Take the scenic Roosevelt Island Tram to and enjoy a quiet walk along the East River to the imposing Roosevelt Memorial, with fantastic views of Manhattan. Walk past wild vegetation, the evocative ruins of a hospital, and the lighthouse on the NE end.
Modeled after the Adirondack Mountains, the North Woods offers a serene and picturesque respite from the mobbed grassy knolls and also provides welcome shade during the hotter months. Check out the Ravine and find the quaint waterfalls of The Loch.
Head to William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge to see the more than 117 bird species that have been spotted there. Freshkills Park is a tranquil retreat and another reason the forgotten borough is worth a visit. Maybe you'll even spot one of the park's goats.
The beautiful artifacts inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art's branch dedicated to European medieval art and architecture are certainly worth a visit but the gorgeous gardens, cloisters and views will keep you coming back for more.
If you're a fan of bridges, this is your Valhalla. Both the Triborough-RFK Memorial Bridge and the Hells Gate Bridge cross through Astoria's green oasis, and views of both structures, coupled with the Manhattan skyline, are spectacular.
Nestled right next to the Harlem river, covered in a canopy of trees, and filled with colorful plants and tufted bushes, Swindler Cove Park is home to the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse. It's a peaceful place to row, particularly in the early morning hours.
The Wiliamsburg Bridge offers stellar views of Lower Manhattan, nearby bridges, and Midtown, without the constant tourist photography congestion the Brooklyn Bridge tends to suffer. Watch out for the ideal pot-smoking meeting place in the middle.
For a small entrance fee ($8, $4 students and seniors, $2 children), spend a few hours wandering through gardens, winding woodland paths, and vistas overlooking the Hudson River. Aim for first Saturdays and Tuesdays before noon, when admission's free.
Whether you enjoy brusing up your shins trying to land that hardflip or just want to watch somebody else try, come check out the TriBeCa Skatepark. It's the last skateboarding park to be designed by daredevil legend Andy Kessler before he died in 2009.
The New York City parks department offers an innovative, family-friendly, and free program that allows you to sleep outside in select parks: Van Cortlandt Park and here at Marine Park. You just have to enter a lottery to win a camping slot.