Settled along the East River is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Carl Schurz Park is over 14 acres of green space, play areas, and scenic views — plus, a twist of history for good measure. With spring in full effect, now is the time to explore the beauty and fun of one of NYC’s best public parks. A short distance from the East Side residences at The Kent condos, Carl Schurz Park offers innumerable opportunities for you to get outside and enjoy the season.
Getting acquainted with the space is as easy as a stroll along the waterfront promenade. Perfect views of the river, the towering Triborough Bridge, Randall’s and Wards Islands, and the historic Roosevelt Island Lighthouse can be found along John Finley Walk. Stop at any point to appreciate the city from a new perspective. Walk long enough and you’ll discover Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor. Built in 1799, the structure has been everything from a private residence to a museum — and now, it’s a little of both! Take a guided tour through the lower floors to learn more about the mansion and NYC’s colorful history, and spend some time in the museum you’ll find there. And keep your eye out for city leadership: The upper floors, which are closed to the public, are reserved for use by the mayor’s family and official guests of the city. Consequently, you never know who you may see.
When you’re ready for a break, plenty of green space awaits. On sunny days, stretch out on the lawn to sunbathe, take a quick nap, or engage in some people watching. Bring friends and a lunch for a relaxing weekend picnic. Or, come by yourself with a good book and a snack. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll find the peaceful surroundings and slow pace of the park a welcome respite from busy Manhattan.
Canine lovers will appreciate that Carl Schurz Park is one of the most dog-friendly in the city. While you can exercise your furry friend along the full length of the promenade, two dog runs present excellent spaces for your companion to stretch his or her legs and socialize with other dogs.
Kids (and playful adults) will love Catbird Playground at the end of the park. There, you’ll find an inlaid granite representation of a winged cat. It sits waiting in the advantageous position of the name described so aptly in James Thurber’s 1942 story, “The Catbird Seat.” In addition to the whimsical artwork, you’ll find newer-style steel playground equipment with challenging climbs, high platforms, overhead ladders, and slides that will provide endless options to explore and create your own adventures. And, of course, benches and large shade trees are plentiful.
While there are no restaurants or food carts in the park, you won’t be at a loss for nearby, and thoroughly excellent, choices. For a delightful retreat, bring a thermos of your favorite coffee and grab some sweet treats to go with it at Two Little Red Hens bakery. Each day, starting at 10 a.m., the shop begins baking cupcakes. Starting with the ever-popular Brooklyn Blackout, they serve the cakes on a rolling basis as they become available. Or, you can place an order ahead of time and have your choice of pies, cakes, and other delectables waiting for you. If you’re looking to sit down for a quick bite, stop by The Mansion, which serves a solid selection of diner classics from sunrise to well after sunset. Everything from pancakes to a respectable tenderloin can be found on their menu.
Carl Schurz Park is truly a unique spot in the city. Spend a day getting to know this wonderful oasis on the East Side, and you’ll return again and again.
Image courtesy of © NYC Parks