New York: Top 10 parks to go green as your favorite heroes

Going green in New York? It’s far from being some crazy idea. With 1,700 parks and playgrounds, the Big Apple is perfect for a stroll or for just lazing around.

Bryant Park

On Glee, Blaine (Darren Criss) surprises Kurt in episode 10 of Season 4 by joining him at the Bryant Park skating rink to sing a duo, like they do every Christmas. The title is “White Christmas”, an American classic of the festive season. The rink is generally open from September to March and it’s free.

Adjacent to the New York Public Library, Bryant Park is nicknamed the “Little Luxembourg Gardens” because of the carrousel and green metal chairs so typical of Paris gardens. The park has a multitude of kiosks, cafés and terraces and is the venue for many events such as the Bryant Park Film Festival, or at the end of the year, a skating rink and a very beautiful Christmas market.

Washington Square Park

On I Am Legend, the park with its famous triumphal arch is situated just across from where Robert lives and during the night in the film it takes on a rather terrifying appearance. An amusing bit of trivia, it was built in 1826 over an old cemetery.

Once synonym for eternal rest, today the park is enticing to relax for a few hours. Landscaped over an old cemetery in 1926, Washington Park has been the favorite meeting place for performers, protesters and intellectuals of all sorts. As part of their graduation ceremony, the students of NYU, just beside, parade under the arch dedicated to George Washington.

Battery Park

On Inside Man, Arthur Case, founder of the bank where the hostage-taking happens, gets Madeleine White to negotiate with the hostage-takers behind the police’s back. Their meeting takes place here, on the banks, facing the Statue of Liberty.

At the southernmost point of Manhattan, Battery Park is so named in reference to the canons and artillery that were set up there in the 17th century. This green oasis much appreciated by New Yorkers and tourists alike, is also a very historic place with its numerous memorials. As we mention in our guide New York of 1000 cult movies, series, musics, comics and novels locations, it’s also where ferries for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island leave from.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

On Men In Black, created by architects Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin, for the 1964 Universal Exposition, the towers of the New York State pavilion possess forms you could mistake for flying saucers. It didn’t take much for the screenwriters to move right in thus transforming the park into an alien landing site. One of the spaceships even crashes into Unisphere, the 42-meter high gigantic sculpture representing the globe. In a very dilapidated state, the towers can no longer be visited and were almost destroyed a few years ago. A citizen-led effort managed to save them. They are currently undergoing restoration.

Flushing meadows spreads out over 897 acres, which puts it on the podium of the big public parks in New York and what’s more it has been home to the US Open tennis tournament every year since 1978. The numerous lawns and lakes make it an ideal pace for a picnic and even a swim.

Shore Road Park

On Send Away The Tigers, Valerie Philips, a New York photographer, has published six books, each one of them relating the life of a young girl - from a student, Monika Monster, of Polish origin in Brooklyn to a young gymnast in Oklahoma.  Taken in Brooklyn’s Shore Road Park with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in the background, one of the photos from Monika Monster Future First Woman on Mars was reproduced on the cover of Send Away The Tigers, by the Manic Street Preachers.

This place is in the outskirts but treasures are, after all, often hidden. From Shore Road Park you’ll have beautiful views of Verrazano Narrows Bridge as well glorious sunsets.

Madison Square Park

On The Adjustment Bureau, it’s in this park, situated at the bottom of his building (the Metropolitan Life Tower with its clock-topped tower at the angle of Madison and 23rdSt), that David spills his coffee and so misses his bus that Elise is in. But nothing goes as planned.

An oasis of greenery amongst the buildings, including the Flatiron, one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York. With its lawns, the playground for kids, and a dog park, Madison Square Park has lots to offer. In summer it’s great to have a burger and milk shake at the Shake Shack.

Carl Schurz Park

On 25th Hour, the park where Monty asks one of his best friends, Frank Slattery (Barry Pepper), to beat him up so that he’d get to the prison in a rough shape, is situated on the banks of the East River in north Manhattan. It houses the Gracie Mansion, official residence of the mayor of New York.

One of the best kept secrets of New York. With its pretty stone bridges, its winding paths and flowerbeds, the picturesque Carl Schurz Park is a breath of fresh air along the FDR Drive and offers splendid panoramic views over the East River, the Roosevelt Island lighthouse and the Triborough and Queensboro Bridges. Try and fit in a visit to Grace Mansion, the official residence of the mayor.

Union Square

On Union Square, this song from the album Rain Dogs, ranked amongst the 500 best albums ever by the music bible Rolling Stone magazine, talks about the guys at Union Square.  The Cinema 14, a movie theater with a rogue film program and a drag queens bar are there to entertain them. Note that the album also contains an instrumental piece, Midtown.

It’s the square of great men, with statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the Marquis of Lafayette and Gandhi. It’s also where we protest and cry out, an agora where chess players rub shoulders with the Hare Krishna community. Since 1976, Union Square has been the venue for a market of local producers. We can even find rooftop honey!

Tompkins Square Park

On The New York Four, this small park in Alphabet City is the one the comic book creator Brian Wood prefers,  and he doesn’t hesitate to mention it in the album where the heroines cross it.

Framed by avenues A and B, the green lungs of Alphabet city was a hotbed of contestation against the Viet Nam war in the 60s, before being a synonym of drug traffic and insecurity in the 80s. This 10.5 acres park is today, once again, a very pleasant place, cherished by the inhabitants of the East Village.

Green-Wood Cemetery

On Iron Fist, Danny comes to this beautiful cemetery for some quiet moments by the family memorial. He’s surprised that it’s always well-kept. The scene was shot just next to Crescent Water.

With 600,000 graves, including that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, its impressive gothic gate and numerous lakes and forests dotting 478 acres, Green-wood Cemetery deserves a visit. The view from Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn, 200 feet above sea level, is really beautiful.

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