In New York City, the “outdoors” can consist solely of backyard bar happy hours and occasional picnics in Central or Prospect Park. But when the urban landscape starts to feel oppressive, your legs start itching to scale a mountain, and Brooklyn Boulders just isn’t going to do it for you this time, there are a number of quick escapes just outside the city that offer easy to difficult nature hikes and treks. Some of these are easily accessible by Metro-North; some might require a car or bus ticket, and some happen to be in the city itself, provided you consider Staten Island within its borders. All of them feature great views, exercise, fresh air, and the occasional tree, how novel! Ahead, discover our favorites.
All posts by Rebecca Fishbein
With Memorial Day just around the corner, most New Yorkers have two options–sit in endless hours of traffic trying to get to the beaches on the Hamptons or down the Jersey Shore, or have a staycation in the city. And while the latter may sound boring (and hot!) there are plenty of beaches to hit up within the boroughs. From the Rockaways to Fort Tilden, we’ve rounded up the seven best sandy spots in NYC.
At long last, it appears springtime’s on its way to New York, transforming streets of sad, wilted grey and brown into, er, slightly less sad-looking grey and brown. If the little buds starting to sprout on tree branches in the parks and on the streets aren’t enough green for you, there are plenty of plant shops in the city that’ll help introduce some oxygenating goodness into your own apartment, no matter how small, dark, or pet-filled it may be. Note that for the sake of this list, we’ve stuck with plant shops, not florists, though you’ll find arrangements at some of these shops—this one, though, is for home gardeners and lovers of succulents, which it turns out you do need to water from time to time, a lesson some of us first-time plant parents learned the hard way.
Photo via Richard BURGER/Flickr
One of the true marks of a New Yorker is an aversion to Times Square, where slow-walking out-of-towners clog sidewalks, costumed characters try to hug you for tips, and overpriced suburban chains like Olive Garden and Applebees abound. But a few bright spots exist amid the touristy madness and Broadway shows, and they’re worth a visit if you happen to be in the area, if not a specific trip (seriously, avoid Times Square at all costs if you can).
Albertine book store, via Wiki Commons
Independent bookstores are still going strong in NYC, with standouts like BookCulture, WORD Bookstore, McNally Jackson, and, of course, The Strand Bookstore, continuing to provide literary New Yorkers with the written word despite the specter of Amazon. But while the aforementioned shops are great places to find new and used literature, if you’re looking for a more curated collection, look no further than some of the city’s finest specialty bookstores, where mystery fiends, activists, artists, Francophiles, and others can find works tailored to their interests, as well as rub shoulders with like-minded readers. Here are some of our favorites.