Pier into the park!
The prettiest of the stops on the South Brooklyn ferry line is at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six. You step off of the ferry and straight into a verdant, peaceful oasis — and the activities available in the park make it an ideal spot for anyone’s summer day out.
The little ones have much to get excited about — this section of the park is a huge playground, with themed areas divided by beautiful tall hedges, and the ground is soft and bouncy throughout to protect tender knees from inevitable falls. Right out of the ferry gates is Swing Valley, a winding path filled with an astounding assortment of swings, and Slide Mountain, which offers a multitude of slides and towers that range from mild to vertigo-inducing. And most welcome during a hot July afternoon is the Water Lab, where kids can run through fountains that spray from all directions — swimming gear is recommended. Tempting as the water may be for adults, it is just for the kiddos — anyone over the age of 12 should be accompanied by a child.
Directly opposite the water features you will find the well-known wood-fired pizza place Fornino. This branch of the Brooklyn mini-chain distinguishes itself with a ground-floor patio and a second-floor terrace. Either is an ideal spot for summer drinks and dinners in the open air — the feel is very beach bar resort.
And speaking of beaches — there are three Beach Volleyball Courts right next to Fornino. You can watch a match from the rooftop, or wander down and work off your pizza calories with a quick beach-volley skirmish. The courts sometimes host league play, but at least one court is usually open for first-come, first served games — just bring your own ball!
To cool down after the match, keep walking down the pier towards the river, where you will find winding paths among an immaculately kept flowering esplanade. The area is yours to tread and explore, with occasional benches to sit and relax, and at the edge of the pier you will find big, coin-operated binoculars with which to spy on the folks of lower Manhattan.
And if you really want to sprawl out, you can wander towards the Brooklyn Bridge and explore the newly opened Pier 5 Uplands, a lush sloped meadow with a shady grove of trees for relaxed daytime lounging.
New York City Ferry at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six (Atlantic Avenue at Furman Street in Brooklyn Heights, www.ferry.nyc). $2.75 per trip.