There are dozens of standard beer garden haunts for conventional types wanting to shake off the winter blues – but where can you find the best New York vintage and boho places for spring?
Feel the warm wind in your hair and the grass between your toes with our guide to outside spaces which are lush, fragrant and relaxing.
*Kick back in Paley Park at East 53rd St and 5th, before its calming waterfall, or at the other great waterfall in Greenacre Park at E51 and 3rd. Grab a sandwich from Ess-a-Bagel deli, open a copy of Kerouac’s Lonesome Traveler, put your feet up and make like the Beats.
*See how the middle-class lived in the 19th century at the Merchant’s House Museum and enjoy the plants, nature, peace and quiet in its back garden. Built in 1832, it is the only home from the period in New York that survives intact, with original furnishings, decoration and objects d’art.
*Hire a vintage bike from Landmark Bicycles for $35 per day and cycle round Manhattan island next to the water on the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. It’s a 32-mile trip round the whole island, but if you fancy an easier ride, just do a section and stop off at the many cafes and restaurants on the way, such as the Boat Basin Café, which reopens in spring.
*When Governors Island reopens on May 24, a further 30 acres of park will be available to the public, including 50 double hammocks for lounging around in. There are also heritage buildings and cute shops to wander round, as well as food stalls and picnic areas. Get the ferry from Battery Maritime Building on Manhattan or Pier 6 in Brooklyn (free before noon, $2 after).
*Now it’s warmer, take a walking tour with a vintage theme – ‘Satan’s Seat: New York During Prohibition’, ‘Official Gangs of New York’ and ‘Historic Harlem’ are just a few of the tours you can do with Big Onion Walking Tours for around $20.
*The 1929 lightship Frying Pan reopens in spring for fun on the water. Buy your food and drink at Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill next to the vessel and consume it al fresco at one of the many tables on deck. Landlubbers will love its great steampunk vibe, especially its exposed engine room.
*Take your sketchpad or watercolors to the tiny Minetta Green park – a memorial to Minetta Creek, which used to run through area. As it’s so small, it’s rarely busy so it’s the perfect place to escape from the crowds on 6th Ave by drawing the lush vegetation and decorative stone urn.
*Breathe in the sweet scent of spring by walking beneath the riot of cherry blossoms in Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Boughs heavy with the velvety pink petals line the water at the tranquil Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, Cherry Esplanade and Cherry Walk.
*Sup a cocktail on the roof of the historic Jane Hotel, which was built in 1906 as a lodging house for sailors and famously took in the survivors of the Titanic in 1912. It’s now a boutique hotel with a very nice, small roof terrace overlooking the Hudson, which is attached to a spectacular octagonal room with lounge chairs and a bar.