6 Of Our Favorite Parks in Astoria and Long Island City
With summer fast approaching in New York City, it’s great be aware of local parks readily available for any social happening. In Queens, there are several lush, spacious parks spread across the East River that are worth visiting with ample space and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Here’s our list of riverside parks in Astoria and LIC:
1. Socrates Park
Rich history merged with present day art makes this first destination on our list of parks a site worth seeing. Once a dumping ground, the now sculpture-centered park was revived by a coalition of artists led by Mark di Suvero in 1985. As quoted from NYC parks, “Socrates Sculpture Park offers tours to school groups and tourists, internships and apprenticeships to high school and college students, and employment to a number of area residents.”
This park might not feature as many amenities as the other parks but hosts interesting exhibits of sculptures rotating throughout the year. Be sure to head over to the Socrates Sculpture Park website to see what is new and on display.
2. Rainey Park
A historic park located in Astoria, Queens; Rainey Park’s history features wealthy investors during the civil war and post-civil war era that lobbied for the need to connect Queens with the greater New York area. Falling apart during the financial Panic of 1892, the project was abandoned and later saw completion as the Queensboro bridge. The landing zone intended for the original bridge was then turned into a park in honor of Dr. Thomas Rainey.
Popular for picnics, this park’s amenities feature baseball fields and dog-friendly areas and a playground.
3. Astoria Park
The heartbeat of Astoria, this park sees the largest amount of visitors, hosts the most events, and contains more amenities than any other Queens park. With the largest public pool in New York City and host to a month-long fair, Astoria Park is the ideal summer destination. Beautiful city views line the East River walk. With plenty of grass and lawn, this park is a great place for a quiet afternoon.
Amenities accounted for are full track and soccer field, public pool, fitness equipment, skate park, tennis courts, playgrounds, volleyball courts, and playgrounds—just to name a few.
4. Athens Square
Representative of Astoria’s deep Greek ties, this small park features statues of Greek philosophers. As per nycgovparks.org, “From 594 to 404 BC, literature, science, philosophy, and the arts flourished in Athens. The birthplace of democracy had its golden age during the rule of statesman Pericles (c. 495-429 BC), who made sweeping political reforms and actively supported the arts. Pericles is credited with the Athenian oath of fealty, which has been invoked by New York City mayors Fiorello H. LaGuardia and Rudolph W. Giuliani (in 1934 and 1998 respectively). Oath-takers pledge to “transmit this city not only less, but far greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.” In this spirit, Astoria’s citizens transformed a playground into The Park at Athens Square.”
Amenities include bathrooms and a playground. During warmer months, yoga classes are held in its square.
5. Queensbridge Park
A popular park for spring and summer events, Queensbridge Park resides in the shade of the famous Queensboro Bridge connecting L.I.C. and midtown Manhattan. This park is easily accessible, situated just a short walking distance from several train stations and accessible street parking.
Amenities include barbecuing areas, baseball fields, dog-friendly spaces, riverside views, and a playground.
6. Gantry Plaza State Park
The only State Park under this list, Gantry Plaza features 12-acres along the southern tip of Queens against the East River. One of the largest parks you can visit in Queens, there are many scenic locations including the famous Pepsi-Cola sign, a neon billboard sign that has resided there since 1936. Surrounded by great bars and fine dining, you can spend an entire day in the neighborhood.
The park contains several amenities, including two dog parks, basketball courts, playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, and a fishing pier with its own cleaning table.
Leave a comment below on your favorite park in the NYC area and what makes it special to you!