is a nice destination in its own right. 

State Island: Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden

Snug Harbor is a delightfully eclectic and eccentric collection of gardens, mazes, and Beaux Arts buildings that once served as a home for aging sailors. Our highpoint when we visited was the Secret Garden maze, a series of hedges about 4 feet high that will give your kids a chance to wander as you monitor them from above. Snug Harbor is also the site of the Staten Island Children’s Museum, which will host a Halloween event on Saturday, October 27.

Bronx: Van Cortland Park

Van Cortland Park is so large we divided it into three entries in Outdoors with Kids New York City. The park is the launching point for the North Bronx Greenway, and also features playing fields and several hiking trails. The park was created from land that once housed the farm of Jacobus Van Cortland, a wealthy merchant who served two terms as mayor of New York City between 1710 and 1720. Highlights include the John Kiernan Nature Trail, which can be accessed off a path from the Van Cortland Golf House.

What are destinations you’d recommend in any, or all, of the five boroughs?




October 6, 2015 (6)
We all know that many kids spend more time with their smartphones and tablets than they do outside.
April 20, 2015 (9)
America’s National Parks are getting a lot of welcome attention right now, due to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.
Get outdoor tips & trips
Yes, I want to receive expert advice on getting my family outside!


Tip of the Day

Climb a hill or small mountain to look at the foliage. The view—and the special snack—will make for a great adventure.

© 2023 Appalachian Mountain Club | 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129
About | Privacy Policy | Contact Us