2. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn, New York
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Recollections of when New York was seriously sketch usually involve a mention of shady dealings at Brooklyn Waterfront, where abandoned warehouses and factories became a haven for crime post-deindustrialization. These days, it’s an 85-acre urban oasis, spanning 1.3 miles along the East River’s edge. Its green spaces include playing fields, sports courts, playgrounds, lawns, a roller rink and boat launching site, and there are plans to integrate two historic properties, the Civil War-era Empire Stores and the Tobacco Warehouse, into the site. These days? The biggest danger at the waterfront is being jostled by a kid at the antique, year-round fixture, Jane’s Carousel.