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14 perfect New York City strolls

From neighborhood walks to nature trails

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Rejoice, New Yorkers: fall is finally here. After a seemingly endless string of hot, muggy days, the city will get cooler and it’ll finally be the perfect weather for putting on a jacket, grabbing a cup of coffee, and taking a long stroll through the open space of your choice.

Here are more than a dozen perfect spots in the city for a long walk on which you can soak up NYC’s sights, sounds, and surroundings. Some routes are more leisurely than others, and some will require a serious time commitment.

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1. Governors Island

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Governors Island
New York, NY 11231

We’ve still got a month or so to go before Governors Island closes for the year, and there are few better places to meander in New York. One big perk: The entire island is car-free, meaning you can stroll (or bike, or roller-skate—whatever floats your boat) with abandon. The paths through the Hills have beautiful views, including of the Statue of Liberty.

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2. Hudson River Greenway

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Hudson River Greenway
New York, NY

You can’t go wrong with a wander at any point along the Hudson River Greenway, which stretches all the way from lower Manhattan up to Washington Heights. Some specific points of interest: the protected pathway (for cyclists and pedestrians) through Hudson River Park; the Cherry Walk, stretching from 100th to 125th streets in Riverside Park; and the tiny stretch of land beneath the George Washington Bridge where you’ll find the iconic Little Red Lighthouse.

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3. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
New York, NY 10128

Leave the Mall and the Literary Walk to the tourists who take over the southern half of Central Park, and head to the massive green space’s reservoir, named for former first lady (and frequent flâneuse) Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Its pathway, which is a little more then a mile and a half long, is frequently traversed by joggers and those who want to take in the surrounding views.

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4. Roosevelt Island

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Roosevelt Island
New York, NY 10044

Take the Roosevelt Island Tram to this land mass in the middle of the East River, and then spend a day wandering the nearly two-mile island. At its southern tip, you’ll find Four Freedoms Park, an austere monument to President Franklin D. Roosevelt; the northern end has a lovely park with a 147-year-old lighthouse. There are waterfront paths that make a nearly four-mile loop around the entire island, and the views of Manhattan and Queens are incredible.

Max Touhey | www.metouhey.com

5. Convent Avenue and Hamilton Terrace

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Convent Ave
New York, NY

One of Harlem’s best architectural walks can be found close to City College’s campus in Hamilton Heights. On Convent Avenue (particularly between 140th and 145th streets), you’ll find “picturesque row houses that are the richness of these blocks,” according to the AIA Guide to New York City. Take a detour to Hamilton Terrace, a secluded enclave notable for both its beautiful homes and its appearance in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums—the home on the corner of Hamilton and Convent stood in for the Tenenbaum clan’s sprawling family manse.

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6. The High Bridge

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Harlem River Dr
New York, NY 10033

New York’s oldest existing span is the High Bridge, which was built in the 1840s. The Manhattan-Bronx connector was closed for unspecified reasons for decades; but after an extensive renovation, it opened to the public in 2015. Now, it’s the perfect setting for a stroll—start on the Bronx side, and walk toward the historic water tower, located in Highbridge Park in Washington Heights.

7. Grand Concourse

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Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY

This four-mile stretch in the Bronx was inspired by the Champs-Elysses in Paris, but has its own particular New York flavor. It’s worth a stroll especially if you’re an Art Deco buff; several of its grand apartment buildings were constructed during that period, and retain much of their ornamentation to this day. Don’t miss the so-called Fish Building just south of 167th Street, so named for the colorful mosaic mural that adorns its exterior.

8. Astoria Park

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19 19th St
Queens, NY 11105
(212) 639-9675
Visit Website

Astoria Park is less crowded than some of its more well-known counterparts, which is precisely why it’s worth visiting for a springtime stroll. Well, that, and the views: From a perch beneath the Hell Gate Bridge, you’ll see Randalls Island, the Manhattan skyline, and more.

9. Center Boulevard

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Center Blvd
Long Island City, NY

Beyond the tall towers of Long Island City is this walkable thoroughfare, which connects Hunter’s Point South to Gantry Plaza State Park and the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign. It’s got everything you might want: plenty of seating, Instagram-worthy views, and plenty of sunshine on nice days. The newest section of Hunter’s Point South park is an especially lovely spot for meandering.

10. Clinton Avenue

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Clinton Ave
Brooklyn, NY

Here’s another one for architecture buffs: The stretch of Clinton Avenue between Atlantic and Flushing avenues has, as Brownstoner puts it, “an architectural timeline of great Brooklyn architecture.” There are homes in a wide variety of styles that were popular in the 19th century, from the Greek Revival splendor of the (allegedly haunted) Lefferts-Laidlaw House at No. 136, to the wood-frame beauty at No. 284, which dates back to 1854 and doesn’t look like it belongs in Brooklyn at all.

11. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

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Montague St & Pierrepont Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 722-3214
Visit Website

Sure, this walkway is often crowded, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better view of Lower Manhattan, or the ever-changing Brooklyn Bridge Park below. Pro tip: Start at the promenade’s southern end, at Remsen Street, and once you reach the other end, wander through the streets of Brooklyn Heights—the city’s first landmarked district—which are lined with some of New York’s most gorgeous historic homes.

12. Belt Parkway Promenade

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Bay Ridge Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(212) 639-9675
Visit Website

A two-mile stretch of waterfront real estate along the Belt Parkway is one of Brooklyn’s nicer areas to walk, thanks to the incredible views—of the harbor, Staten Island, and beyond—and the fact that there will be fewer crowds in more highly touristed areas. Start your walk at the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge, where the promenade begins.

13. Brighton Beach to Coney Island

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601 Riegelmann Boardwalk
Brooklyn, NY 11235

New York’s beaches may close after Labor Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t saunter along the boardwalk. We especially like the stretch from Brighton Beach to Coney Island, which covers a few miles (and two separate boardwalks). Brighton has plenty of Russian restaurants and quieter vibe, while Coney has more of the seaside amusement park atmosphere; you can’t go wrong either way.

14. Wolfe's Pond Park

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420 Cornelia Ave
Staten Island, NY 10312
(718) 984-8266
Visit Website

Staten Island has been dubbed “the greenest borough” thanks to the abundance of parkland on the island—it has more than 12,000 acres of open green space, according to SI’s main tourism board. Wolfe’s Pond Park, located on the island’s eastern edge, is an excellent place to see how the borough got this distinction. There are trails and secluded areas in this park, along with a beach that’s sure to be less crowded than, say, the Rockaways or Coney.

Via NYC Parks Department

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1. Governors Island

Governors Island, New York, NY 11231
Shutterstock

We’ve still got a month or so to go before Governors Island closes for the year, and there are few better places to meander in New York. One big perk: The entire island is car-free, meaning you can stroll (or bike, or roller-skate—whatever floats your boat) with abandon. The paths through the Hills have beautiful views, including of the Statue of Liberty.

Governors Island
New York, NY 11231

2. Hudson River Greenway

Hudson River Greenway, New York, NY
Shutterstock

You can’t go wrong with a wander at any point along the Hudson River Greenway, which stretches all the way from lower Manhattan up to Washington Heights. Some specific points of interest: the protected pathway (for cyclists and pedestrians) through Hudson River Park; the Cherry Walk, stretching from 100th to 125th streets in Riverside Park; and the tiny stretch of land beneath the George Washington Bridge where you’ll find the iconic Little Red Lighthouse.

Hudson River Greenway
New York, NY

3. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, New York, NY 10128
Shutterstock

Leave the Mall and the Literary Walk to the tourists who take over the southern half of Central Park, and head to the massive green space’s reservoir, named for former first lady (and frequent flâneuse) Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Its pathway, which is a little more then a mile and a half long, is frequently traversed by joggers and those who want to take in the surrounding views.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
New York, NY 10128

4. Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island, New York, NY 10044
Max Touhey | www.metouhey.com

Take the Roosevelt Island Tram to this land mass in the middle of the East River, and then spend a day wandering the nearly two-mile island. At its southern tip, you’ll find Four Freedoms Park, an austere monument to President Franklin D. Roosevelt; the northern end has a lovely park with a 147-year-old lighthouse. There are waterfront paths that make a nearly four-mile loop around the entire island, and the views of Manhattan and Queens are incredible.

Roosevelt Island
New York, NY 10044

5. Convent Avenue and Hamilton Terrace

Convent Ave, New York, NY

One of Harlem’s best architectural walks can be found close to City College’s campus in Hamilton Heights. On Convent Avenue (particularly between 140th and 145th streets), you’ll find “picturesque row houses that are the richness of these blocks,” according to the AIA Guide to New York City. Take a detour to Hamilton Terrace, a secluded enclave notable for both its beautiful homes and its appearance in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums—the home on the corner of Hamilton and Convent stood in for the Tenenbaum clan’s sprawling family manse.

Convent Ave
New York, NY

6. The High Bridge

Harlem River Dr, New York, NY 10033

New York’s oldest existing span is the High Bridge, which was built in the 1840s. The Manhattan-Bronx connector was closed for unspecified reasons for decades; but after an extensive renovation, it opened to the public in 2015. Now, it’s the perfect setting for a stroll—start on the Bronx side, and walk toward the historic water tower, located in Highbridge Park in Washington Heights.

Harlem River Dr
New York, NY 10033

7. Grand Concourse

Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY

This four-mile stretch in the Bronx was inspired by the Champs-Elysses in Paris, but has its own particular New York flavor. It’s worth a stroll especially if you’re an Art Deco buff; several of its grand apartment buildings were constructed during that period, and retain much of their ornamentation to this day. Don’t miss the so-called Fish Building just south of 167th Street, so named for the colorful mosaic mural that adorns its exterior.

Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY

8. Astoria Park

19 19th St, Queens, NY 11105

Astoria Park is less crowded than some of its more well-known counterparts, which is precisely why it’s worth visiting for a springtime stroll. Well, that, and the views: From a perch beneath the Hell Gate Bridge, you’ll see Randalls Island, the Manhattan skyline, and more.

19 19th St
Queens, NY 11105

9. Center Boulevard

Center Blvd, Long Island City, NY

Beyond the tall towers of Long Island City is this walkable thoroughfare, which connects Hunter’s Point South to Gantry Plaza State Park and the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign. It’s got everything you might want: plenty of seating, Instagram-worthy views, and plenty of sunshine on nice days. The newest section of Hunter’s Point South park is an especially lovely spot for meandering.

Center Blvd
Long Island City, NY

10. Clinton Avenue

Clinton Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Here’s another one for architecture buffs: The stretch of Clinton Avenue between Atlantic and Flushing avenues has, as Brownstoner puts it, “an architectural timeline of great Brooklyn architecture.” There are homes in a wide variety of styles that were popular in the 19th century, from the Greek Revival splendor of the (allegedly haunted) Lefferts-Laidlaw House at No. 136, to the wood-frame beauty at No. 284, which dates back to 1854 and doesn’t look like it belongs in Brooklyn at all.

Clinton Ave
Brooklyn, NY

11. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Montague St & Pierrepont Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Sure, this walkway is often crowded, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better view of Lower Manhattan, or the ever-changing Brooklyn Bridge Park below. Pro tip: Start at the promenade’s southern end, at Remsen Street, and once you reach the other end, wander through the streets of Brooklyn Heights—the city’s first landmarked district—which are lined with some of New York’s most gorgeous historic homes.

Montague St & Pierrepont Pl
Brooklyn, NY 11201

12. Belt Parkway Promenade

Bay Ridge Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

A two-mile stretch of waterfront real estate along the Belt Parkway is one of Brooklyn’s nicer areas to walk, thanks to the incredible views—of the harbor, Staten Island, and beyond—and the fact that there will be fewer crowds in more highly touristed areas. Start your walk at the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge, where the promenade begins.

Bay Ridge Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

13. Brighton Beach to Coney Island

601 Riegelmann Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY 11235

New York’s beaches may close after Labor Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t saunter along the boardwalk. We especially like the stretch from Brighton Beach to Coney Island, which covers a few miles (and two separate boardwalks). Brighton has plenty of Russian restaurants and quieter vibe, while Coney has more of the seaside amusement park atmosphere; you can’t go wrong either way.

601 Riegelmann Boardwalk
Brooklyn, NY 11235

14. Wolfe's Pond Park

420 Cornelia Ave, Staten Island, NY 10312
Via NYC Parks Department

Staten Island has been dubbed “the greenest borough” thanks to the abundance of parkland on the island—it has more than 12,000 acres of open green space, according to SI’s main tourism board. Wolfe’s Pond Park, located on the island’s eastern edge, is an excellent place to see how the borough got this distinction. There are trails and secluded areas in this park, along with a beach that’s sure to be less crowded than, say, the Rockaways or Coney.

420 Cornelia Ave
Staten Island, NY 10312