Emerald City – Our favorite lesser-known NYC parks

It’s Climate Week in NYC starting today – an initiative that brings together global figures and new voices to lead the way in business, government and society for a greener future. While some might say it’s a bit ironic for a city like New York – often nicknamed the “concrete jungle” – to host a gathering about going carbon neutral, we know there’s a lot more to the city than meets the eye. In fact, 28,000 acres of NYC are parkland, and Central Park only ranks at #5 in terms of overall area (the biggest is Pelham Bay Park, at over three times the size).

So with all that green space, what’s the average Joe missing? We asked the team to share why we love our favorite lesser-known NYC parks.

Elizabeth Street Garden – Scott Klimcke (Art Director)

There’s this awesome little sculpture garden in Nolita. It’s a pretty small garden with so many little nooks and crannies to hide in. It’s only one building block in size but it’s like a tiny oasis from the city – even from the relatively quiet streets of Nolita! You can catch some sun on the grass, eat lunch on a stone bench, or just hide in the shade of one of the many amazing sculptures. Unfortunately, there’s a plan in motion right now to destroy the park and make room for a new housing development. But there’s a petition you can sign asking Mayor de Blasio to work with the Community board, who have already found a better affordable housing alternative. It’d be a real shame if they knocked it down.

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Fort Greene Park – Shveta Sarin (International Sales)

It’s close to my apartment, but that’s not why I picked it! It’s super historic, built on the grounds of the actual Fort Greene and right across from the Walt Whitman Houses. It was designed by the same people who did Central and Prospect Park, which is really cool. It also has a huge monument (also to do with the Revolutionary War), small concerts, a super cute Halloween Dog Costume contest every year, a tennis court, a basketball court and a water fountain – basically it has everything.

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McGolrick Park – Danny Weiss (Corporate Counsel)

I found it by surprise actually, it’s on the edge of Greenpoint and Long Island City, right at the border of Queens and Brooklyn. They’ve got a great farmer’s market, lots of places to sit, gardens, a limestone Pavilion, a sculpture for the WWI vets from Greenpoint, another sculpture commemorating a battle involving a Naval ship that was build at the nearby Continental Iron Works… it’s good stuff.

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Carl Schurz Park – Jackie Buda (PR)

It just feels like a magical little corner, further away from the city than it actually is, even though it’s still the Upper East Side. Of course, it helps that it has a statue of Peter Pan in the plaza. It’s got these winding, shady paths, green lawns, and a nice waterfront walkway – which, if you’ve seen Spike Lee’s 25th Hour, is where that intense fight scene near the end happens!

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Sakura Park – Steve Monks (North American Sales)

Located between 122nd St and the International House, it’s right across from Grant’s tomb, and you get a great view of Riverside Church. It’s a very small, pastoral park with cherry trees that blossom in the springtime and it’s decorated with old Japanese style lanterns. It attracts both families and students in the neighborhood, it’s super laidback – I love it! Like Jackie, I’ve got a pop culture tie in –it’s where they film parts of the FX Show The Americans, which I also love.