Al Fresco Dining in New York (Or Eat Your Big Apple Outside)
From gourmet picnics to elegant feasts on a rooftop terrace, New York City offers diners many ways to enjoy world-class food in the great outdoors. Alice Waters, the famed restaurateur, author and organic food activist, once said, “It’s true that appetites are sharpened and tastes are enlivened in the open air.” Exploring the city’s avenues, parks and green spaces is a great way to work up an appetite that will help you eat your way across the Big Apple. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some recommendations from our very own Mr. Moustache and the rest of the Levy family.
The High Line
The High Line is a meandering urban park set 30 feet above the city on an elevated section of track used by the New York Central Railroad until 1980. Now, it’s a pedestrian-only park and greenway that travels 1.45 miles from Hudson Yards to the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District. There are plenty of places to sit, relax or watch the people along the High Line. Stop at Chelsea Market to grab some picnic fixings that you can enjoy al fresco, or check out some of the bars, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries that are along the route.
Madison Square Park
Located next to the distinctive wedge-shaped Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park is a Midtown landmark. The park spans three blocks between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue, two of Manhattan’s most glamorous thoroughfares. It is renowned for art installations, live concerts, landscape plantings and culinary celebrations. Seasonal events like Parktoberfest and Flatiron Chefs draw thousands of visitors. Several times a year, there are pop-up markets showcasing foods and beverages from the city’s best eateries and breweries. When the park isn’t hosting culinary events, you can find coffee, cocktails, craft beer, steak and international fare nearby to enjoy inside or outdoors.
Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park is one of the best spots for a memorable day outside or a picture-perfect picnic. This waterfront greenway runs from 59th Street to Battery Park. There are numerous cafes and restaurants located in the 500-acre park and surrounding neighborhoods. In Tribeca, you’ll find eateries near piers 25 and 26 and on the blocks west of Broadway. In Chelsea, you can try local seafood at a riverside restaurant. There’s no shortage of recreational opportunities in the park. Don’t forget about the food trucks that serve up fantastic and affordable meals throughout the city.
The Winter Village in Bryant Park is New York’s answer to Europe’s old-world holiday markets. At the end of October, the village is in full swing. In addition to the requisite ice skating on The Pond, there will be more than 125 boutique vendors and a number of top-notch eateries serving up pastries, sandwiches and hot drinks all day. If you hit the park in the evening, you can enjoy handcrafted cocktails and offerings from the wine bar.
After seven years of painstaking work, Teardrop Park opened to the public in 2006. This family-friendly green space includes open lawns, play areas, interactive fountains, sustainable landscaping and impressive rock installations. It’s a lush oasis tucked between several modern apartment buildings in lower Manhattan. If you get hungry after playing in the fresh air, you can visit one of the international restaurants along Murray Street. Take time to stroll along the Battery Park City Esplanade next door for fantastic views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey skyline.
There’s more to our city than Central Park. It was fine in 1860, but it’s been done to death. You’ll find many outstanding sites if you’re craving something new in New York.