The sun reflects off the East River and paints your face as you enter Carl Schurz Park, one of the city’s most beautiful parks, which overlooks the historic Hell Gate Bridge and Wards Island. A stroll in the park could take hours as it’s kind of large – about 15 acres to be exact. The park features some beloved attractions such as the Peter Pan statue and John Finley Walk on its promenade. The waterfront promenade uniquely sits above the bustling FDR Drive and creates a soothing sight, while its other major attraction is the famed Gracie Mansion, home of the mayor of New York City.
Before Archibald Gracie Mansion became the city’s version of the White House, this landmark was the site of where George Washington once commandeered his army during the American Revolutionary War. Now the building has become the mind-center for the city as it’s entrusted to housing the mayor of the city. Some recent mayors, didn’t reside at the mansion but instead used the historic building for official meetings and events. Still, the Federal style 18-century building remains a marvel for tourists and locals alike.
As you noticed, the neighborhood is family-friendly, with its indoor pools and Peter Pan statues, but the best family attraction is something you wouldn’t think of… The Ant Farm of NYC. The Ant Farm is a petting zoo located in a basement of an apartment building. Yes, that’s right – in a basement. But the popularity has been unwavering, as the indoor urban farm’s roster includes live animals such as chinchillas, bunnies, turtles and Guinea pigs.
As you will notice, this part of the city is quite residential and laid back, so that may inspire you to be more active. That’s where Asphalt Green has become such a critical part of the fabric of this NYC neighborhood. The sports complex has become the city’s leading proponent in fitness… and it’s pretty massive. The main part of the sports center is the impressive Olympic-sized indoor pool, one of the largest in the city. Add to that sprawling outdoor fields, which actually play host to a snowman-making competition in the winter, and Asphalt Green is sure to become your go-to spot.
As mentioned, the Yorkville section of the city was a long-standing German neighborhood, and that is clearly on display when you enter Heidelberg for dinner. The decor screams “German!” with its pictures and presence of German beer steins. The restaurant is one of the oldest family-run German restaurants in the country, and the authentic menu hasn’t changed much in its 100-plus years of existence. There’s many German sausages (or bratwurst) with six types on the menu such as the krainer brand (smoked garlic) and weisswurst (veal sausage). If you are in the mood for something else, then you have your choice with Little Frog, Bar Prima, and Dorrian’s Red Hand Restaurant, all located nearby.
The bars in Yorkville are nondescript and have the old-school New York atmosphere, and if you feel like just letting loose and relaxing, then you have your choice of booze-driven, divey bars like Merrion Square and Phil Hughes Bar. There’s also Supply House, an industrial-style bar that has become a haven for live music, college students and football fans – courtesy of its spacious setting.