Recreation rocks on the river | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Recreation rocks on the river

BY LAUREN PRICE  |  Restored and reimagined piers, dazzling water views, lush grassy expanses and a leg of the nation’s most heavily used bikeway are among the highlights at Hudson River Park, which has become the elegant front lawn for Manhattan’s West Side neighborhoods.

Comprised of multiple ball fields, tennis and basketball courts and myriad aquatic pleasures, the park is also home to an 18-hole miniature golf course, a children’s carousel with hand-carved wood figures of Hudson River Valley animals, a trapeze school that had Carrie Bradshaw flying through the air on “Sex and the City,” and seasonal beach volleyball.

Annual summertime events for all ages are neighborhood favorites, too. Starting July 12, kids can enjoy movies at Pier 46 at Charles St. in the West Village, while adult fare will be screened at Riverflicks at Pier 63 at 23rd St. in Chelsea.

Pack a picnic dinner for concerts at RiverRocks beginning July 11 at Pier 84 at 44th St., and, from July 14 on this same pier, you can dance the night away to some of the best bands around at MoonDance.

Pier 84 also offers the annual Blues BBQ Festival on Aug. 24, an outdoor water play area and bicycle rentals.

Hudson River Park hosts youth enrichment programs throughout the year, ranging from Riverside Rangers, in which kids explore the river’s ecosystem through discovery-based science experiments and nature-inspired crafts, to Big City Fishing –– all led by experts.

“Our educational programs are a vital resource for thousands of families and students,” said Nicolette Witcher, the park’s vice president of environment and education. “This summer, our lineup is better than ever. And we’re thrilled to be partnering with New York Hall of Science this fall to present SUBMERGE!, a free, daylong marine science festival devoted to New York City’s coastal waters that will feature noted marine scientists, interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages.” (

Summertime is a particularly active time for youth at Chelsea Piers, with 16 specialty sports camps for youths, ages 3 to 17. Programs include golf, gymnastics, soccer, ice-skating, bowling and basketball. Camps run from June 16 to Aug. 29, and enrollments range from one week to 11 weeks. Sign up before May 23 for early-bird pricing. (