NEW YORK CITY — New York City's neighborhoods have no shortage of interesting streets to stroll, parks to explore and cultural exhibitions to peruse.
Go North: Gardens in Upper Manhattan
Take the A northbound almost to the end of the line (the 190th Street stop) and walk through Fort Tryon Park, designed by Frederick Olmstead Jr., son of the landscape architect responsible for Central Park.
Stop in at the Cloisters ($25 suggested donation includes same-day admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art), a treasure trove of medieval European art dating as far back as the 12th century. The building and its accompanying cloistered gardens are themselves part of the museum's 2,000-piece collection.
Stop for a break and sit under the covered arcades lining the walkway of the medieval French section before heading back to the park and searching out the vibrant, colorful heather garden.
If you've worked up an appetite, get lunch, dinner or even just a snack and a cocktail at the New Leaf Bar and Restaurant in the park. The restaurant, whose menu items are "inspired by local green markets," according to its website, dates back to the 1930s, but had fallen into disrepair until it was renovated and re-opened in 2001.
The Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Dr. in Manhattan, take the A train to 190th Street. Open 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. daily. New Leaf Bar and Restaurant, 1 Margaret Corbin Dr. in Manhattan, 212-568-5323. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The Perfect Queens Date
DNAinfo's own Katie Honan recommends starting at the museum's Panorama of the City of New York to spot your favorite parts of the Big Apple in miniature, before wandering into the park to find remnants of the 1964 World's Fair.
Check out the Unisphere outside the museum, a monument to "Peace Through Mutual Understanding" (maybe a good stop for couples in an argument), the two UFO-like structures to the right, which were featured in the movie "Men in Black," and the restored carousel near the exit.
Walk up to Van Doren Street for some empanadas at Empanadas del Parque, a tiny little trapezoidal corner store serving delicious empanadas, for $1.50 or $2.00, made from white flour, corn flour and whole grain flour, and stuffed with everything from spicy ground beef to plantains and cheese.
Continue onto 108th Street and pick up ices at Lemon Ice King of Corona, then watch bocce being played at the Italian flag-adorned William F. Moore Park, also known as Spaghetti Park, at 108th Street and 52nd Avenue.
Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, 718-592-9700. Open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Empanadas del Parque, 56-27 Van Doren Street in Flushing, Queens, 718-592-7288. Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Lemon Ice King of Corona, 52-02 108th St. in Queens, 718-699-5133. Open daily, 10 a.m. to midnight.
A Taste of Old New York in The Bronx's Little Italy
Stroll along Arthur Avenue, scoping out the stores and denizens of the city's "real Little Italy," with a stop for lunch under the airy skylight in Zero Otto Nove, one of the city's most old-school classic Italian restaurants.
Zero Otto Nove, 2357 Arthur Ave. in the Bronx, 718-220-1027. Open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 4:30 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to 11 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Sundays. Closed Mondays.
The 'Surprisingly Pleasant' Newtown Creek Nature Walk in Greenpoint
This is an ideal date for the urban planner in your life, or the person who is interested in how the city deals with waste.
This quarter-mile walk was designed by environmental sculptor George Trakas, and is described on the Department of Environmental Protection's website as "a good place to explore and learn about wastewater treatment, harbor water quality, and the history of New York City."
The website also offers a printable guide for a scavenger hunt, geared toward school children but no less fun for intrepid adults.
We inquired as to whether the walk is marred by the notoriously unappealing smell of the creek, which is one of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund sites, and were informed by New York resident Sam Silver that the "approach is a bit gnarly but the actual walk is really pleasant and nicely planted."
Caveat: Silver suggested it's a better call for a second date than a first.
Afterward head to the nearby Long Island City outpost of West Village staple The Corner Bistro, where the burgers are deliciously affordable and there are 12 frothy beers on tap.
Newtown Creek Nature Walk, at the end of Paige Avenue near Provost Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Directions here. Open daily from dawn until dusk, weather permitting. The Corner Bistro 47-18 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, 718-606-6500. Open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m, and Sundays noon to 4:00 a.m.
From Flea Market to Museum, 'Mini Pools' to Waterfront
If it's a particularly steamy day and the mini pools just aren't cutting it, head over to the Museum of Modern Art outpost at P.S. 1 for some air conditioning and contemporary art, until it cools down enough for a sunset stroll through Gantry Plaza State Park in Hunter's Point.
Hang a left at the Pepsi-Cola sign to get to the surprisingly comfortable wooden chaise lounges along the Esplanade, where you can recline and take in some pretty majestic views of the Manhattan skyline and move in for a make-out session.
P.S. 1, 22-25 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City, Queens, 718-784-2084. Open noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. LIC Flea, 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, 718-866-8089. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays only. Gantry Park, entrance on Fifth Street between 46th Avenue and 46th Road.