A short walk from the A train or a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from the 4,5,6 Trains is Brooklyn Bridge Park. Near the entrance of the park, you’ll find a delicious ice cream shop and a pier with a Manhattan skyline view (located at Pier 1). This park is especially beautiful at sunset and after dark. During a short stroll through the park, you’ll stumble into a swing set located on Pier 2. It is a beautiful spot to have a fun swing with your date or partner while enjoying the lights of the city. If you go during the day, you can enjoy a picnic lunch on the Bridge View Lawn, also located on Pier 1. The best part about this park is that it can be enjoyed all year round, but it is especially beautiful in the spring. The park features over 3,000 trees, 3 different gardens, and a salt marsh. I recommend going to see them in the spring-time because that’s when all the plants are in full bloom.
Easily accessible from Staten Island or Brooklyn, Battery Park is a less popular gem of lower Manhattan. The park boasts great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. At the beginning of the park is the beautifully built National Museum of the American Indian (temporarily closed due to Covid-19). Around the block is the Staten Island Ferry, which happens to be free… hint, hint. If you’re feeling for a more active date then rent some Citi Bikes and take a ride through the Battery Bikeway. The bike path is 31 miles long and is completely on the waterfront. If you are there for a night visit you can enjoy dinner at The View at Battery Park, which sits in front of the Hudson River with a gorgeous view of the Hoboken night.
A sort of Staten Island secret is Snug Harbor. It was for a very long time the home of retired sailors. Snug Harbor was once a completely self-sustaining village. The park has a lot to offer including botanical gardens and historic structures, such as the Carl Grillo Glass House. It used to be the greenhouse for the sailors that lived in the Harbor. I highly recommend starting at the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. The garden features authentic Chinese architecture and a koi pond. Check out their website for weekly events and hours of admission to the gardens!
At the tip of Central Park and on the border of the Upper East Side and Harlem is the Conservatory Garden. The garden is recognized easily by its entrance gate that was originally the front gate of the Vanderbilt Mansion. The garden has three sections: French, Italian, and English. All the gardens feature small fountains. My personal favorite is the English-style garden because of its water lily pool and small sculpture. Go visit to find out what the sculpture is. Many couples have gotten married at the Conservatory Garden… you could be next!