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Free Parks: A Friendly Guide for Roosevelt Island Open Spaces


Yes, Roosevelt Island’s got parks, playgrounds, ball fields and promenades, more so than just about anywhere else in New York. And with fair weather and rising temperatures gliding in over the next week, it’s good for your health. Get out and enjoy our green space.

We’re all in on social distancing to protect health during the coronavirus crisis, but that doesn’t mean hibernating.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released firm guidelines to help us navigate the coming weeks. But while the media focused on the “don’ts,” the governor included some important dos.

Especially getting outdoors for some exercise and fresh air. Exercise is healthy to begin with, but now, it has the added advantage of getting us away from the news.

The news is not changing, and no amount of watching makes it better. Turn off that TV and get into the green.

Roosevelt Island’s Got Parks, Parks and More Parks

Among Roosevelt Island‘s many advantages, one of the best is that many of us can barely get out the front door without finding a park steps away.

They’re open, and they’re free, and RIOC along with the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy work hard to keep them safe and their facilities clean.

Hike Four Freedoms Park
FDR Four Freedoms is perfect for a solitary walk or a jog. Easy to keep your distance. See Four Freedoms Park Guide
Kite Flying in Four Freedoms

For kids and adults, the meadow in Four Freedoms Park is great for kite flying and other solo sports.

Complimenting the serene stretch of FDR Four Freedoms Park is Southpoint, a natural setting that also serves as an entrance to acres of green space.

Southpoint Park Trail
Shown here last summer, Southpoint features broad walkways, shady areas and natural settings.

Cool damp weather kept these parks relatively empty during March, but there’s plenty of places for kids to play safely and for the rest of us to relax at a distance.

The same is true for Lighthouse Park where the rolling meadow remains mostly empty as runners circle by.

Related's Roosevelt Island ignorance exposed.
Lighthouse Park pokes its rocky shore into Hell Gate.

Not just parks, Roosevelt Island’s got ball fields, playgrounds and promenades…

Although RIOC decided to close soccer fields, the state agency left most public spaces open. More than that, crews work daily to keep things clean, and public safety officers are on patrol.

To its credit, RIOC and its 80 or so onsite employees make a difficult task under challenging conditions look easy.

Contact sports are out, but the hoops are still up in courts along the East Promenade. And Blackwell Playground and Al Lewis Park are open.

Capobianco Park and Pony Field welcome games of catch and open air yoga.

Cherry Blossoms, Roosevelt Island, West Promenade
Cherry blossoms are in season all along the promenades, north and south.

Roosevelt Island’s full circle of riverside promenades offer unique opportunities to run, stroll and walk the dog. They’re broad enough that social distancing is easy, and plentiful benches allow for contemplative skyline viewing.


We are blessed on Roosevelt Island. Plentiful green space awaits. In parks. Playgrounds. Ball fields and promenades.

The current crisis will pass, and it does so more easily here on Roosevelt Island.

Make the best of it.

And don’t forget to wave “Hello.” We may be six feet apart, but we’re all still friends in a community of good neighbors.

By David Stone


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