Gantry Park in New York City, is one of America's most beautiful urban waterfront parks. It is probably the perfect place to view the Manhattan skyline, take fantastic photos, and spend a moment savoring the magnificence of New York.
Officially known as Gantry Plaza State Park, it is located on the banks of the East River, directly facing Manhattan. The view of the skyline from the park is unobstructed and absolutely breathtaking, with just the tidal strait of the East River flowing between the two. As you look out from the park, the skyscrapers of NYC rise majestically before your very eyes, and stand as if framed by the heavens above, the river below, and the periphery of your vision on either side.
Although in Manhattan, there was once the 107th floor observation deck of the World trade Center before it fell on 9/11, there are still the observation decks of the Empire State Building (84th and 102nd floors) and the Rockefeller Center (70th floor), and there is the soon to be 'One World Observatory' some 102 stories high in the new World Trade Center expected to be completed by 2015, there are many who believe that the beauty of the skyline is probably better seen when looking in from outside. Unknown to many, especially tourists, are the ideal locations around the island of Manhattan where this beauty could be better observed. Included among these location is the Brooklyn Bridge, which though built to provide a crossing, has for sometime now become a great skyline viewing spot. Hamilton Park in Weehawken, New Jersey is another great location, as is Liberty State Park. Other spots include the ferry boats that sail around the city, and the Staten Island Ferry en route to Manhattan. Gantry Park however, is more than just a skyline viewing spot. It was designed from the ground up with the skyline in mind, so it provides not just a perfect view but also the perfect environment for viewing, taking pictures and being fully absorbed by this phenomenal architectural panorama. As you view the skyline from the Gantry Park setting of tranquility and clarity, the broad range of towering structures line up almost perfectly before your very eyes, and seem to co-exist harmoniously, a far cry from their somewhat discordant appearance when viewed from other locations around the city including the grounds of Manhattan.
Equally amazing is that the Gantry Park view of the skyline never seems to fail you. In fact, it is almost always spectacular from the park, regardless of the time of day. On mornings, as the sun rises over the city, the buildings seem to spring to life, creatively reflecting the sun's light both in their surroundings and in the mirrorlike surface of the East River. On evenings, as the sun goes down, the sunset flirts with the skyline to masterfully render urban architecture against one of nature's most artistic settings. In the night, as the lights of city are turned on, the park and the skyline work hand in hand to create a romantic ambiance under the New York moonlight.
Gantry Park is also a photographer's dream, with some of the best angles for taking remarkable shots of the skyline by itself, and of visitors to the park with the skyline in the background. Small wonder that the park has now become a popular choice for prime-time movie sets, and photo shoots such as weddings and sweet sixteen celebrations.
In addition to the views of the city, the park itself is an amazing oasis of tranquility. Whether you are in the mood for a stroll through its gorgeous piers or a quiet sit on the banks of the river, you will cherish the moments that you spend 'in the gantries'. And if you would like to take the notion of relaxation to another level, feel free to loose yourself one of the park's breezy hammocks on any warm summer day.
Indeed there are very few places in New York from which you can get a beautiful and unobstructed view of the skyline and probably none where the view and the ambiance is better than Gantry Park. It is a beautiful and relaxing environment where you can sit and enjoy without a time limit. What makes it even more remarkable is that it does not make a dent in your pocket as there is no entrance fee to this one of a kind state park.
For those who would like to experience the splendor of the New York skyline from the grounds of this jewel on the East River, it's also very easy to get there. By subway, take the 7 train from Grand Central Station. It's the first stop less 5 minutes away. And for those who prefer to use another means of transport to get there, go to Getting there. For more information on the park, including maps, tours, restaurants, photos, videos, activities and events, use GantryPark.com as your guide.