New York City may be a concrete jungle, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy nature. Tomorrow is National Picnic Day, and what better way to enjoy the newfound warmth and sunshine after a long winter than a picnic with friends? For a successful picnic, try these tips.
The best foods for picnics are those that do not require extra dishes or utensils. Sandwiches are effortless to make and easy to handle, and they do not have to be as boring as a cheese sandwich on white bread. Try a fresh mozzarella, plum tomato and basil sandwich with a drizzle of olive oil on ciabatta bread, or ham and brie with apple slaw on a toasted baguette. Pair your sandwiches with pita chips and hummus, a few pieces of fresh and in-season fruit, and a take-out box of Hayden cookies. Pack cold bottles of lemonade and iced tea to drink. On particularly hot days, make sure to bring along some cash so you can grab soft serve ice cream from the closest Mister Softee truck. Pack it all up in a wicker basket from Chelsea Market Baskets that can double as dorm room storage when not in use.
When packing your picnic basket, make sure you have all the right utensils. If you will be serving something that is not finger food, bring along paper plates, plastic forks and serving spoons. Pack napkins and wet wipes to take care of any messes. If you do not have a picnic blanket or quilt, use an extra bed sheet or have everyone bring their own large beach towel. Don’t forget to pack the fun extras, too. If you are going to be in a large area, bring along a Frisbee or soccer ball for a friendly pickup game. Create a playlist of your favorite songs beforehand and make sure your wireless speakers are charged. Of course, someone should have a camera or phone on hand to document the Instagram-worthy memories.
There are plenty of picturesque picnic spots in the city. Perhaps the most classic of these is Sheep Meadow in Central Park. A large green lawn surrounded by trees, Sheep Meadow offers plenty of space, both in the sun and in the shade. If there were not views of skyscrapers peeking over the tree line, it would be easy to forget that the spot is still in the city at all. Running short on time? Find a spot to spread your blanket in Washington Square Park. The new playground in the southwest corner of the park makes for plenty of interesting people watching. For a change of pace, take a ferry out to Governor’s Island for the afternoon. Picnic Point, a spot on the southern tip of the island, offers hammocks, swings and unparalleled views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Governor’s Island reopens for the summer on May 24, and the Governor’s Island Ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South St.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 22 print edition. Bryna Shuman is features editor. Email her at [email protected]