Gantry Plaza State Park

State Park in Queens

This 12-acre riverside park directly across the water from the United Nations has gorgeous uninterrupted views of the Manhattan skyline. It's nicely designed, with public lounges for panoramic chilling, and attracts a good mix of Queens families. The restored gantries – in service until 1967 – are testament to the area's past as a loading dock for rail-car floats and barges.

Dating back to 1936, the giant Pepsi-Cola sign at the park's northern end is an icon of Long Island City. It once topped a nearby Pepsi bottling plant, which has been since demolished. This is also a handy spot for catching ferries across to E 34th St, or up to Roosevelt Island and Astoria.