Saturday morning’s weather was beautiful – aside from the six inches of melting slush on the ground. Friday’s disgusting snowfall had left its mark, but fortunately Saturday’s warm weather quickly melted the majority of the snow and made for a nice, if wet, morning. Our friend Chris was coming into the city for a big rugby tournament on Randall’s Island. I know absolutely nothing about rugby, but I couldn’t pass up an excuse to head to Randall’s Island to check out what it had to offer – besides Governor’s Ball – and bask in the first sunny-ish day of spring.
The trip to Randall’s Island is an easy one from my neighborhood on the Upper East Side – there’s a pedestrian foot bridge at 103rd St. and First Avenue. Since it was a relatively nice day, we decided to walk the 15 blocks. We got to the bridge in about 20 minutes, and headed up and over the East River. The views from the bridge and once you’re on Randall’s Island are both pretty fantastic – you have a great view of upper Manhattan and a clear view of Queens, too. On a sunny day, it’s quite a site with the sun shining off of the river. Definitely worth a trip on a nice afternoon if only for that.
The part that was really surprising to me was just how big Randall’s Island really is. I imaged a small little floating island in the middle of the East River with not much more than a footpath and a few fields. I was dead wrong. The island itself has a “track & field facility…a renovated golf center, nine acres of restored wetlands, a 20-court tennis center, more than 60 playing fields and miles of waterfront bike and pedestrian pathways,” according to the official NYC Parks website. Even during our brief visit, it was clear the parks and fields get a lot of use – many people were also enjoying the nice weather and jogging or biking along the paved paths around the island’s exterior.
My suggestion would be to wait for a little bit warmer weather, or for Governor’s Ball for a true excuse, but Randall’s Island is definitely worth the visit. It’s also a fun, free excursion in New York, which is a rarity. Though it’s not a destination for anything specific, it’s a nice place to get outside, enjoy the city, and a nice change from Central Park.