Editor’s Note: This look at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City is part of an occasional series reviewing the parks and playgrounds in the NYC area.
There is something to be said about parks in walking distance from your home (we have five), but I’ve always enjoyed discovering new parks in different parts of town.
It was a late Saturday afternoon, on a beautiful day, so I packed up the car and headed over to Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, specifically Gantry Plaza Spray Park. I knew the water would be off, but we were still good to go.
The playground is on the East River facing the United Nations building and slightly to the left of the giant Pepsi sign. It is very modern with lots of climbing apparatus, a handful of slides and lots of room for imaginative play. The floor is all rubberized and gets a little hot in the summer, but that is why God invented Crocs.
I like this park despite its terrible parking. It looks nice. It is spread out so kids have room to run and play. But it’s also small enough so a parent can easily keep an eye on multiple kids. And the water feature is really nice, when the lifeguard is not on a break.
Gantry Plaza State Park features
Shade – Not so much
Water feature – Yes, it looks like a marsh and there is always a lifeguard on duty.
Bathrooms – Yes, in a converted trailer right by entrance.
Sand – No.
Grass – Very little in playground itself, but there is a massive field right next to the playground.