Gantry Plaza State Park
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Center Boulevard at 49th Avenue, Queens, NY
Hours:8 A.M. to 10 P.M. daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: Bathrooms under construction west of Fishing Pier
Water/Snacks: Vendors throughout park

USGS Brooklyn

This park features abundant recreation opportunities, as well as gantries, a fascinating footnote in the history of technology.

Wave-style benches complement the sound of water below the pier at this fascinating East River park.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

Gantry Plaza State Park was created from the ruins of a Long Island Railroad facility, used to transfer cargo from ships onto railcars for transport. The two large metal structures hovering above the park are gantries. During the heyday of railway shipping, these giant cranes raised and lowered transfer bridges so cargo cars could be rolled on and off barges.

The journey is part of this destination. Exit the subway at the Vernon Boulevard– 49th Avenue exit. Walk west on 49th Avenue two blocks, passing the Andrews Grove Playground on your right. The playground is shady and has sprinklers, so it makes a good stopping point on your way to or from the park. When you arrive at Gantry (which also has a playground) walk or bike along the paved path, which quickly turns to gravel, south through a tiny forest of trees and benches until you reach the southernmost of four piers around which the park is designed. As you do so, you will observe railroad tracks that have been left behind, as well as the smaller of two gantries hovering above, evidence of the park’s former life.

The first pier, Fishing Pier, is, as the name suggests, designated for fishing (bring your own pole). When you return to shore, continue heading north and head out onto each of the next three piers: Sunning Pier, Café Pier, and Overlook Pier. All four offer great views of several landmark New York City buildings across the river in Manhattan, including the Chrysler, the Empire State, and the United Nations. Next is a large grassy area intercut with paved stone pathways—Piers Park—which includes a large destination playground. Remember: For a good view of the famous Pepsi sign—a landmark on the Queens waterfront—walk to the southern end of Peninsula State Park and face southeast.

Plan B:

Socrates Sculpture Park (Trip 42) is a 45-minute walk due north on Vernon Boulevard.


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