Posts Tagged ‘Staten Island’

Where to See the Holiday Sparkle in New York City

Bundle up for a stroll along the streets, inside the malls or at the parks to see New York City’s acclaimed holiday lights.

Manhattan

Holiday Windows and Sidewalks

Saks Fifth Avenue © Meryl Pearlstein

Take a walk down Fifth Avenue where you’ll see some of the department stores’ most elaborate holiday windows. Plan to spend some time in front of Saks Fifth Avenue where this year’s windows were inspired by drawings from children. The windows in front of Bergdorf-Goodman, as always, are a stylefest of imagery with adventure, fashion and fantasy themes, strikingly arranged in tones of black and white, red and white, and rainbow montages.

Bergdorf-Goodman © Meryl Pearlstein

Individual stores like American Girl and the Lego Store have their own window displays decked out with all kinds of merriment. And the exteriors of stores like Cartier twinkle with fully lit décor all wrapped up in red ribbon.

American Girl © Meryl Pearlstein

Additionally, park yourself in front of the glorious Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and watch the music-and-light spectacular that happens every 15 minutes on the façade of Saks Fifth Avenue. For about 3 minutes, the entire façade changes with lights and decorations with music that will entice and have you humming “So Happy Together” or Beethoven’s Ode to Joy over and over again.

courtesy Rockefeller Center

And this year, there’s a special bonus. A variety of stores have created magic displays right on the sidewalk in front of their establishments. There’s a Microsoft cube in front of the Microsoft store, a giant teddy bear in front of FAO Schwarz, gift packages in front of Cartier, Christmas ornaments across from Tiffany’s and much more. You’ll need to walk up and down both sides of Fifth Avenue to see them all.

Microsoft © Meryl Pearlstein

Hudson Yards

Shine Bright at Hudson Yards © Meryl Pearlstein

If you can tear yourself away from outside plaza at Hudson Yards or down from The Edge (which is also decked out with holiday lights and a garland), you should venture inside the Hudson Yards mall where Shine Bright at Hudson Yards, a twinkling, floor-to-ceiling display of more than two million lights illuminates The Shops, Public Square and Gardens, The Edge and The Vessel. Floating hot air balloons and Christmas trees add to the twinkling magic.

Brookfield Place

Luminaries courtesy Brookfield Place

The mall’s annual Luminaries tradition invites participation with an interactive installation in the Winter Garden. Each hour, you’ll enjoy a special light show featuring music by groups like The Bird and the Bee and Pentatonix. A canopy of colorful lights is formed from hundreds of lanterns suspended among the palms. Below, contactless wishing stations let you send a motion-activated wish to the lanterns prompting a magical display of lights and colors. And you’ll be doing a good deed, too. For each wish that you make, Brookfield Place will donate $1to an organization that’s near and dear to me, ROAR (Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants), which supports New York City restaurant employees facing economic challenges as a result of the pandemic. This year, a new experience called Maestro! allows you to conduct the canopy with a gesture-controlled instrument.

The Lights of Manhattan

courtesy Empire State Building

And here’s a little bonus. You can watch the changing colors of the Empire State Building and the lights of downtown NYC at home on their ESB Live Cam. Two cameras give you two always-changing views. I could watch these for hours.

Brooklyn

When it comes to decorating houses, New York City is “top of the heap.”

The Lights of Dyker Heights

The Lights of Dyker Heights © Meryl Pearlstein

It’s hard to imagine a Christmas without the over-the-top lights displays of the houses in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn. Started in 1986 by Lucy Spata as a give-back to brighten up the neighborhood, the decorated homes and yards have attracted busloads of tourists to the streets each year. Due to COVID, you may have an easier time viewing the inflatable Santa’s, motorized displays and thousands of candy canes and elves, as walking tours are replacing buses.

The Lights of Dyker Heights © Meryl Pearlstein

It’s an immediate way to lift your spirits as you marvel at the passion and creativity here. The main area is 83rd through 86th streets between 11th and 13th avenues. Plan for crowds as this is one of the most popular highlights of the Christmas season in New York City.

New York City has two lantern festivals that you’ll want to put on your holiday lights calendar.

Staten Island

Staten Island’s Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens has an awesome display of more than 1000 winter lanterns, sculpted into figures of all sorts. It’s a party, too, with a live DJ, lots of food, interactive display amid the eight acres of luminaries. You’ll also come away with a holiday gift, your own personal wish lantern. Tickets are required.

Queens

courtesy Queens Country Farm Museum

For the first time, Queens Country Farm Museum is transformed into another lantern and figure wonderland with luminaries taking on shapes appropriate to the farm: flowers, farm animals and tractors. A festive atmosphere reigns throughout with music, food and lots of space to enjoy the lights. Tickets are required.

The Bronx

The Bronx outdoes itself each holiday season with lighting displays and characters that appeal to all ages.

NYBG Glow

NYBG Glow © Meryl Pearlstein

Each year the New York Botanical Garden schedules its beloved train show for the holidays with New York City vignettes and buildings created out of flora and fauna foraged from nature. Further brightening up the landscape, NYBG Glow shines bright into the night with its outdoor Glow color and light experience. The glowing world surrounds the Haupt Conservatory. As you explore, colors, dazzling lights and nighttime illuminations in the reflecting pool and area create a winter wonderland that might conjure up visions of Disney’s World of Color. Adding to the festivities are ice carving displays, roaming dancers and musicians. Expect a Hip Hop Nutcracker performance of the re-imagined Tchaikovsky classic as well. Timed-entry tickets are required for entry.

The Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

The Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights @ Julie Larsen Maher

Around the corner, the Bronx Zoo doesn’t disappoint with their seasonal celebration of lights. Through January 10, you’ll see illuminated animals and flowers, ice sculptures, a decked-out Christmas tree and light-strung buildings as you wander along “a safari” path through Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and the Ocean. Costumed characters, stilt walkers and projections onto buildings add to the sparkle. A returning favorite, the Luminous Garden is filled with larger-than-life plants and animals.

Enjoy the Halloween and Pumpkin Season at These Seven Fabulous Farms in New York and New Jersey

Leaf peepers may want to schedule road trips to look at the brilliant mosaic of colors adorning the maples and oaks, but for the family, October is the time for pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple picking and hayrides.

Courtesy Corwiths Farmstand

With trick or treating still limited in many places, especially in New York City apartment buildings, and Oktoberfest venues uncertain due to vaccination requirements and crowd limits, it’s a good idea to call before you go anywhere. This applies to the farms listed below, too.

NEW YORK CITY

You may not associate New York City with farms, but the city’s five boroughs have some intriguing experiences “on the land.”

Courtesy Queens Country Farm Museum

The historic Queens Country Farm Museum in Floral Park, Queens offers weekend activities throughout October. The farm, owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, dates back to 1697 and occupies New York City’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland. Plan a visit to go pumpkin picking or hop on a hayride. For something more challenging, you can try New York City’s only corn maze here. This year’s Amazing Maize Maze is designed in the shape of Andy Warhol’s famous cow. Being outdoors beats any escape room, any time! 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens; www.queensfarm.org

Courtesy Decker Farm

An officially designated historic landmark, Decker Farm in Springville, Staten Island is New York City’s oldest continuously working family-style farm. 220 years young, the farm is a joy to visit during October with a pumpkin patch and hayrides for the family that meander past costumed artisans performing 19th-century trades. For those willing to try some new-fangled activities, the farm lets you sign up for three tries of pumpkin chucking. 435 Richmond Hill Road, Staten Island; https://www.historicrichmondtown.org/deckerfarm

LONG ISLAND

Courtesy Harbes Family Farm

The North Fork of Long Island turns October into a trivia event as well at Harbes Family Farm. Just an hour and half from New York City, the Mattituck farm treats you to scenic hayrides complete with singing. Weekend activities add pig races, a touchless Robin Hood trivia game, and a family favorite, the Barnyard Adventure area with farm animals, sport zones and mazes. Be sure to pack your patience along with your masks and hand sanitizer. The traffic along Sound Avenue regularly bottlenecks in Jamesport and Mattituck on the weekends. The farm has several locations with the Mattituck one specializing in u-pick pumpkins or apple picking in Riverhead. 715 Sound Ave, Mattituck, NY; www.harbesfamilyfarm.com

You can skip the traffic snarls of the North Fork by heading south to the Hamptons on the South Fork of Long Island to two wonderful farm locales.

Courtesy Hank’s Pumpkin Town

Water Mill is where you’ll find expansive Hank’s Pumpkin Town. You’ll know it immediately by the cars parked on either side of the road. It’s open daily and is a magnet for locals as well as visitors. You’ll find the usual family-friendly activities here: pumpkin picking, corn mazes, tractor train rides and mega slides for the kids. After all that fun, your reward is Hank’s yummy Fall for Y’All hot apple cider, a fabulous concoction topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and an apple cider donut, served up in a take-home souvenir mug. 249 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY; www.hankspumpkintown.com

Courtesy Corwiths Farmstand

At Corwiths Farmstand, also in Water Mill, you can do the U-pick pumpkin thing and relax for a while the kids slide down wooden slides, play a game on the giant Connect 4 in the field or climb on the wooden castles and trains. There are also barrel train rides, hayrides, barnyard animal feeding and a racetrack for pedal carts. Still not enough to keep everyone busy? Try your hand at pumpkin bowling. If you’ve had your fill of everything pumpkin and gourd, this is also the place for goat yoga, now offered in a Mommy and Me format, even more beautiful against a backdrop of haystacks and pumpkins. Corwiths makes sure that you won’t go hungry either. Their food trailer is where you can get roasted local sweet corn, homemade potato chips from the farm’s own potatoes as well as a bit of the South with fried apples and fried Oreos. 851 Head of Pond Rd, Water Mill, NY www.corwithsfarmstand.com

NEW JERSEY

Two farms in Chester, New Jersey offer scenic farm experiences, a mere 80-minute drive from New York City.

Courtesy Alstede Farms

Alstede Farms goes maze crazy this fall with a sunflower maze, evergreen maze and a corn maze, all designed to drive you just a bit crazy while soaking up the crisp fall air. You can pick your own apples through Thanksgiving or opt for a tractor-drawn wagon ride. If you’re starved for something to do at night, they have “harvest moon” hayrides. Live music follows by the bonfire with hot apple cider, food, wine, and s’mores kits to refresh.  Check the event calendar for times and dates. You can book tickets in advance online. 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, NJ;  www.alstedefarms.com

Courtesy Riamede Farm

You can book a private wagon ride at Riamede Farm weekdays for a tour of the farm’s pumpkin patches and apple orchards. If you prefer to meander on your own, the farm is open to visitors on weekends as well for apple picking and you can also grab some pumpkins and gourds to decorate your home. A Farm Pass is required for entry and must be purchased in advance. 122 Oakdale Road, Chester, NJ;  www.riamede.com

TD Five Boro Bike Tour Returns to NYC on Sunday, August 22

It’s back! America’s “biggest bike ride” is being held in New York City on August 22. The annual charity cycling event was cancelled in 2020 to the dismay of thousands of riders who look forward to this event. Sponsored by Bike New York and its city government partners, the bike tour covers all of New York City in one glorious ride, through each of the city’s five boroughs.

;s

© Bike New York

The event, which typically draws up to 32,000 riders annually and opens 40 miles of NYC’s busiest roadways exclusively to cyclists for the day, returns during the city’s announced NYC Homecoming Week, (August 14-22) and the day after the We Love New York mega Homecoming Concert in Central Park. This year’s participant number has been scaled down to 20,000 to allow for greater safety and social distancing.

The tour is viewed as an exciting part of New York City’s economic revitalization. The landmark event typically attracts riders from all over the world. While this year is different from past rides with reduced numbers of riders, one can expect the same sense of excitement, or perhaps even more as part of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s I Love New York Homecoming effort.

© Bike New York

The 40-mile route. Begins in Manhattan in TriBeCa and culminates in Staten Island after a ride over the Verrazano Narrow Bridge. For a map of the entire route, click here. To pick up your rider packet, adults must show proof of vaccination.

The TD Five Boro Bike Tour is a fundraising event for Bike New York, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to provide free bike education opportunities to New Yorkers. Proceeds from the ride fund public classes that reach over 25,000 children and adults each year, with special focus given to improving cycling access and resources to residents of neighborhoods historically overlooked in infrastructure improvements. In addition to free classes held at Community Bike Education Centers located in all five boroughs, Bike New York has introduced bike safety education programs into area middle schools, co-developed a job training and placement program for bike mechanics with Brooklyn’s One Community, and helped pilot a free bike rental system in Shirley Chisholm State Park.

© Bike New York

The ride caps off a year of virtual programming brought to cyclists through Bike New York. The 2021 TD Five Boro Bike Tour will support the return of Bike New York’s in-person classes while sustaining their online offerings, which reached more than 30,000 viewers worldwide in 2020.

To register, visit https://www.bike.nyc/events/td-five-boro-bike-tour/registration-options/ and sign up by August 13.

Six Farms for October Fun within Driving Distance of NYC

Oh, wonderful October. It’s the time for pumpkin patches, Oktoberfest, the inevitable corn maze, and, for the family, apple picking and hayrides. With trick or treating still under discussion and venues opening and closing with changing rules and regulations, it’s a good idea to call before you go anywhere during this unusual year. If possible, try to book an event with your own pod so you can enjoy a masked experience without the worry of stranger social distancing.

Riamede Farm

NEW JERSEY

Two farms in Morris County, New Jersey invite you to their farms this month, a mere 80-minute drive from New York City.

You can book a private wagon ride at Riamede Farm in Chester, New Jersey weekdays in October for a tour of the farm’s pumpkin patches and apple orchards. If you prefer to meander on your own, the farm is open to visitors on weekends as well and you can grab some pumpkins and gourds to decorate your home. A Farm Pass is required for entry and must be purchased in advance.

Riamede Farm

122 Oakdale Road, Chester, NJ; 908-879-5353 www.riamede.com

Alstede Farms goes maze crazy this October with a sunflower maze, evergreen maze and a corn maze, all designed to drive you just a bit crazy while soaking up the crisp fall air. You can pick your own apples or opt for a tractor-drawn wagon ride, too. If you’re starved for something to do at night, they even have an evening hayride on weekends. Live music follows by the bonfire with hot apple cider, food, wine, and s’mores kits to refresh.  Book tickets in advance online.

Alstede Farms

1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, NJ; 908-879-7189 www.alstedefarms.com

LONG ISLAND

The North Fork of Long Island turns October into a musical event at Harbes Family Farm. Just an hour and half from New York City, the Mattituck farm treats you to scenic hayrides complete with singing. Weekend activities add pig races and a family favorite, the Barnyard Adventure area with farm animals, sport zones and mazes. Ticket information is available online.

Harbes Family Farm

715 Sound Ave, Mattituck, NY; 631-298-0800 www.harbesfamilyfarm.com

In the Hamptons (the South Fork of Long Island), Water Mill is where you’ll find expansive Hank’s Pumpkin Town. You’ll know it immediately by the cars parked on either side of the road. It’s open daily and no reservations are required so be prepared for crowds and waits. You’ll find the usual family-friendly activities here: pumpkin picking, corn mazes, tractor train rides, and mega slides for the kids. After all that fun, your reward is Hank’s yummy Fall for Y’All hot apple cider topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and an apple cider donut, served in a take-home souvenir mug.

Hank’s Pumpkin Town

Hank’s Pumpkin Town

249 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY; www.hankspumpkintown.com

NEW YORK CITY

Yes, there are farms in New York City.

The historic Queens Country Farm Museum in Floral Park, Queens offers weekend activities throughout October. The farm, owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, dates back to 1697 and occupies New York City’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland. Plan a visit to go pumpkin picking or navigate a maze, or hop on a hayride. The farm’s Amazing Maize Maze is designed in the shape of Van Gogh’s famous sunflower. Schedule the October 24 nighttime experience online  — the maze books out quickly.

Queens Country Farm Museum

73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Queens; 718-347-3276 www.queensfarm.org

An officially designated historic landmark, Decker Farm in Springville, Staten Island is New York City’s oldest continuously working family-style farm. 220 years young, the farm is a joy to visit during October with hayrides for the family that meander past costumed artisans performing 19th-century trades. For those willing to try some new-fangled activities, the farm lets you sign up for three tries of pumpkin chucking.  Purchase a timed-entry ticket for a weekend visit online.

Decker Farm

435 Richmond Hill Road, Staten Island, 917-887-0482 https://www.historicrichmondtown.org/deckerfarm

Fall Art Installations in New York City

After a long, hot summer, it’s refreshing to stroll around the city, particularly when the streets are dotted with exciting artwork, some permanent and some temporary. While museums are slowly opening, these exhibits will help you get your art fix.

Harlem presents a new monument celebrating multiple African kings. Titled The Boulevard of African Monarchs, the piece was designed by New York artist Kenseth Armstead and is located at 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. A three-dimensional piece standing 10’ x 10’ x 10’, it was unveiled in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Boulevard of African Monarchs

Celebrating women for the first time in Central Park, the new Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument honors three New York women: Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony on Literary Walk at the Southern end of the Mall. The monument was unveiled in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The three women are shown seated around a table with Susan B. Anthony holding a “Votes for Women” pamphlet, Stanton holding a pen and Truth in the midst of speaking.

Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument

Also honoring women, a preview of the IF/THEN She Can exhibit is located at the Central Park Zoo. Starting with six, the exhibit will ultimately have 122 3D printed statues of notable women scientists. The pop-up preview includes Kristine Inman (wildlife biologist), Rae Wynn-Grant (ecologist), Dorothy Tovar (microbiologist), Jess Champ (shark researcher), Earyn McGee (herpetologist), Kristen Lear (bat conservationist). The project is a collaboration between the Central Park Zoo and the IF/THEN organization.

IF/THEN She Can

In Between is a new concept of video art exhibition where continuous artwork is displayed for 15 seconds every two minutes on a large digital billboard in the heart of Times Square. Starting with artist Ben Hagari, the first video is part of his pandemic-inspired “About Face” video series. Filmed in his home in NYC, the image shows a character, constrained by limited expression and space, trying to navigate daily routines. As conceived by Hagari, the faceless protagonist reflects the concealed images of people today wearing masks as they go about their business.

Ben Hagari “About Face” video series

King Kong has met a worthy rival with the new reclining gorilla sculpture by Gillie and Marc Schattner. In partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the artists hope to bring awareness about the diminishing population of gorillas in the world with their sculpture in Hudson Yards. King Nyani is based on the head of a silverback gorilla family and is the largest bronze gorilla statue in the world. Visitors are invited to sit in his hand, socially distanced of course. The sculpture sits in Bella Abzug Park.

King Nyani Photograph: Courtesy Gillie and Marc Schattner

NYC’s community gardens are fast becoming locations for some of the city’s most innovative and colorful art. As part of GreenThumb’s Art in the Gardens – Shed Murals project offering artists a means to display their art, the Flora_Interpretations mural by Rose and Mike DeSiano reflects the beauty of Manhattan’s Clinton Community Garden by two native New Yorkers with input from local residents.

Flora_Interpretations mural by Rose and Mike DeSiano

Also part of the GreenThumb’s Art in the Gardens – Shed Murals project, The Bronx shows off Vincent Parisot’s red, green and yellow wall painting of an agave americana plant, known as Athanatos in Greece, the home of the artist.  The name means without end, an allusion to longevity and to the love shared by the couples whose names and hearts are often inscribed on the leaves of the plant. Together, Athanatos for ever is in Jardin De Las Rosas.

A second mural in the Bronx, at the Jackson Forests Community Garden, Lady K Fever, Celebrations shows a group of people rejoicing over the creation of the garden with other images indicating planned garden features such as a pumpkin patch, a flowerbed and foliage displays.

Brooklyn has its fair share of murals in community gardens as well. Open to the public, Eden’s Community Garden is designed to educate neighborhood children about the benefits of growing your own food through gardening. The ArtisticAfro imagery on the shed shows a person holding a potted plant with a seedling inside supporting the garden’s theme of “Together, we will grow.”

Along the waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Reverberation is a new large-scale installation by Davina Semo made up of interactive bells. Visitors are encouraged to ring the bells, calling up the city’s maritime history when bells were a key form of communication among ships and sailors.

Reverberation by Davina Semo

Queens has one of the city’s most intriguing art pieces, located at Beach 98 St. at Rockaway Boardwalk. A fascinating Corten steel sculpture standing 35 feet tall, Mother Earth by Kris Perry reflects architectural elements from temples, mosques, churches and Classical Greek buildings. Visitors can stand in the central space of the sculpture and look upward and outward in a moment of contemplation.

Mother Earth by Kris Perry Photo: Angus Mordant

Designed to reflect our changing times, the animated, augmented reality drawing Liberty Bell is being presented in six cities simultaneously, New York, Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, Selma and Washington DC.  New York’s setting is Beach 108 St. at Rockaway Boardwalk and the Rockaway Ferry Landing. “Liberty Bell” was inspired by Philadelphia’s actual, cracked Liberty Bell and is a soundscape in 360 degrees that sways to the sounds of bells tolling in changing tones and rhythms. The full experience uses Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app with the viewer’s smartphone or tablet.

Liberty Bell

Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City is a favorite for cutting-edge outdoor art. Another timely tribute to today’s world, the art park’s MONUMENTS NOW exhibition seeks to address the role of monuments in society and commemorates underrepresented populations, cultures and histories. The exhibit evolves in three phases. Opening with commissions for new monuments by Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, and Xaviera Simmons, the next two parts continue into the fall and winter with sculptures by additional artists as well as high school students.

MONUMENTS NOW

A timely visual nod to the country’s immigrant communities, The Immigrant Journey Past Meets Present in Staten Island also pays homage to New York Harbor. The mural and fence installation are located in Arrochar Playground. Artist Lina Montoya worked together with Sundog Theatre at the adjacent public school focusing on Ellis Island history and cultural immigration to create the yellow and blue design which features waves, mountains and stars.

Lina Montoya The Immigrant Journey Past Meets Present

Countdown to the End of Summer – New York City Beaches Are Still Open

With the 2020 beach season almost over, time is running out to show off your post-quarantine bathing suit and to come together (apart) for some beach social distancing. NYC beaches are still officially open with lifeguards on duty from 10am-6pm. Concessions stands may be closed so you might have to bring your own picnics this time around. Please click on the website for each beach to determine rules, openings and closings. Note, however, that beaches can be visited any time of the year but swimming is prohibited when lifeguards are not present due to the possibility of riptides and strong waves. Subway and bus transportation makes having a car unnecessary, although parking lots are provided. Check the relevant subway and bus lines listed beneath each beach to determine current schedules and any relevant changes.

Coney Island Beach

Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn

For a distinctive beach experience, Coney Island is still New York City’s beach of choice. The beach is three miles long with courts for basketball, handball and beach volleyball as well as multiple playgrounds. There’s also plenty of non-beach fun for those who get antsy sitting on the sand. You’ll likely have to wait until next year to get your thrills on the Cyclone rollercoaster and amusements at Luna Park or watch the quirky Mermaid Parade, but the fishing pier is open along with the Boardwalk. The Coney Island Boardwalk has a variety of food options for a perfect takeout picnic, but beach-goers swear by Nathan’s Famous hot dogs for a delicious, cheap lunch. Stay tuned for the beach’s acclaimed puppet shows coming up in September and October. Puppets Come Home! is a series designed to celebrate Coney Island’s 150-year legacy of puppetry and provide a platform for contemporary cutting-edge puppeteers.

You can keep current with the upcoming Coney Island events at http://www.coneyisland.com/. Free on-street parking is available.  For more beach info, and updates to bus and subway service, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/coneyisland.

BUS: B36, B64, B68, B74, B82, X28, X29, X38.

SUBWAY: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue; F, Q to West 8th Street-NY Aquarium; Q to Ocean Parkway.

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn

Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn

For a relaxing afternoon of sun, surf and beach volleyball, go to Manhattan Beach on the southern tip of Brooklyn. It’s a smaller version of Brighton Beach and less crowded than Coney Island with fewer visitors. Nearby Manhattan Beach Park also has two baseball diamonds as well as handball, basketball, tennis and volleyball areas. Concession stands offer reasonable meal choices, and parking is available at Exit 8 off of Belt Parkway. For more information, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/manhattanbeachpark.

BUS: B1 from Brighton Beach

SUBWAY: Take Q Train to Sheepshead Bay Road. B49 to Cheapside to Oriental and Hastings Street.

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach is an ideal outdoorsy retreat for both families and individuals. Its 10-mile long boardwalk is perfect for an afternoon stroll, and kids will enjoy the area’s seven playgrounds. Teens and adults can skate or play volleyball. The beach is the only one near NYC to allow surfing: go to the designated zones between 67-69 streets and between 87-92 Streets (visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/beaches for more information about surf beaches). Rockaway Beach has also become a testament to New York’s resilience and a model for sustainable rebuilding following the extreme damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. The beach offers free street parking, as well as free parking lots at B. 11th-B. 15th St. and B. 95th St. For further information, visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/rockawaybeach.

BUS: Q22 from bus terminal on Archer Avenue.

SUBWAY: A to Broad Channel then shuttle train.

Orchard Beach, the Bronx

Orchard Beach, the Bronx

Located at the end of a long, winding path in an area with lush vegetation, Orchard Beach is harder to get to, meaning that it tends to be less crowded than other New York choices although it is very popular among local residents. The Bronx’s sole public beach, Orchard Beach was proclaimed “The Riviera of New York” when it was created in the 1930s. The 115-acre, 1.1-mile-long beach has a hexagonal-block promenade, a central pavilion, snack bars, food and souvenir carts, two playgrounds, two picnic areas, a large parking lot, and 26 courts for basketball, volleyball, and handball. This summer’s Tribeca Drive-in Film Festival at Orchard Beach was a huge hit – we hope it will continue next year as well.

Parking is available. Visit http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/vt_pelham_bay_park/vt_pelham_08.html for more information.

BUS: Bx12, Bx29, Bx5, Bx52, and Westchester Line number 45 serve the park. During the summer, take Bx5 and Bx12 to Orchard Beach. During the winter, take the Bx29 to the City Island Circle and walk to the beach.

SUBWAY: Take the 6 to Pelham Bay Park. Connect to bus (see above).

Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island

Wolfe’s Pond Beach, Staten Island

Wolfe’s Pond Beach is an oasis far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city that the only trace of Manhattan is a distant view. Adjacent to Wolfe’s Pond Park, the manicured beach offers several fun attractions for the whole family. Two tennis courts, a roller hockey rink, basketball courts and a playground will keep the kids busy all day long. Wolfe’s Pond Beach also has dog-friendly amenities, including an enclosed dog-only area. If you’ve had enough beach time, Wolfe’s Pond Park is also a plant and wildlife preserve with several trails running through the beach and park. There are BBQ areas as well as a free parking lot on-site. Visit https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/wolfes-pond-park for additional information.

BUS: #78 to Tottenville. Get off at Cornelia and Highland Blvd, walk up Cornelia. SUBWAY: Take Staten Island Transit to Huguenot Avenue, then walk toward Highland Boulevard.

Planning a trip to NYC?