Now that warm weather is here, New York City is the perfect place to have a picnic. Rather than packing and schlepping an enormous basket with dishes and silverware (although it can be fun to go the more traditional route once in a while), the city is full of restaurants, bakeries, and delicatessens with a wide range of delicious takeout options. Want to go on a picnic in Manhattan this summer? Here’s where to have a picnic and shop for your al fresco foodstuffs in NYC.
UPPER WEST SIDE
Riverside Park on the Upper West Side is beautifully serene and the perfect place for a picnic in NYC. After exploring different areas of the park, such as the 91st Street Garden (also the location of the final scene in You’ve Got Mail), take your pick from several grassy areas to sit back and relax. The North Lawn, which stretches from 80th to 82nd Street, is an especially lovely place to watch a sunset.
Picnic Food: Maison Kayser – 2161 Broadway
Before your picnic, stop by Maison Kayser for some scrumptious French fare to go. You can’t go wrong with any of the offerings on Maison Kayser’s menu, which include classic ham and cheese baguettes, pain au chocolat, and an array of gorgeous tartes.
UPPER EAST SIDE
Camp out on a bench along the East River Promenade and enjoy a picnic near the water, or nestle yourself among the trees of Carl Schurz Park for a leisurely afternoon.
Picnic Food: Luke’s Lobster – 242 E 81st St
During the summer, Luke’s Lobster becomes a hot spot for picnickers, as their menu features a great selection of takeout combos. Try the Taste of Maine for a sampler of lobster, crab and shrimp rolls, two crab claws, plus a drink and chips. With microbrews offered for takeout as well, it’s like the ultimate sack lunch for adults.
Known as “the heart of the East Village,” Tompkins Square Park has improved immensely over the years. With playgrounds, chess tables, and its eclectic neighborhood surroundings, the park is a prime picnic location if you’re in the area.
Picnic Food: Westville East – 173 Ave A
Westville East gets crowded fast, so putting in a to-go order and having a picnic is the best way to sample their fresh, seasonal menu. Veggie fans will especially love this spot’s famous vegetable plates, which let you choose from an amazing assortment of in-season dishes like artichokes with parmesan, beets with goat cheese, mixed mushrooms with leeks, and green beans with almonds.
Amidst Hell’s Kitchen’s bustling and ever-changing environment, you’ll find a tranquil and charming picnic locale on a bench in De Witt Clinton Park. This family-friendly park contains sports fields, playgrounds, picturesque landscaping, and a dog run.
Picnic Food: Lunch Box – 886 9th Ave
It doesn’t get any more picnic perfect than Lunch Box in Hell’s Kitchen – a hole-in-the-wall takeout joint offering loaded gourmet sandwiches (or you can build your own), salads, bagels, pastries, and smoothies.
BATTERY PARK CITY
Head downtown for a picnic in Battery Park City– a 25-acre space at Manhattan’s southern tip. At the northern tip of BPC, Rockefeller Park’s sprawling manicured lawns make an ideal summer location for picnicking and sunbathing. If you’re there for the view, grab a bench along the Esplanade where you’ll see Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the Jersey shoreline.
Picnic Food: Inatteso Café Casano – 38 West St
No matter where you choose to picnic in New York City, be sure to gather trash and dispose of it in one of the park’s receptacles. Let’s all help keep NYC clean!
Do you have a favorite NYC picnic spot? Let us know in the comments…