Saturday, June 25, 2011

Manhattan skyline | Gantry Plaza State Park

Panoramic skyline of Manhattan from Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City

As a New Yorker, I have just discovered Gantry Plaza State Park only recently and I can't believe this beautiful park is just right in my own "backyard".   I have seen some panoramic pictures of Manhattan skyline and learned that they were taken from this park. This is a relatively new park having opened in 1998. It is actually located on the East River waterfront of the Long Island City community in the Queens borough of New York City. The Gantry state park has been developed in phases and the current size is now at 10 acres. This Long Island City park is projected to be 40 acres upon completion.

Gantry Plaza State Park. Check out the hammocks !

Skyline of Manhattan from Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City

On Father's Day, we drove out to Long Island City and were fortunate to find parking on the street close to the park. The park was clean with plenty of sitting areas along the waterfront and to top it off, there were several hammocks near the granite-paved plaza area. We managed to get hold of one orange hammock and took advantage of it to sun ourselves for a little while. We soon relinquished it to some kids who were eagerly eyeing it and took a walk along the waterfront promenade. The midtown Manhattan skyline was as spectacular as I expected on that sunny afternoon. We noted the Empire State building, the United Nations headquarters and the Chrysler building.  There were plenty of grassy meadow spaces for picnics and sun tanning.  A new children playground has been installed. Here we could easily see the landmark Pepsi Cola sign. The promenade section under the Pepsi sign was closed for further construction. There were several piers too with wooden lounging chairs. The gantry structures used in the past to load and unload barges onto the river were still standing. The park wasn't crowded at all when we visited.

Pepsi Cola sign in Gantry state park. New Long Island City condos are being constructed.

Long Island City piers in the Gantry state park

There are several high rises apartments around with new ones being constructed. There is the Riverview restaurant, close by with outside seatings to take advantage of the Manhattan skyline view. On Father's day, this restaurant was packed with people having brunches.

We saw some signs pointing to the East River ferry terminal. We decided to check it out. We followed the signs for about five blocks, passing some industrial buildings and also the Waterfront Crab House restaurant where we had just dined earlier in the year.  There were further signs of gentrification in the area where we saw that a new middle school has just broken ground on the waterfront side. This school is probably going to end up having some amazing Manhattan skyline views.

We reached the terminal parking lot where the parking fee is $5 for the day. We walked through the parking lot to the terminal. The ferry service is to Manhattan and Brooklyn. This was during the promotion period where the ride on the ferry was free. We waited hoping to take the ferry to midtown Manhattan but the wait was rather long. When the ferry arrived, only a few passengers were able to board. Perhaps the ferry would be back to the normal schedule when the promotion period is over.

Ferry to Manhattan and Brooklyn from Long Island City

Too bad that this year Macy's July 4th fireworks display will be on the Hudson River side. Gantry Plaza State Park would have been the perfect spot to view the fireworks over the East River.  In the past, I was only able to admire the Manhattan skyline while in transit on the Queensboro 59th Street Bridge (immortalized in Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song).  I've really enjoyed this park and hope to revisit again during the twilight hours to capture the dazzling skyline of Manhattan.


  1. What wonderful photos. I'm from Brisbane Australia and I'll definitely use this as my prime photoshoot.

    1. Thank you for your feedback ! Have a wonderful NYC visit.

  2. I too am from Brisbane Australia! Thank you for this what a beautiful park! I cannot wait to explore this area myself. I found your blog through tripadvisor and really enjoyed this.
    Now all I've got to do is research how to get there from Manhattan.
    Cheers, Coco

    1. Coco - thank you for the feedback. I hope you will enjoy the park and New York City.



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