Those looking to bask in the sunshine and beautiful weather, this summer, might find what they are looking for just a short distance from home, at one of the many picturesque parks in Queens. Featuring more than 18 different New York City Parks, spread out across the Borough, there is sure to be plenty of outdoor fun close to home.
Alley Pond Park
Nestled along the Little Neck waterfront, Alley Pond Park provides patrons with a glimpse into New York’s geologic past and current efforts to conserve the natural beauty of the area, from its freshwater and saltwater wetlands to its meadows and forests, which provide a diverse ecosystem and abundant bird life.
It is also home to the Alley Pond Park Adventure program, a low-cost outdoor education and adventure program, which includes the City’s first public high-rope adventure course and teaches participants how to canoe, fish and use a compass.
Alley Pond Park Adventure Course
Every Sunday, from May to November, kids ages 8 and up can participate in a free two-hour outdoor adventure, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The course, which includes both low and high elements, is designed to foster trust, communication and team building through a series of activities. Space is limited, so make sure to sign up at nycgovparks.org/programs/rangers/registration to participate.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
As the largest park in the Borough – and fourth largest in New York City – Flushing Meadows Corona Park offers much more than a day-trip to the New York Hall of Science or a night of Major League Baseball at Citi Field.
Once home to the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs, the park features several storied landmarks including the New York State Pavilion, Tent of Tomorrow and the Unisphere, which still stand as remnants of the park’s past.
The park is also home to the Queens Museum, the Queens Zoo and the Queens Botanical Garden, and features a recreation complex and six playgrounds for all active pursuits.
Shoot some hoops with the Brooklyn Nets, on June 2, when they hold an open gym for physically disabled basketball players at the Al Oerter Recreation Center at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, from 7:45 to 9:30 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park
Situated on the coast of Long Island City, where the Harlem and East Rivers intertwine, Socrates Sculpture Park was founded in 1986 and is the only location in the five boroughs specifically dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to create and exhibit large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations in a unique outdoor environment.
Featuring a wide variety of art exhibitions, workshops and educational programs, Socrates Sculpture Park offers tons of summertime fun for all.
Kayaking & Canoeing
Join Astoria Boaters and the LIC Community Boathouse along the beach at Hallets Cove, from 1 to 4 p.m., for an afternoon of kayaking and canoeing for all ages (tide and weather permitting). No prior boating experience is required and participation is on a first come, first serve basis.
Named after W. Arthur Cunningham, a World War I veteran and former City Comptroller, Cunningham Park in Hollis Hills has developed into a bustling spot for both active and passive recreational uses. It is also home to countless athletic leagues, diverse flora and fauna, and local barbecue enthusiasts.
Philharmonic Concert & Fireworks in the Park
To celebrate 50 years of the Concerts in the Parks, the iconic series of free outdoor performances across New York City, the New York Philharmonic returns with an all-American program featuring a performance of Bernstein’s “West Side Story Concert Suite No. 1”, from 8 to 9 p.m. For more information visit nyphil.org.
Named after former New York City Mayor Walter Bowne – whose summer residence once stood on the park property until a fire destroyed it in 1925 – Bowne Park in Flushing is now home to playgrounds, bocce and basketball courts, a recreation center and a sparkling fresh-water pond.
It’s My Park at Bowne Playground
Volunteer to help the Asian Americans for Equality’s Immigrant Youth Leadership program, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., as they clean and paint Bowne Playground. For more information call (504) 289-0586.
Gantry Plaza State Park
This 12-acre riverside oasis, complete with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, is the only State-owned park in the Borough. Once used to load and unload rail car floats and barges, the restored Gantrys are a symbolic reminder of the waterfront’s past.
Ideal for a long relaxing stroll along the waterfront, the park’s four piers and manicured gardens provide an escape from the normal hustle and bustle of City-life. It is the perfect place to enjoy a summer concert, play some handball or go fishing.
YMCA Summer Fitness Series
Join the Long Island City YMCA on Wednesdays, from 7 to 8 p.m., as they host a variety of free fitness classes here at Gantry State Plaza Park. Enjoy the great outdoors while getting a great workout to high energy music with their best instructors. For more information call (718) 786-6385.