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The best parks and green spaces in New York City

WordsRachel Rowney

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There are over 1,700 green spaces and parks to choose from in New York. We select our five favourite spots to visit…

In the city that never sleeps, finding a peaceful moment to connect with nature is more important than ever. New York is the USA’s greenest metropolis and offers its visitors and residents a plethora of parks and gardens to choose from, from the expansive Central Park to the recently refurbished High Line.

A distinctive feature of many of New York’s green spaces is how they have been transformed from industrial, gritty urban areas into lush, natural landscapes. These parks not only provide a much-needed respite from the hectic nature of the Big Apple but also inspire creativity and add personality to the city.

The High Line

One of the newest (and most popular) green areas of New York, The High Line is a superb example of how to repurpose and improve an existing space. An abandoned freight rail in Manhattan's West End was completely renovated into an elevated, mixed-use public park that pays homage to the industrial history of the city while offering a landscaped sanctuary from the busy streets below. As well as incorporating plants and greenery into The High Line, there is a huge array of contemporary artwork curated by a nonprofit group dedicated to maintaining the space.

Image credit: Elizabeth-villalta

Central Park

A list of green spaces in New York City cannot be complete without Central Park. One of the most iconic locations in the world, over 40 million visitors head to this sprawling park in the heart of the city each year. There are several must-see areas of Central Park including the Ramble and the Lake, the Conservatory Garden, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Visitors can enjoy pop-up events, shows, and concerts here throughout the year, with some of the most popular being Shakespeare in the Park during the summer and the iconic Wollman Skating Rink ice skating in the winter.

Image credit: Unsplash

Washington Square Park 

Found in the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park has a rich history. From hosting protests and parades to being immortalized in iconic 19th-century literature, this park has been constantly evolving since New York’s early years. Visually distinctive, with its central fountain, black brick paths, and vintage-style streetlights, visitors can find respite from the busy city streets here and enjoy a game of chess.

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