Hi friends, welcome back! I ventured to Long Island City back in April in search of the cherry blossoms, but I ended up discovering so much more than some beautiful trees. Long Island City (aka LIC) is across the East River from Manhattan, and one subway stop away from Grand Central. This area used to be a dockyard and manufacturing district, but now there are quite a few apartment buildings and beautiful public parks. I had previously only been to LIC when Jon and I would take the subway here to avoid some traffic for a weekday flight, so I was very excited to explore the waterfront.
From the subway, it was an easy, ten-minute walk to the waterfront park. The waterfront includes Gantry State Park (12 acres, state owned) and Hunter’s Point South Park (11 acres, city owned). You could also take a ferry here for a more scenic route but it usually takes longer.
As I mentioned earlier, I was looking for the cherry blossoms and tulips, but I was more drawn to the incredible waterfront park. Gantry State Park opened in 1998 and offers piers for fishing, a splash pad, playground, basketball and pickleball courts, and plenty of space and seating. I started walking north to see the famous Pepsi Cola sign I’d seen so often from Manhattan. If I lived in the area I would love walking here in the morning with my coffee.
I went during the week so it wasn’t as crowded as I’m sure the weekend gets. These chairs look like a great spot to take in the Manhattan skyline or a spectacular sunset.
I loved the views of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and UN Building (the dark, glass rectangular building).
These large structures, called gantries, were used to load railcar floats and barges back when this area was a dockyard. I like how they left them here as a reminder to the area’s past function.
I believe south of the gantries is where Hunter’s Point South Park actually begins. Phase I of the park opened in 2013, and includes “an oval shaped turf field and a basketball court with an outdoor gym. There is also a well-equipped children’s playground, a dog run, and sand volleyball court”. My favorite part of the park were these beautiful tulip beds, I know you’re surprised 😉 They were right next to a busy dog park, so I took a break and watched the dogs and flowers.
Phase II of the park opened in 2018 and includes, “Pedestrian and bicycle pathways, adult fitness equipment, a playground, picnic terraces and a collection of wooden seating areas, newly established wetlands, a kayak launch, and a 30-foot-high cantilevered platform offering unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline and East River”. I didn’t make it all the way to the viewing platform, but it looked like it had great views!
Hunter’s Point South Park also has a little food stand, plenty of picnic tables, and clean bathrooms, so this would be the perfect place to spend an afternoon with family and friends. You could even watch a game of sand volleyball while you’re having lunch.
This open area is great, and this part of my post will require some imagination. I’d seen pictures on Instagram of beautiful, flowering cherry trees, but sadly they died before I got there. Only one little tree maintained its color.
This is what it was supposed to look like…
I enjoyed checking out Gantry State Park, Hunter’s Point South Park, and seeing Manhattan from a different perspective. I always enjoy exploring new areas, especially along the water or away from the honking. These parks reminded me a lot of Battery Park and the piers along the Hudson River. I appreciate that NYC is investing in these outdoor spaces, they’re a much needed reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life.
24 thoughts on “Hunter’s Point South Park and Gantry State Park”
Perfect picnic spot with priceless views
What wonderful open spaces so close to so much humanity! I (Kellye) would love to walk there or sit and have lunch there. Thank you for showing us another part of NY that we haven’t seen.
It’s so nice having all this open space in the city! It would be a perfect spot for lunch too. It’s fun exploring new places that are less known about 🙂
A worthwhile trip even without the cherry blossoms Lyssy. A great vantage point on the Manhattan city Skyline. Every neighbourhood has its own story. Thanks for sharing. Allan
You’re right, it’s fun visiting different neighborhoods and noticing the similarities and differences. The skyline never gets old to me!
How beautiful! I would love to take the ferry down the waterfront.
Such a beautiful park! The ferry is a fun way to see beautiful views o the city too.
Great photos of the park, the Pepsi sign and of course the gorgeous spring flowers. I remember going there on our visit but it was early January so not so pretty then.
Thank you! I bet it was very cold too. Now the city is very green, but starting to get pretty muggy.
I love (ha ha) the photo’s with the red heart! The views from this park are amazing, and keeping the gantries is a nice touch. You picked a great time for the tulips.
Haha I see what you did there! It seems the best views of NYC are from Brooklyn and Long Island City. The tulips were a nice surprise 🙂
Great photos of the Manhattan skyline and tulips! Gantry State Park does look like a lovely place for a morning walk and coffee. Although cherry trees in full bloom are a spectacular sight, there’s something very poetic about a single cherry tree still preserving its blossoms at the time of your visit.
Thank you! I agree, that little cherry blossom was really thriving, maybe it was a late bloomer haha.
It’s funny, I go to this park fairly often because it’s by me and yet I never bothered to learn it’s name. Great photos of it! Also if you’re ever in that area again, I highly suggest Cafe Henri for brunch. It’s my partner and my go to spot because it’s absolutely delicious!
That is funny! What a nice park to have by you. Thanks for the recommendation!
The city views from the park are magnificent!
Such an amazing view of the skyline from Brooklyn!
“I spy” my favorite leaning skyscrapers 🙂 Love the permanent chess boards – a beautiful outdoor space for a game. And what is a “splash pad” – those intermittent fountains for intentionally getting wet?
The leaning skyscrapers don’t get by you 🙂 It would be a. nice place for a game. The park by us has pool tables but I’ve never seen anyone play or any supplies. I don’t think many people have pool tables in their apartments in NYC. Yes that’s exactly right on the splash pad. They are a nice reprieve for people on the hot summer days. I think they are mostly for kids.
Another beautiful NYC park – I’m with you on the tulip beds, they are absolutely beautiful 🙂
If only tulips lived longer! They were so pretty.
I love that they turned the old railroad tracks into a garden!
Such a great way to repurpose them!