Sunset Park, one of the highest points in Brooklyn, stands at the corner of 43rd St. and 5th Ave. An essential resource for this crowded, working-class community, the hilly, tree-filled park boasts an art deco recreation center for indoor activities, an outdoor swimming pool (now closed for the season), handball and basketball courts, a baseball diamond and rows of game tables that are usually occupied by older people playing chess, mah-johng, checkers and go. A section known as the Rainbow Playground includes swings, slides, jungle gyms, fountains and other play equipment.
Climb to the top of the bluff and you’ll see the park’s most notable feature – its sweeping views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the East River, New York Bay, Staten Island and New Jersey. The vista once included a magnificent view the World Trade Center; when the towers were destroyed, residents gathered here to honor and remember the dead. Now this scenic area is the site of the city’s first Living Memorial Grove, a few dozen young trees protected with wire cages and surrounded by thousands of daffodils planted by local schoolchildren.
There wasn’t time to do it today, but this is the perfect place to settle comfortably on a wooden bench, kick off your shoes and watch the sun slowly sink below the horizon.