The sun is shining, the summer breezes are blowing, and you’re off work early on Fridays. Why go to an expensive happy hour when you can gather your friends together, make your own meal, and enjoy New York City’s gorgeous outdoor spaces? It’s totally time to grill.
Next time you’re craving fresh air, good friends, and coal-fired meat, try these 10 awesome spots for legal grilling in NYC. Bring your own grill (unless we specify otherwise), and don’t forget: booze and propane aren’t welcome in NYC parks, but your pets always are!
Only a decade old, this park began its life as an illegal dumping ground before being transformed into a charming public riverside space, with a barbecue area at Lafayette Avenue and Edgewater Road.
NEW YORK HARBOR
Nothing says summer like taking a ferry to your barbecue. It’s free to use the grills on Governor’s Island for informal events, but if you’re going on the weekend, we recommend making a reservation anyway. Pay the $26 reservation fee two weeks in advance, and they’ll even give you a wagon at the ferry landing for easy supply transportation.
All the way on the eastern tip of the Rockaways, this park at Beach 17 Street is home to the only place on Rockaway Beach where you can legally bring your grill. Walk off your meal with a stroll down the boardwalk, which will take you all the way to Jacob Riis Park, if you’re up for it.
There are a few grilling areas in the newly remodeled Brooklyn Bridge Park, but the Picnic Peninsula at Pier 5 is definitely the most fun. Gaze out over the skyline as you cook on hibachi-style grills, and then enjoy your meal beneath umbrellas at massive communal tables.
Before spending the day on this Staten Island beach, set up a grill at the designated green space at the south end of Father Capodanno Boulevard and enjoy the sun. You’ll have to drive or take a bus to get there, but you’ll be rewarded with the ocean and some lovely views.
On the northwestern side of Coney Island, Kaiser Park is close enough to the water for beach lovers, but green and shady enough for everyone else. Bring a fishing line along and head out to the pier after using one of their 20 grills.
Even with 13 designated spots for BBQing, Prospect Park is so popular that its grill areas fill up quickly on the weekends, from spots sheltered from the sun in the middle of the park to picnic areas closer to the streets. The bottom line? Get there early. (Pro tip: The Nethermead spot is the most central, so head there for a better chance of snagging a spot.)
This sunny riverfront park offers a cluster of barbecue areas on its north side, some right next to the water. Watch the trains go over the Hell Gate Bridge behind the savory smoke rising from your future meal.
Half the size of Central Park, this greenspace offers beautiful views of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, the East River, and the Manhattan skyline, with old-growth trees shading you from the sun. The two barbecue areas are at the north and south sides of the park, and are best reached by car.
ANYWHERE IN NYC
It’s not legal to barbecue on your fire escape, but it is legal to do it in your backyard, whether you’ve got a tiny charcoal grill or a fancy electric one. Make sure you’re 10 feet away from the nearest flammable structure (including your apartment building) and you’re good to go.