McCarren Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Bedford Avenue and North Twelfth Street, Brooklyn, NY
Hours:6 A.M. to 1 A.M. daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Toward northwestern section of park
Water/Snacks: None

McCarren Park offers wonderful opportunities for walking in what is fast becoming one of New York City’s hippest neighborhoods.

McCarren Park
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

McCarren Park, a 38-acre green space in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, is rimmed by culturally diverse neighborhoods and is home to a gigantic pool that most recently was a wildly popular concert venue.

Enter the park at the corner of Twelfth Street and Bedford Avenue. Curve left (northeast) along the paved path circling the outer perimeter of the park. In the center of the park are numerous ball fields, with groups of picnickers and people-watchers of every demographic description.

As you reach the top of the park, you are closer to the traditionally Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint. These streets contain an abundance of Polish restaurants and specialty shops, which could provide excellent ingredients for a picnic. Circling back down toward where the park begins, walkers arrive at the part of Greenpoint populated by the new generation drawn by the neighborhood’s creative energy and comparatively low rents. You are apt to spot more bicyclists than in any other New York City neighborhood, thanks to recently installed bike lines—including on some routes in the park—and to local enthusiasm for not owning cars.

The landmark pool, a onetime gem of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration program, is located in the western section of McCarren Park. As of this writing, the pool is still being restored to its original purpose. The pool’s completion, scheduled for spring 2012, will represent the rebirth of an outdoor recreation space—a model of New Deal generosity—capable of accommodating 6,800 swimmers. Remember: Planned park renovations also include a skate park and an ice rink.

Plan B:

For cool river breezes, head five blocks east to East River State Park (Trip 36).


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