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Central Park

Love Is In The Air In NYC Parks

Friday, February 13, 2009
No. 12

Though a romantic dinner or a cozy evening indoors might be in the cards this Valentine’s Day weekend, love need not be limited within walls! In a city with seemingly infinite offerings for celebrating with your sweetheart, there are no better venues than our natural settings to demonstrate your affections. These special Valentine’s Day events in parks will be sure to let your love bloom.

Today through Sunday, dance on the ice at Wollman Rink in Central Park from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. while romantic music programmed by WNYC’s American Standards host Jonathan Schwartz fills the air. Skaters can enjoy this soundtrack for the duration of the rink’s season. Also today, dress up in your vintage garb for the Rock the Ages Valentine’s Dance at the Greenbelt Nature Center in Staten Island for seniors and adults from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

On Saturday, the Greenbelt Nature Center will also be host to the Valentine’s Day Movie Matinee at 2:00 p.m., featuring Wall-E, the timeless tale of love, hope, and care for Planet Earth. Saturday will also see two special Valentine’s Day hikes. At Inwood Hill Park, join a Ranger-led excursion through the oldest growth forest in Manhattan at 10:00 a.m. Another hike through the woods will leave from the Alley Pond Park Adventure Center in Queens at 1:00 p.m.

If you feel more like taking it easy, come to Valentine’s Eco-Crafts at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday to make nature inspired crafts for your loved ones at the Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center in the Bronx. You can also get cozy with coffee and hot cocoa in Oak Ridge, a historic building within Forest Park in Queens, and enjoy a reading of nature poetry with coffee and hot cocoa at 11:00 a.m. In the same literary vein, bring your favorite love-inspired poems or passages by The Bard to recite in the Shakespeare Garden at Belvedere Castle in Central Park at 2:00 p.m.

In addition, these favorite spots in NYC parks are sure to make sparks fly this special weekend:

In the Bronx:

Van Cortlandt Park – Take a leisurely walk around the lake or hike the John Muir Nature Trail in this woodsy paradise.

Wave Hill – Watch the sun set over the Palisades or visit one of the most impressive arboretums in New York City.

Orchard Beach – A romantic walk on the rocky shoreline of Hunter Island will transport you to the coast of Old New England.

Bronx Park – Watch the spectacular waterfall on New York City’s only freshwater river, the Bronx River.

In Brooklyn:

Brooklyn Bridge Park – Watch the sun set over Manhattan as the East River glistens before you.

Lullwater Bridge, Prospect Park – The waterfall and boathouse make the perfect setting for romance.

Fulton Park – Stroll through the great trees in this treasured neighborhood park.

Sunset Park – Eagle-eye views of Manhattan, Staten Island, New Jersey, and the Statue of Liberty will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

In Manhattan:

Heather Garden, Fort Tryon Park – This picturesque garden offers spectacular views of the Palisades in all seasons.

The Battery – Take in unparalleled views as seagulls fly, the waves lap, and the sun sets over Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Madison Square Park – Enjoy world-class outdoor art in this historic park right in the heart of Manhattan.

Carl Schurz Park – Take a stroll along the East River or cuddle-up behind the grand Gracie Mansion.

In Queens:

Fort Totten Park – Peer across the Long Island Sound through stately Civil War-era structures.

Astoria Park – Stroll the East River waterfront overlooking Roosevelt Island and the awesome Manhattan skyline.

Baisley Pond Park – Sit and relax under the gazebo and gaze out at the fabled gigantic lily pads resting on the pond.

Kissena Park – Weeping willows set the mood around the beautiful lake.

In Staten Island:

Clove Lakes Park – Look to Staten Island’s largest living thing, the 300-year-old, one-hundred-and-seven-feet tall tulip tree, as a symbol of endurance and love everlasting.

Alice Austen House – This Victorian garden will transport you to 19th-century romance.

Willowbrook Park – Ride the carousel with your sweetheart and feel like a kid again.

St. Valentine is considered the patron saint of love and lovers. According to legend, he married lovers in secret when Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage, fearing it made men poor soldiers. While imprisoned for these actions, he sent the first “valentine,” a note to his beloved that he signed “from your Valentine.”

For more information, and to register for particular events, visit the Upcoming Events page at

Directions to Central Park

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