Brooklyn Bridge Park has gotten lots of attention for renewing the abandoned piers of Brooklyn and providing an amazing public space with awesome views of Lower Manhattan. But further up the East River in Queens, the same thing has been happening but with much less fanfare. A half mile of old waterfront has been redeveloped with high-rise condos and amazing waterfront park space. Hammocks, adirondack chairs, grassy lawns, and other relaxing spots are a great place to spend the afternoon. If you've got the gear, the pier features a cleaning station for avid fishermen.
The view is totally different than the Brooklyn waterfront. There's no views of the World Trade Center or Brooklyn Bridge, but instead perfect views of Midtown, with the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building poking above the line of buildings. And along the Manhattan shoreline lies the United Nations. But best of all is sunsets. Come for the evening and watch the sun dip behind the skyline, the sky light up purple and orange, and finally the lights come on and Manhattan's skyline twinkles in the night sky.
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Manhattan's best skyline view—from Queens
No one thinks of New York City as a place to dig your toes into the grass as you listen to the water lap against the shore and gaze at passing boats. But locals realize that a brush with nature and a moment to breathe is the yin to Midtown's yang; engaging in these moments of peace makes the city's excitement all the more special.
Gantry State Park is easily accessed via subway (Vernon-Jackson on the 7 line) and is perfect for long walks and contemplation under weeping willows. For the hungry, a cafe called Cofeed offers caffeine, food, Ana at last check, beer. LIC Flea & Food is also nearby.