East River State Park

The irony of the Manhattan skyline is that you can’t see it when you’re in Manhattan: you have to be in New Jersey, Brooklyn, or Queens. It’s a striking view that many short-term visitors to the city don’t get.

On the Brooklyn side, one of your options for a prime skyline view is East River State Park, in northern Williamsburg. It bumps up against the slightly more northerly and deceptively-named Bushwick Inlet Park, which includes an athletic facility; by contrast, East River State Park is an empty expanse of lawn dotted with picnic tables and playground equipment… unless you’re there in the summer, in which case it’s home to the bustling food truck market Smorgasburg.


Regardless of the season, there’s the Empire State Building standing out from the buildings around it. It may not be the tallest building in Manhattan anymore, but it’s surely the most dramatic considering its surroundings. (Unfortunately, the Chrysler Building is lost in this view.)


You also get a nice clear view of the Williamsburg Bridge, connecting Brooklyn with the Lower East Side.


Sunny skies and empty picnic tables not guaranteed.


Location: Between N 7th St and N 9th St and west of Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Nearest Public Transit: L at Bedford Av; G at Nassau Av
Cost: Free