Hudson River Park, New York City
New York City , New York
Concierge.com's insider take:
A five-mile sliver of green between the West Side Highway and the Hudson River, this is downtown's open-space alternative to Central Park. Reclamation of the downtrodden waterfront is ongoingthough the area south of 23rd Street is already flourishing. Chelsea Piers (between W. 18th and W. 21st streets) is a year-round sports and recreation center with a driving range, bowling alley, restaurants, marina, and more. Pier 54 (at W. 13th St.) hosts film screenings and concerts. Further south, kids splash in the fountains on the Pier 51 playground (at Jane St.), and picnic space on the grassy knolls can be hard to come by when the temperature rises, especially on cruisey Pier 45 (at W. 10th St.), where the West Village's gay population comes to preen and sunbathethis is the best place to get a glimpse of locals' enviable roof decks and the Richard Meier towers at Perry and Charles streets. The park's southernmost tier is a multi-million-dollar work in progress: Construction is underway to create lawns, bike paths, beach volleyball courts, a dog run, boat moorings, and a whole lot more, with the majority of work due to be completed in 2010. (For updates on progress, visit www.hudsonriverpark.org) The popular Trapeze School New York, which teaches you to fly through the air 24 feet up (with a safety net, naturally), has relocated to the top of Pier 40 for the duration of the construction. Aspiring trapeze artists can test their mettle from April until October while taking in views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty (212 242 8769, newyork.trapezeschool.com).