I am a North Carolina boy, born and bred. North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful marvels of nature that I personally have ever seen. I find that by being raised there, I was predisposed to loving and appreciating nature. And nature doesn’t have to necessarily be trees, plants, and all things dirt. Nature exists anywhere that allows you to really sit back, relax, and be one with yourself. But this is New York City! Where do you find a place like this amidst the everyday bustling of subway cars, the constant hum of construction and the blaring police/emergency sirens that seem to be on every single block of this city?
My answer? Parks. NYC is home to some of the most beautiful and historic parks in the country. And it may come as a surprise, but Central Park is not the only park in NYC! However, it is the busiest and most crowded. So I’m going to share a secret with you. I’m going to tell you about 2 of my favorite parks in Upper Manhattan!
First off, Riverbank State Park. Located at 679 Riverside Drive, or to make it simpler, 145th and Riverside, Riverbank State Park is truly the hidden gem of Upper Manhattan. The park includes an Olympic sized swimming pool (home to the Riverbank Redtails swim team), a covered skating rink for roller skating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter, an 800-seat cultural theater, a 2,500-seat athletic complex with fitness room, and a 150-seat restaurant. The park runs from 145th down to 137th so I like to take a jog down the complex in the morning to clear my head. However, my absolute favorite thing about this park is the absolutely breathtaking scenery there. There are amazing views of the George Washington Bridge and the Hudson river. Seriously, I go to the park to just to sit and think sometimes-ok- a lot of times. The park is also rarely overcrowded so that’s definitely an added plus!
My second favorite park in Upper Manhattan is St. Nicholas Park! St. Nicholas Park is home to basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds and so much more! It stretches between 128th and 141th along St. Nicholas Avenue. This park is the perfect place to have an impromptu midday picnic or start reading that novel that you’ve been waiting to crack open. And if you’re a dog lover then look no further! There is a dog park there so your furry companions will make lots of friends! Lastly, if you’re a history buff, this park is also home to the Hamilton Grange Memorial, which is the house of Alexander Hamilton. The memorial is a museum that is open to the public. At the visitor’s center you will learn some super interesting facts about Alexander Hamilton and you can even take a tour of the house!
So there you have it. 2 hidden gems that are waiting for you to go explore! Get out and enjoy Uptown!