Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, New York.

© Alex Potemkin/Getty Images

Fort Greene Park

New York City

War history and a hilly aspect make 30-acre Fort Greene Park a rewarding space to ramble. Forts from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 were retired by 1847 when this tract of land became Brooklyn's first park (a measure championed by Walt Whitman, then editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle). By 1896, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Olmsted – designers of Central Park and Prospect Park – were resculpting its rugged expanse. It's popular for its tennis courts, ball fields and playground.

At the center of the park stands the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument, at the time of its construction the world’s tallest Doric column at 149ft. Designed by Stanford White (of prominent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White), it was built in 1905 to memorialize the 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in wretched conditions in British prison ships during the American Revolution. Some of their remains are interred in a crypt beneath its base.

Particularly in summer, it's worth checking the website for kid-friendly events, historical walking tours, yoga sessions and more. If you're there on a Saturday don't miss the year-round Greenmarket featuring all kinds of fresh regional produce, held at the southeastern corner of the park. In autumn months (from September to mid-November) it's joined by an artisan market featuring locally made artwork and crafts from independent artists.

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