5. Crooke’s Point (Staten Island)

Crooke’s Point is part of Great Kills Park, the end of a narrow strip of land that forms Great Kills Harbor on Staten Island. Currently undergoing habitat restoration and environmental cleanup, it’s a great spot for birding and other natural wildlife observation. There’s a sandy beach that’s partially man-made, and you can get quite close to the tip of the point by car, leaving it at the osprey viewing platform. The National Park Service also allows people to apply for a nature study permit. Crooke’s Point is named after a naturalist and businessman who owned a house here in the 19th century. The bay is man-made formed by dredging and connecting Crooke’s Point, which was previously an island.