April Showers Bring May Flowers: The Haute 5 Parks and Gardens in NYC

Finally! A Haute 5 list that doesn’t begin with some sad hope that the rain will stop soon. It has ceased! (For now, at least.) In celebration of that, and the fantastic weather, we recommend you get yourself to one of these parks pronto and celebrate the fact that summer or spring—or sometime with nice weather—has finally arrived.

Gramercy Park

It doesn’t get much hauter than having a key to Manhattan’s only private park. Gramercy Park was built from swampland in the 19th century, and once used to host camped-out Union soldiers. These days, you won’t see anyone camping out on the grounds. Residents of the nearby townhouses are the only ones with access to the lovely green space in one of Manhattan’s chicest neighborhoods.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is constantly changing with the seasons; until this fall, it served as the host of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week tents in for the spring and fall shows, and is one of the city’s best skating rinks during the winter. The summer may be Bryant Park’s best season. With daily tai chi classes, live music at lunchtime and after work, weekly screenings of classic movies, (our faves from the summer’s calendar are My Man Godfrey and Bonnie and Clyde) and beautiful landscaped greens, Bryant Park has something for everyone. For a bite to eat, Bryant Park Grill is right by the park, Koi NY is across the street, and even the Wichcraft Porch’s outdoor space in the park is hopping on weekend nights.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square has been an important space for hundreds of years. The famed entrance on Fifth Avenue was built to celebrate George Washington’s centennial and in the 1960s the park was a center for hippies and artists. Today, you’ll probably find more NYU students tanning between classes than anything, along with the chess players, tourists, puppies, and musicians. At the heart of Greenwich Village, it’s still one of our favorite places to sit back, eat an ice cream, and listen to the music (wherever it may be coming from) on a warm summer day.

Central Park

It would have been impossible to not include Central Park on this list. We love the seemingly endless green space, smack in the middle of the city. Central Park offers everything from great running routes to the formal Conservatory Garden, which is a favorite of floral enthusiasts. Everyone has his or her own favorite spot in the park. Maybe this summer is the time to explore it more and find a new one.

Madison Square Park

From Madison Square Park’s movie screenings on Mondays, to the live music on Wednesdays, to the plethora of child-friendly activities, Madison Square Park really comes alive during the summer months. And of course, no summer would be complete without a visit to the original Shake Shake. If you happen to look up to the top of the surrounding buildings don’t be alarmed. Those people hovering at the edges of rooftops are just sculptures. They’re part of Antony Gormley’s public art installation, Event Horizon and no one’s trying to jump.