Recreation Rocks on the River
BY LAUREN PRICE | Restored and reimagined piers, dazzling water views, lush grassy expanses and a 32-mile bikeway –– the nation’s most heavily used –– are among the highlights at Hudson River Park, which has become the elegant front lawn for Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods
Comprised of multiple ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, skating venues and a myriad of aquatic pleasures, the park is also home to an 18-hole miniature golf course with sand traps, foot bridges, a pond, a waterfall, a children’s carousel with hand-carved wood figures of Hudson River Valley animals, a Trapeze School that had Carrie Bradshaw flying through the air on HBO a decade ago and a seasonal sand area for beachfront volleyball.
Annual summertime events for all ages are neighborhood favorites, too. Starting July 12, kids can enjoy movies at Pier 46 at Charles Street in the West Village, while adult fare is screened at Riverflicks at Pier 63 at 23rd Street in Chelsea.
Pack a picnic dinner for concerts at RiverRocks beginning July 11 at Pier 84 at 44th Street, and, from July 14 on at this same pier, the city’s largest, you can dance the night away to some of the best bands around at MoonDance.
Pier 84 also offers the annual Blues BBQ Festival on August 24, an interactive outdoor water play area, and bicycle rentals.
Hudson River Park hosts youth enrichment programs throughout the year, ranging from Riverside Rangers, where kids explore the river’s ecosystem through discovery-based science experiments and nature-inspired crafts, to big city fishing –– all led by experts.
“Our educational programs are a vital resource for thousands of families and students,” said Nicolette Witcher, the park’s vice president of environment and education. “This summer, our line-up is better than ever. And we’re thrilled to be partnering with New York Hall of Science this fall to present SUBMERGE!, a free, day-long marine science festival devoted to New York City’s coastal waters that will feature noted marine scientists, interactive demonstrations, and hands-on activities for all ages.” (hudsonriverpark.org)
Summertime is a particularly active time for youth at Chelsea Piers, with 16 specialty sports camps for children and teens, ages 3 to 17. Programs include golf, gymnastics, soccer, ice-skating, bowling and basketball. Camps run from June 16 to August 29, and enrollments range from one week to 11 weeks. Sign up before May 23 and early bird pricing will apply. (chelseapiers.com/camps).