Destination Playground: Barretto Point Park in the South Bronx
All city parks offer a respite from the concrete jungle but Barretto Point Park is truly an oasis in a desolate industrial area of the South Bronx. Located on the East River in Hunts Point, the 11-acre green space boasts incredible views, lush lawns and trees, a fishing pier and even a tiny man-made beach.
Local families flock to the park to romp in its playground, bike, skate or jog on its quiet paved paths, catch a performance at the amphitheater or swim in its Floating Pool. Although this once secret park has started to attract visitors from other boroughs, it's a serious hike from the subway and there really isn't much nearby. However, Barretto Point Park makes for a lovely outing, especially if you go when it's hosting a community celebration like this Saturday's annual Fish Parade and Summer Festival.
When you enter the main gate, you’ll find a standard playground and basketball court on your left. On your right is a long fishing pier stretching out over the river. The views of the rocky shoreline, the water and the nearby isles (including Rikers Island, which looks picturesque from afar) are stunning, and my kids always get a wonderful workout just running the length of the pier and back.
Paved pathways begin at the entrance and continue throughout the park, making it a great place for a jog, bike ride or stroll. There are open grassy areas perfect for playing catch or lounging, a small sandy beach where you can walk right up to the water (no swimming allowed, as if we need to tell you not to jump in the East River), and in the warmer months visitors can catch live entertainment at the riverside amphitheater. (My own kids put on quite the amateur show there when we last visited.) No dogs are allowed in the park and barbecuing is prohibited, however there are picnic tables. It's best to bring your own spread since, aside from the occasional food truck, there aren't any restaurants or stores nearby.
In summer, Barretto Point Park is home to the Floating Pool Lady, a seven-lane pool on a docked barge. Take the gangplank up to the facility and enjoy all the standard amenities including locker rooms, bathrooms and a pool house, right on the water. The Floating Pool opens for the season on Thursday, June 28 and is accessible seven days a week through Labor Day 11am-7pm. You can also register for free swim lessons at the pool.
Barretto Point Park is home to many annual neighborhood celebrations, notably the Fish Parade and Summer Festival and the Hunts Point American Indian Native Festival, both coming up this Saturday, June 16. It's one of our top free June festivals and features colorful costumes, cultural performances, and hands-on science and art activities.
Barretto Point Park is located at Viele Avenue between Tiffany and Barretto Streets. Take the 6 train to Hunts Point Avenue and walk (for a long time) or grab the BX6 bus to Halleck Street-Hunts Point Avenue.
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