Once a shipping dock and now a neighborhood park, East River State Park is a surprising find in north Brooklyn. This is not your typical state park with lots of greenery, trails, and quiet spaces. Instead, this park is quietly recovering from its industrial past. Small trees and a few flower gardens make up most of the nature you'll find in this park. Picnic tables line a broad walkway where people sit with their laptops and take advantage of the (weak, but free) Wi-Fi. Long, concrete slabs and pieces of railway remain in the park as a reminder of how far this place has come.
The highlight of East River State Park is the small stretch of waterfront it protects. A narrow, sandy beach displays an equal number of bird tracks and human footprints. Piles of boulders along the shoreline harbor numerous aquatic creatures and seaweed. People pile up on the beach wall to capture pictures of sunset and the Manhattan skyline.
For kids, there's a variety of wooden play structures that foster creative play. They are a far cry from the plastic and coated metal playgrounds common in most city parks today. The beautiful wooden train, wobbly bridge and spring-supported platforms are even fun for adults to play on.
On weekends, the park hosts a food market called Smorgasburg. Wander through the park between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to feast on foods and beverages from over 75 vendors. In addition, there are several events held in the park throughout the year. Check the events calendar to see what's coming up.