Gantry Plaza State Park
Space. We all want more of it. Our apartments are too small; the subway is too damn crowded; the office is a coffin. Even parks don't really solve the problem: the last time I tried to read a book in Central Park, a man sat next to me with a boombox. Gramercy Park is nice, if you're one of the few people who has the key to get in. Madison Square Park and Bryant Park have their perks--but much of their spaces, for one reason or another, are often fenced off. On the other hand, Gantry Plaza State Park is the only park that actually feels like a park. Never heard of it? Most people haven't, which is why it's one of the last, quiet, anxiety-reducing spaces in the city. A set of four docks reach into the East River, drawing people (and their dogs) toward the skyline of Manhattan. Out here, it's quiet. The water may be contaminated, but it looks nice in the setting sun. There's flocks of birds--not pigeons, but birds! Real birds! The air is cleaner, almost breathable. You may be reminded that, from a distance, New York City doesn't seem so bad. Also, the last scene of "Munich" was filmed here. It's true.