Since we're focusing on Williamsburg this month, we'd be remiss if we didn't do a post about McCarren Park. Straddling Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the beloved 35-acre park is always filled with kids romping in the playground, playing on the ball fields and swimming in the recently renovated pool. McCarren Park also hosts many popular annual family events like free summer movies and Pumpkin Day around Halloween, so it's worth exploring in the summer and beyond.
McCarren Park is filled with amenities: the Vincent V Abate Playground, picnic tables and grassy lawns, baseball and soccer fields, basketball and handball courts, a running track, a skatepark and a recently renovated Olympic-size pool and play center.
After being closed for almost three decades, the overhauled McCarren Park Pool reopened last month and is already super popular. Drop by for a dip or register for free swimming lessons. You'll also find an outdoor volleyball court. Like all public park pools, there are a ton of rules and they are being strictly enforced. The adjacent McCarren Play Center contains board games, a couple of Ping Pong tables, exercise equipment and computers. Membership is $100 a year for adults and free for children under 18. In fall 2013, the pool is expected to transform into an ice-skating rink. To get to the pool, enter the park on Lorimer Street between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street.
McCarren Park is also home to the lovely Green Dome Garden at the corner of Driggs Avenue and North 12th Street. Here you'll find lush flowers and plants, and buzzing bees and birds. It's run by volunteers, though, and often closes without warning but it's worth seeing if it's open.
McCarren Park hosts lots of annual family-friendly events. During the summer, you can catch outdoor movies on Wednesday nights courtesy of SummerScreen (this year's offerings are best for tweens and up). Local community organization Town Square Inc. frequently presents free children's concerts in the park, plus annual fests like Pumpkin Day and the Go Green! Greenpoint Earth Day Festival. There's also the year-round Greenpoint/McCarren Park Greenmarket on Saturdays where you can pick up fresh fruits and vegetables, and baked goods, and even hear live music and try cooking demos. Be sure to check McCarren Park's event calendar to see what's going on when you visit.
While the Vincent V. Abate Playground doesn't have bathrooms, the nearby comfort station does. The pool, which is closer, has restrooms too but there's usually a long line just to enter the building.
McCarren Park is located between North 12th Street, Lorimer Street and Manhattan Avenue, and Bayard Street, Berry Street and Nassau Avenue. The closest subway stop is the G to Nassau Avenue/Manhattan Avenue.
Read about other awesome green spaces in our Playgrounds & Parks Guide.