2. Grand Ferry Park, Williamsburg

Grand Ferry Park in Brooklyn, former site of a Pfizer molasses plant

Grand Ferry Park in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn is like a little slice of the beach on the East River, complete with sand! In addition to the great views of Manhattan, there’s a charming little door at the base of the smokestack (which formerly serviced a Pfizer factory) etched with some park facts. The name of the park comes from a ferry service, the Grand Street Ferry, established in 1802 by one of Williamsburg’s early notable figures, Richard Woodhull, that went from this point on Metropolitan Avenue to Corlear’s Hook on the Lower East Side. The ferry went out of business in 1918 and the land turned into an unofficial park using recycled materials in 1974, according to the New York City Parks Department.

Grand Ferry Park officially opened in 1998, after the land was transferred to the parks department and a second renovation was completed in 2008. When the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment is completed, Grand Ferry Park will be connected to a long waterfront esplanade, along a new street that has yet to be built – River Street.