Earlier this month, WNYC put together a crowdsourced map of the best sledding spots in New York City. Anyone with a camera and a computer could tag a hill for the benefit of all. In that spirit, we offer our five favorite sledding areas throughout the five boroughs. By Jessica Allen.
Cloves Lake Park
How steep are the hills at Cloves Lake Park, in Staten Island? So steep that rangers set up hay bales to prevent sledders from zooming into traffic, a la Clark Griswold. So steep that this area is the borough’s official sledding spot. Sure, it’s a doozy. And, as you’d expect, it’s pretty popular. This park also boasts one of Staten Island oldest living things: a tulip tree that’s been around for three centuries. Think about that as you climb back to the top for one more ride down.
The city’s very own Department of Parks and Recreation recommends Highbridge Park, among a handful of others, for sledding. Located next to the city’s oldest standing bridge, this park has a significant hill near its baseball fields, perfect for your red riders and polished gliders. When you’ve had your fill of sledding, take yourself to the tropics by visiting one of the Dominican or Caribbean restaurants for which Washington Heights is known.
Owl’s Head Park
Brooklyn boasts plenty of good sledding, including the hills in Prospect Park and Fort Greene. But we like Owl’s Head Park, in Bay Ridge. A long hill makes for a long walk back to the top, but it also means you can get some good speed as you cruise past trees (and whomever is making the trek back up). No one really knows how the park got its name: the land may have once been shaped like an owl, or perhaps owls once made their home here.
Just north of the 72nd Street entrance off of Fifth Avenue is Pilgrim Hill, Central Park’s number-one sledding spot. You’ll get a quick, smooth, gentle ride that’s perfect for the very young and not-very-adventurous. Other good spots in Manhattan’s largest park included the hill at the Conservatory Garden (near 106th and Fifth) and Cedar Hill (near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, between 76th and 79th Streets).
Shoelace Park offers tremendous sledding along the slopes between 220th and 230th streets at Bronx Boulevard. When you’re not there to sled, you can walk along the Bronx River Greenway, what will someday be a continous 23-mile-long path (and 633 acres of park) along the Bronx River in Westchester County and the Bronx. The folks working on this project, and maintaining the parks that link it, seek to restore and rejuvenate the river and its environs.