New York City has a reputation for being many things, but a good place for enjoying cannabis alfresco is not one of them...despite the fact that more pot is consumed here than anywhere else on earth.
The odds aren’t exactly in the Big Apple’s favor. For starters, although a recent decriminalization bill lowered the fines for public consumption across the state, cannabis consumption remains far from legal in the city (and is disproportionately enforced against communities of color). There ain’t a lot of fun in lighting up a joint if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder.
Nor is New York City weather exactly conducive to being stoned out of doors. Summers are repulsively muggy and often douse the metropolis with the heavy scent of ripe garbage. Winters can be bitingly cold and windy. Then there’s the chaos; even quiet neighborhoods can be rendered insane by roadwork, car alarms and late-night partying.
But rest assured: despite these obstacles, New York City does in fact boast a wide array of tranquil, soothing and calm spaces that are conducive to enjoying cannabis. And as we head into the dog days of summer, when the sun remains shining after work but the vicious heat has begun to abate, there’s no better time than to catch a wonderful view or take in a breath of tranquility in an enhanced state of mind.
Here’s a list of our favorite spots to relish the effects of cannabis in New York City, each paired with a suggested strain. We welcome you to add your favorites in the comments. In the meantime, go have some fun!
1. Valentino Pier
Thanks to the lack of a nearby subway station, the quaint Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook remains largely crowd-free year-round, and that includes this wonderful pier. Offering amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, the pier has ample seating for taking a breather on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Plus, if you find yourself getting hungry, the legendary Hometown Bar-B-Que is right around the corner. Our suggested strain: the hybrid Chemdawg.
2. The Roosevelt Island Tram
Who needs Disney World when you’ve got the Roosevelt Island Tram? The ride is short, but it’s one to remember: starting from Manhattan’s Upper East Side, it zooms you over the East River (at more than 250 feet), with amazing views of the city, before gentling depositing you on Roosevelt Island itself, where you are free to wander the parks and pedestrian-friendly paths for as long as you desire. Our suggested strain: the zippy sativa Mimosa.
3. Brighton Beach
Skeptics be damned. It’s a real beach, and it’s in Brooklyn. Easily accessible by either the subway or a long bike ride on a protected path, Brighton Beach is equally welcoming and weird. Relish one of the last hot days of summer on the huge beach; the water is surprisingly warm! Find yourself in need of sustenance? Skovorodka has some of the best traditional Russian dumplings around. Our suggested strain: the soothing indica Wedding Cake (aka Pink Cookies).
4. The Cloisters
In the upper reaches of Manhattan, but also in what feels like a different universe altogether, is a bona fide medieval castle, built from imported French architecture that is in fact older than the United States itself. A popular tourist destination, it can get busy, so come right at the beginning of the day to have the dreamy garden, abundant with tulips, all to yourself, as well as the terraces that look out over the Hudson River. Our suggested strain: the ever-reliable hybrid Blue Dream.
5. Greenwood Cemetery
A good friend described Greenwood Cemetery as “the perfect getaway for the goth stoner in your life.” It’s hard to contest that one. Sprawling over nearly 500 acres, the cemetery offers a respite from city living, and is much quieter than the lovely Prospect Park, just up the street. Probably best to be avoided if cannabis can send you into a tailspin of existential worry. Otherwise, we recommend that you pay a visit to the cemetery either early morning or right before they close (currently open 7am-7pm, hours are subject to change). While you’re there, keep an eye out for the resting places of the cemetery’s many “famous residents,” including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Leonard Bernstein. Our suggested strain: the mellow, CBD-heavy Dancehall.
6. Sutton Place Park
The city recently gave this off-the-beaten-path park a makeover; now is the perfect time to check out its killer views of the 59th St Bridge. Remember the tenuous conversation between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan? Yep, filmed here. Bring a book, bring some music, chill out. Our suggested strain: the gentle hybrid Blueberry Headband.
7. The East River Ferry
Amazing views? Check. The glory of zipping around the East River, with a (legally purchased) beverage in hand? Check. The best adventure in town for the price of a subway ticket? Check. You can hop on the ferry at a ton of different locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Take a ride before fall sets in; it’s gonna get chilly! Our suggested strain: the clear-headed sativa Green Crack.
8. Brooklyn Bridge (and Park)
The Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path is a busy tourist spot for a reason: it offers wonderful views of Manhattan, and its dramatic Gothic towers provide a window into New York’s fabled past. But just steps away from the bridge itself is Brooklyn Bridge Park, a tranquil grassy space with an equally epic skyline. Our advice: mellow out with some CBD on the bridge, get some take out pizza from Juliana’s and watch the sun go down from the park. Our suggested strain: the CBD-dominant Harlequin.
9. Storm King Art City
OK, this one is a bit of a cheat: it’s an hour train ride north of the city. But it’s worth any journey. A 500 acre “outdoor museum,” Storm King presents large-scale work from some of the world’s most recognized modern artists and sculptors. Ever been to Burning Man? Imagine the insanity of the Playa, minus the sand storms and the obnoxious tech bros, plus grass and a breeze. Wait until the leaves start changing for the most vibrant experience possible. And eat the chili. Our suggested strain: dealer’s choice, you can’t go wrong here.