Parks and recreation in New York City

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Central Park is one of the most visited urban parks in the United States.

Major municipal parks in New York City include Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Forest Park, and Washington Square Park. The largest is Pelham Bay Park, followed by the Staten Island Greenbelt. City Parks Foundation offers more than 1200 free performing arts events in parks across the city each year, including Central Park Summerstage, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and dance, theater, and children's arts festivals.

The city has 28,000 acres (113 km²) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (22 km) of public municipal beaches. Prospect Park in Brooklyn, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, has a 90 acre (360,000 m²) meadow thought to be the largest meadow in any U.S. park. Flushing Meadows Park in Queens is the city's third largest park and hosted the World's Fair in 1939 and 1964. Manhattan's Central Park, also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, is the most visited city park in the United States.[1] The park offers hundreds of spaces and places for relaxation and cultural experience, including free concerts, dance, spoken word, and film events at Summerstage, and performances for children at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.

In the summer of 1936 Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses opened eleven monumental pools across the five boroughs: four in Manhattan, one each in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, and four in Brooklyn. With each ribbon cutting, La Guardia famously switched on the underwater lights and boomed, "Okay kids, it’s all yours!"

Built with money from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the pools were a great feat of engineering, architectural design, and urban planning and over the years have been the setting for everything from amateur wading to Olympic competition. But the city has been true to La Guardia’s words and to this day, the pools are free and open to the public. With a total capacity of 43,000 people, they are a place where all New Yorkers can go to catch a free swimming lesson and a glimpse of New York City’s history.

A pigeon at Bryant Park.


  1. ^ "City Park Facts". The Trust for Public Land, Center for City Park Excellence. June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-19. 

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