The Best Outdoor Reading Spots in NYC

Summer time!

What are some of your favorite outdoor #ReadingSpotsNYC?

In NYC, we're lucky enough to have incredible public transportation.  We can sit on our butts and travel around town while reading.  The journey can become the destination quite easily. 

The city is filled with parks and waterfronts.  The parks are filled with benches.  Let's go!


Prospect Park / Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Pavilion at the Japanese Garden
Annual membership to the BBG?  Prospect Park itself has wonderful places to read, but the BBG is a spectacular place.

Plenty of benches at the Overlook. Look down at the Cherry trees & Rose gardens.
Cherry Esplanade.

Coney Island/Brighten Beach, Brooklyn

Hey, guess what?  There's actually an ocean nearby!  If you like dawn adventures, go there early and enjoy a fantastic morning.  Crowds probably won't arrive until 10-11am.

Enjoy the OCEAN breeze on the historic pier (with Russian & Chinese retirees trying to catch fish).
Beach towel or not, there's plenty of ocean seating.    I enjoy the end of the pier.
You'll also find several pavilions along the beach.

Riverbank & Riverside, Manhattan

Riverside Park, Hudson River Park, and Riverbank State Park offer many places to sit and enjoy life with a book.  I personally love the uptown views of the George Washington Bridge and the Palisades.


Great benches and regular kite flying (attempts)!

Gantry Plaza State Park, Queens

Across from the United Nations is this park with spectacular views of Manhattan.  There's also the East River State Park in BK with a similar view.
Claim your seat under the willows!
From here, you gaze across waters at the UN and  Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Ramble down romantic Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights to the promenade with its incredible views of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.  One of the greatest views on the planet.

These benches are prime real estate!

Central Park - Upper Half

The upper half of Central Park tends to be much more quiet and relaxed than the lower half.

Harlem Meer 
Off-hours, the benches around the meer make for a peaceful time. 

The Conservancy

There's a reason this garden is one of the top spots in the city for wedding photos (lol).  Nonetheless, you can find plenty of corners to read yourself into bliss.
One of the most romantic places in the city.

Shhhhhhhh....
The Pool & the North Woods Loch

The Pool always offers a fine reading getaway.  If you're really looking to escape, then explore the North Woods and the calming waterfalls hidden within!


Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond, Shakespeare Garden

The castle makes for superb tourist watching.  Poke around the western side to find quiet corners and benches in the Shakespeare Garden.  Or go lay out on the great lawn above Turtle Pond!

You can find a quiet spot near the Castle or just sit on the vista.

Central Park - Lower Half

If you love the background energy and buzz of international tourists, then grab a bench on the Mall.
Explore the quiet brambles or just grab a bench somewhere.  Anywhere. :)


NY Botanical Gardens, Bronx 

Take the Metro-North Harlem line or cross over from Manhattan on the BX19 bus.  See their website for additional travel options.  It's a very large place with many spots to read.  A nearby zoo, too!

This place is massive with lots of spots to hide away.

Park on that bench under the bridge or wander over to the waterfall.
This may be the best argument for annual membership!


Morningside Park, Manhattan

Waterfall, ducks, and a looming Cathedral.

Inwood Hill Park - Where Eagles Roam

Did you know that bald eagles nest at the northern tip of Manhattan?  This park is a gem.  The northeastern section is great for plopping on a bench.  You may also want to adventure around (or over) the hill to the Hudson.
This quiet tip of Manhattan makes for a great escape.  Also investigate the local cafe.
The Hudson side of the park offers great views of the GWB and beyond.

Queens Botanical Gardens & Flushing Meadows

Grab the 7 train for a great adventure.  Hop off at Flushing Meadows or continue to the end, then walk down Main Street to the Botanical Gardens. Nearby zoo and museum.

The grounds of Flushing Meadows offer lots of benches and views.
The QBG offers quite a few enjoyable spots to sit.
I'm linking this image from gothamist.com
* Photos taken on an iPhone, sometimes using the Pro HDR and Pano apps.