This gets firmly placed in the “best kept secrets” category in NYC. Located right on the East River, Waterside Plaza offers some of the most spectacular public views from Manhattan.
Admittedly, getting there is a bit of an adventure – the most straight-forward way to get there is by crossing a pedestrian bridge on E 25th St past 1st Ave over the FDR Drive, which is worth the experience in itself! This becomes a challenge in itself, because there is no ramp – lots of steps, almost like a deterrent for strollers!
(You can alternatively get there by crossing under the FDR on E 34th St then walking south, or crossing under the FDR on E 23rd St then going north)
Once you’re there, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. A vast expanse of open space, complete with tables with sun umbrellas for dining/chilling, benches for lounging, mini-gardens, several water fountains and a very excellent children’s playground, complete with water spraying fountains. Oh, and perhaps some of the best views of the East River.
But back to the children’s experience. Jackson had a blast in the kids park playing in the water. Lo and behold, it’s so inviting that mom and dad couldn’t help but underneath and through the spray.
There are two jungle gym set ups, one for the really little ones with 2 slides, plus a much bigger, extensive setup that’s meant to be used by age 5 and up. Featuring a “boat” shell, “underground” dinosaur bones, a mountain to scale, a tunnel, bridge, an walkway that alternates with bumps and dips, monkey bars, topped off by 7 slides, there’s a lot going on there. And yes, our little guy has been enjoying the latter gym setup, long before he his 2nd birthday!
You can follow the playground with a walk right by the waterside. It’s lovely.
In all, it’s definitely worth the trip.
I can imagine a fun group playdate/improptu birthday party setting where the parents pick up snacks and goodies for the little ones, then cross over to this secret world for a day worth of activities. Photos to come.