You don’t have to travel far to find the water in New York City, whose five areas are surrounded by an awesome 520 miles of coastline.
A famous sea city inhabited by immigrants who came here through its famous port, New York itself is a series of islands, and only one of its five territories is actually part of the US mainland. However, some even smaller islands are located near this long coastline and attract visitors with many sports and cultural attractions, breathtaking views of the skyline and some of the freshest seafood they have ever tasted.
Here are five islands in New York that are worth going for a swim.
Take the ferry to enjoy the constant surprises on Governor’s Island
Just 800 m from some of the most populated neighborhoods in the world is a green oasis, suitable for a family holiday. The Governor’s Island served as a functioning fortress for about 200 years before the military left, and at the beginning of the century, civilian dreamers came to power. Since then, the island has become a pure canvas for the most creative impresario of the city.
In fact, you never know what programs will take place on a (short) ferry in one weekend: from dancing on the lawn of the jazz era to celebrating the Pride Islands, film screenings, playgrounds, art installations, a full-service spa and much more. All of this complements the island’s constant offering with miles of trails, bike paths, historic buildings, and some of the best views of the Statue of Liberty anywhere.
Tip from an insider: As you explore the island’s 172 acres, stop petting some of the cutest Governors Island employees: Max, Quinn, Chip, Aspen, and the leader, a Border Collie whose full-time job is to drive geese off the lawns.
Getting to Governor’s Island: Ferries depart every half hour from the Battery Maritime Building in Manhattan. On weekends, you can catch an hourly ferry to Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Red Hook/Atlantic Pool in Brooklyn. The ferry from New York also stops on the South Brooklyn route on Governor’s Island.
Enjoy freshly caught fish and the rustic atmosphere on the city island
A slice of Americana awaits you off the coast of the Bronx. With wooden houses with American flags and small ships moored to frequently used piers, City Island is more like a fishing village in New England than a big apple.
Seafood dinners are the main draw for visitors: the popular Tony’s Pier and Johnny’s Reef restaurants at the other end of City Island serve fried shrimp and shellfish by the pound in a cafeteria setting, while the trendier restaurants are just across the bridge from the mainland. We recommend exploring the dead ends next to City Island Avenue, where children playing on driveways and neighbors having barbecues in backyards show that living in a small town can actually be in one of the most hectic cities in the world.
Insider tip: Expect a shock when you’re on the menu of upscale coastal restaurants like the City Island Lobster House and JP’s. But don’t even think about ordering anything else: a higher price means the catch is fresh from the Long Island Strait and not from the freezer.
How to get to City Island: Take bus Bx29, car or driver service.
Spend a family day on Roosevelt Island
This 2-mile strip on the East River once served as a quarantine and psychiatric facility, but today such facilities have given way to a contiguous neighborhood of apartment buildings that offer a break from the madness of Manhattan just across the water. The dizzying and surprisingly smooth ride on the cable car to the island is attractive in itself (just try not to think about this heartbreaking scene of rescue from Spider-Man). Near the main road, green areas and playgrounds offer stunning views of the cityscape, and minimal traffic means that you can allow children to safely let off steam.
Behind the Queensboro Bridge over the head in the southern sector of the island are two of New York’s most exciting new monuments: the state-of-the-art Cornell Technology Campus, the Center for Advanced Science and the majestic Park of the Four Freedoms, which pays homage to President Franklin D. Roosevelt made of granite and grass.
A tip from an insider: in April, the cherry tree alley on the west side of the island, next to the Park of the Four Freedoms, hosts a real show. The shots of these beautiful white and pink flowers in the background of the United Nations Secretariat Building and the Midtown skyline will be of great interest to your subscribers.
Getting to Roosevelt Island: Trams depart every 7 to 15 minutes on weekdays. The F train serves the island, as does the ferry from New York City.
Watch the amateur game on Randall Island
Located between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens – and easily accessible from all three neighborhoods – this large island could be the epicenter of a New York vacation. More than 60 sports grounds host sports leagues of all stripes, from football and baseball to lacrosse, rugby, cricket and more. The Icahn Stadium hosts major athletics competitions, and its parking lots host the Electric Zoo EDM festival, Cirque du Soleil and other enjoyment events.
The years of restoration have created beautiful green areas around all sports facilities, and well-groomed bike paths and benches are scattered on 480 hectares of the island. The beautiful gardens, planted with lilacs, echinacea (horse cabbage) and daisies, next to the Ward Island Bridge, intended only for hikers, provide a calming breather after a tiring game.