Bixby Favorites: Iconic Parks in NYC

Springtime in New York: Netflix accounts freeze and complaints about the weather end; overwhelming love and appreciation for flowers and exercise commence!

Summertime in New York: Clothes come off, hair gets lighter, skin gets darker and bottles of rosé pop off atop rooftops across all five boroughs. In honor of the temperature rising and #LoveATreeDay, we’re ready to talk about the most Iconic Parks in Manhattan to eat, relax, exercise, picnic & party this Spring & Summer!

In no particular order...

When you see a crowd bigger than a Beyoncé concert under a sign that says “Shake Shack” you know that you you’ve arrived at Madison Square Park. A true urban park nestled in the heart of Flatiron and Nomad, gated by a plethora of exotic flowers, MSP is always bustling with excitement! During the day, it’s where young professionals and art lovers alike choose to work outside their offices, meet friends for lunch, lay in the sun, go for a run and walk their dogs. At night, it’s where anyone who knows anything about good food & ambiance is going on a casual first, second or third date; or, if sexy and single, to meet friends for the best burgers, fries and cold milkshakes around. MSP’s gorgeous gardens, bubbling fountains, art installations and overhead twinkling lights are what make this park magical.

On June 9th, 2017 Madison Square Park’s Full Moon Hort Tour will take you on a lantern illuminated stroll around the park’s gardens to discover new perspectives on evening animal and plant life. Sounds like a super trippy way to see the full moon and work off those fries & deserve it.

Talk about a beautiful disaster! Stumble by the iconic steps, try your hand at chess, partake in a dance competition, meander through the farmers' market, play with the pups, and sometimes find a community of nudists laying on the public lawn; welcome to Union Square.

This park is one of New York City’s great public spaces and home to the city’s oldest and largest farmer's markets. The gathering place for countless community events and festivals, USP is everything NYC ought to be and is: a hogde-podge of genders, races, and cultures all mixed up into one hectic movie scene. Head here to picnic, people watch, practice Acro-Yoga, find your dog (or yourself) a friend, eat cookies from the best bakeries, buy plants, and surround yourself with people who will always alleviate your concerns that you may be the weirdest person in New York.

In 2008, Union Square graced us with The Pavilion, a happening indoor / outdoor restaurant for happy hour & dining during the Spring and Summer months. Do yourself a favor…head to Union Square to talk to someone outlandish, witness something strange, grab a fresh bite, take your top off and most importantly, watch out for the frisbees!

The gardens are lush, the flowers are seasonal and any common tourist would think they’ve stumbled upon an oasis in the middle of a midtown frenzy. True, but we all know that Bryant Park is so much more than that! During the grinding work week, BP is where thousands of hungry workers in Manhattan flock to eat their Pret-A-Manger lunches and dine at Bryant Park Grill & Cafe. They clock out to chat with other like-minded individuals, ignore work calls from their bosses, and decompress during their one hour break of glory.

Best of all, Bryant Park brings us an exceptionally early Spring. The shelter of the surrounding buildings and the vault containing the Public Library’s stacks of books (found underneath the park), create a warm zone. During the Great Depression, the famed “Reading Room” gave out-of-work businessmen and intellectuals a place to go when they had no money, valid addresses, library cards, or identification so that they could enjoy reading. To this day, that sophisticated, classy tone has continued to uphold itself, creating the loving “Bryant Park” vibe. From the iconic Le Carousel, to the Putting & Knubb golf tournaments, French Market, daily meditation, yoga & bootcamp classes, live piano concerts, Tai Chi classes, poetry readings, outdoor summer film festival & movie nights on the great lawn, Bryant Park will always be there for anyone who is over-worked, under-paid, and thinking about a one way ticket to Paris.

Until then, an old school movie on the grass it is!

Where the young and beautiful students of NYU go to play! See those big arches? This is where the future of New York spends their down-time. Watch them read, write, laugh and get ready to take all of our jobs! Many will argue that Washington Square Park is by far the coolest and best park in Manhattan. The tree-lined, brownstone-filled neighborhood that we know to be Greenwich Village is the neighborhood that Louis C.K. grabs a slice of pizza and heads to a gig during the opening credits of “Louie.” It’s also the home of the Village Halloween Parade. It’s where the Beat generation and hippie counterculture found their voice and is the only the only "village" that could’ve spawned The Village Voice.

Despite the many attractions in Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is it’s heart and soul. Upholding its tradition of celebrating nonconformity under it’s legendary arches, old meets new and nothing is more beautiful than that. Most of the buildings surrounding the park now belong to New York University, but many have at one time served as homes and studios for artists. The attraction to Washington Square Park begins and ends with it’s heir of artistic flare and young sophistication. It’s the place you’re going to go to make something magical in your life happen because you’re more than just a student or’re a visionary. Journal your thoughts, write that award winning novel, watch some circus acts, drink your coconut water, meet up with your friends and bask in the glory of knowing that you’re exactly where you want to be.

Last but not lease, we have the Meryl Streep of Parks. Perfection in every way, nominated and awarded for...everything.

Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with roughly 40 million visitors on any given year and one of the most filmed locations in the world. The park was established in 1857 on 778 acres of city-owned land. Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, a famed landscape architect, won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they titled the “Greensward Plan”. Designated as a Historic landmark in 1962, Central Park contains several lakes, extensive walking trails, bridle paths, two ice skating rinks (one of which becomes a swimming pool in July & August), the Central Park Zoo, The Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, the Delacorte Theater (which hosts the “Shakespeare in the Park” summer festivals) and seven major lawns (aka the “meadows”), some of which are used for informal or team sports and some set aside as quiet areas. The 6 miles of roadway within the park are used by joggers, cyclists, skateboarders and inline skaters when traffic is prohibited on weekends and in the evenings after 7pm. What we love most about Central Park is the serenity and freedom it gives you and the comfort that anything is possible. By far the best park in Manhattan to open up a bottle of wine, have a gourmet picnic with your friends, get a serious tan and recall the reasons you moved to New York in the first place... because where else would you be.