One might think that the Central Park is the only park in New York City. Or at least the only one you can't cross in five minutes or less and the only place to escape the city and enjoy the nature. But that is not true. Central Park is far not the largest park in New York City.
The biggest one is called Staten Island Greenbelt, located right in the heart of Staten Island. Unlike artificial Central Park, Greenbelt is kept as much closer to its original state as possible and it is much closer to the forest than to the park. It has probably not changed too much since the time when native american indians were the only inhabitants of what is now New York City.
Although there are couple of asphalted roads used by the Department of Parks, most of the pedestrian roads there are beated paths, sometimes carefully enhanced with the wood to keep the shape and help people walk.
It is very green and there are much more birds, insects and animals living there than in Central Park. There are lakes, ponds and springs.
The Greenbelt is actually a system of connected parks, preserved by the government as part of the city planning for the only purpuse - to keep something green in the city borders. This is vital for the entire city as it is the source of clean air and oxygen.
The largest park in the system is the High Rocks Park. The most convenient way to get here is by car to its main entrance on Nevada avenue with a public parking there. There are also several other entrances: from Manor road, Cliffwood avenue and Altamont street. It is not too easy but still possible to get to the Altamont street entrance without a car. The closest Staten Island Railway station is New Dorp, around 15 minutes walk from the Park entrance. It takes around 20 minutes for the train to get there from the St George Staten Island Ferry Terminal. It is also possible to get here by bus S74 or S76 but might take longer.
There are no restaurants or cafes in the park, so tacking water, fruits or sandwitches would help for a long trip. There are many tables throught the park but you can also stay on one of the numerous glades, just don't litter as it not only polluts and damages the forest so that it would be less pleasent for you and others to come again, but also results in quite a big fine.
Entering the park, keep in mind that there are no roads there, only paths, marked with paint of different colors or emblems. Each path is colored with its own color and they all are classified with different levels of difficulcy.
The path marks are located every 20-40 feet on trees and rocks.
For the latest version of the map see the links at the bottom of the article. It is not always easy to read the path map and understand where you are, so it might be a good idea to take a GPS-enabled device the first time visiting the Park.
All paths runthroughoutthe picturesque forest. Visitor is always followed by the bird's songs, sound of rustling leaves and sun light, peeping out through the crowns of trees.
Some paths are running through the wetlands via a wooden elevated path built on top of it, others are running around beautiful lakes with wild fish and turtles and some are right next to spacious green golf fields.
It is also a great place to joggle, but it is far not that easy to do it here as for example on the boardwalk: the paths are not flat and there are roots and fallen tree branches to watch for, so joggers have to be very careful.
Read about another park in the Greenbelt System: LaTourette Park
Read more about the Staten Island Greenbelt at sigreenbelt.org
Read more about the Staten Island Greenbelt at wikipedia.org