After the first snow day of the year, Riverdale students’ thoughts have all been on winter weather and the joys it brings, such as no school, hot chocolate, and, of course, sledding. Although New York City is an urban environment, there are plenty of parks throughout the city which are great places to spend snowy afternoons.
Beginning with Riverside Park, located on the Upper West Side, there is a great hill on 73rd and Riverside Drive which I have enjoyed sledding down since the first snowfall I can remember. The hill has a steep enough incline that allows for a fun ride as well as an easy trek back up in between runs. However, if you live across town, Carl Schurz Park on 88th and East End Avenue is also a great place to go. The hill there is definitely steep and thrilling to ride down; it’s right next to Gracie Mansion, so you might just run into the mayor while you’re there! Lastly, if you’re meeting with a group of friends in Manhattan, Central Park is a great location for people coming from all over to meet. Not only is Central Park conveniently located for many, but it has many different hills to ride and explore throughout the park. Pilgrim Hill is one of Central Park’s steepest and most popular spots; the closest entrance is on 72nd and Fifth Avenue. You can spot it by looking for the statue of a pilgrim at its peak. If you’re sledding with younger siblings, Cedar Hill, near 78th and Fifth Avenue is a great place for little kids because it is not super steep and less crowded.
In Brooklyn, Prospect Park’s expansive grounds are great for sledding, although the best spot is near the Tennis House at Prospect Park West and 9th Street. Not only is Prospect Park great for sledding, but some even say it’s a great place to go skiing, so if you’re up for a snow day adventure, head over to Brooklyn! Also in Brooklyn, Fort Greene Park on Willoughby Avenue is a very family friendly location with a wide open field.
You can head over to Astoria Park in Queens for an incredibly unique sledding experience with views of the East River. However, if you’re looking for a more traditional sledding experience in Queens, Forest Park has fabulous sledding, especially for families. One of their best hills is located right by the Mary Whelan Playground, a convenient spot for families and teenagers who can’t resist their inner toddler.
Practically in our own backyard, Van Cortlandt Park certainly offers plenty of sledding opportunities, although most of the hills have a gradual incline. A bit further south, Ewen park, also in the Bronx, is a popular spot for sledding because it has stairs for climbing back up the hill. Finally, Crotona Park has a nearly perfect hill behind baseball field 3, and it is also one of New York City’s designated snow day parks, which means that sometimes you can find organized recreational activities, snowman-building contests, snowball fights, complimentary hot chocolate, and even sleds you can borrow there.
There are so many different places to go sledding in New York City that you really can’t go wrong as long as you’re wearing plenty of layers and are surrounded by great company.