With sunlight hours at their peak, it feels depressing and outright cruel to eat your lunch at your desk, whether you’re stuck in an office or working from home. Sure, there are plenty of outdoor restaurants and cafes but you don’t always want to spend $20 for lunch. You’re also not interested in jostling for a spot in more crowded, well-known parks like McCarren Park, East River Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. So, in order to help you get as much sun as possible this summer, we picked a few public outdoor spots where you can relax and enjoy some fresh air, along with some nearby places to grab some cheap, tasty food if you don’t feel like brown bagging it.
Coffey Street and Ferris Street, Red Hook
This Red Hook waterfront park has one of the best views of Lady Liberty. Head out to the end of the pier and pretend you’re on a boat. There’s free walk up kayaking all summer if just looking at the water isn’t cutting it for you. You can grab food from the wide selection at Fairway (480-500 Van Brunt Street) or indulge in some coffee and brownies from Baked (359 Van Brunt Street).
West Street, between Kent Street and Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint
Head out to the edge of Greenpoint for a peaceful lunch staring at the waves at perfectly manicured Transmitter Park. While in Greenpoint, you’ll have your pick of delicious treats from an endless supply of bakeries. Right down the street is quaint bakery and coffee shop Ovenly (31 Greenpoint Avenue). It’s also a great spot to catch the stare across the water at Manhattan with a sandwich from No. 7 Sub (931 Manhattan Avenue) and pity your friends stuck in offices.
McKibben Street, between Bogart and White Streets, Bushwick
Tucked between the Montrose and Morgan stops on the L, is a green space that will make you forget the cement trucks reversing all around you. There are plenty of chess tables and benches for eating, reading, or challenging your next opponent. Los Arcos (255 Bushwick Avenue) is a quick walk away with a $5 lunch special that will fill your belly with all the rice and beans you desire.
Irving Avenue, Kinickerbocker Avenue between Starr Street and Suydam Street, Bushwick
Grab an arepa from Arepera Guacuco (44 Irving Avenue) and head over to Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick. If you want to burn off your lunch, there’s plenty of fitness equipment and handball and basketball courts. If exercise is not your thing, go grab a cannoli at Circo’s Pastry Shop (312 Knickerbocker Avenue), come back to your bench and watch the skateboarders who use the park as a place to try to land perfect kickflips.
Adam Street, Court Street, Cadman Plaza West between Johnson Street and Fulton Street, Downtown
Work in Brooklyn’s bustling Downtown? On the one hand, bummer, since it means you probably have to wear a nice shirt in all this heat. On the other hand, hey, at least you can go hang out and eat at Columbus Park. Walking distance from Sahadi’s (187 Atlantic Avenue) and their delicious falafel, you might run into the occasional official proclamation being proclaimed, since you’e near Borough Hall, but you can still find a quiet spot away from the hubbub. Plus, on a quiet day you might even see borough president Eric Adams strolling by (in which case tell him “Get back to work!”).
Marcy Avenue, Tompkins Avenue, between Greene Avenue and Lafayette Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Head over to dog-friendly Herbert Von King Park and get some exercise in for your canine companion while you use the free wi-fi. Pick up a few Jamaican patties from Rowe’s (310 Tompkins Avenue), snag a picnic table, and you’ve got some fine al fresco dining. If your lunch bleeds more towards dinner, just stretch out, stick around and enjoy free SummerStage concerts and shows at the amphitheater.
200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights
Sit on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum, people watch, and feel cultured. Pick up a slice from Pete Zaaz (766 Classon Avenue) and chat up the friendly staff. If all this makes you hungry for some art, head into the museum. It’s pay as you wish everyday.
Ocean Parkway and Cortelyou Road, Ditmas Park
While it’s not a park in any tradition sense, the pedestrian path along Ocean Parkway not only offers tons of benches for you to sit on while you eat, there are plenty of trees for shade. Any one who lives near Ocean Parkway probably has a favorite spot, but we’re gonna pick the part of Ocean Parkway closest to Mimi’s Hummus (1209 Cortelyu Road). Grab a hummus and pita plate or one of their sandwich offerings, then grab a bench and people watch. Or just try to guess how far over the speed limit the cars driving by are moving.