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7 Ways to Catch Some Rays in NYC this Spring

April 7th, 2014 : Lydia Epp Schmidt

Ah, spring! This long winter has left us craving sun, and it’s finally here! But getting sun isn’t always easy in the city, where many of us live in spaces where we have to crane our necks just to see the sky.

Even if you can’t afford that Park Avenue co-op with its private garden and commodious hot tub, you can still find ways to relax, get some sun and enjoy the great outdoors this spring. Here are 7 great ways to do it.

1) Take a Hike. There are miles of hiking trails in the city’s parks, from the easy Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park, to the challenging Greenbelt Yellow Trail on Staten Island. There are also wheelchair-accessible trails, such as the Salt Marsh Nature Trail in Brooklyn’s Marine Park.

2) Hit the Water. The city has water trails too–160 square miles of them. Rent a kayak or bike and travel the Bronx Greenway, which stretches from Van Cortlandt Park to Pelham Bay and up to City Island, ending at Orchard Beach. Or take a shorter trip, for which you can access the water at over 20 places scattered around the city.

3) Work Out for Free. If you’d rather watch the water than be on it, check out the East River Outdoor Gym, located in Manhattan at 6th Street. This very cool park has been described as “a fitness playground for adults.”

4) Stroll Through a Garden. Two of America’s great public gardens are located in NYC: the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) and the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx. The weekend of April 26-27 2014 is BBG’s Sakura Matsuri, the annual cherry blossom festival. Now through April 26, 2014 the NYBG is hosting its Orchid Show in its Victorian-style, glass house conservatory.

5) Go Birdwatching. Join New York City Audubon for a bird watching excursion to Jamaica Bay in Queens or to The Ramble, 38 acres of very cool landscape within Central Park.

6) Plant Some Posies. Many New York neighborhoods have little oases of green called community gardens, maintained by area residents. Chances are you can join one of these groups if you’re inclined to pull weeds and feel your fingers in the soil. Or volunteer at a city park or one of the botanic gardens.

7) Go Local.  If you prefer to just hang out in your ‘hood, check out your local parks, such as the Rockaway Skate Park or Kissena Park, both in Queens. Or stop by Wave Hill, up in the Bronx, the new Brooklyn Bridge ParkRiverside Park in Manhattan, or one of the hundreds of other green spaces maintained by the New York City Parks Department.

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