New York, NY: Brooklyn Bridge to Jamaica Bay
Take a different kind of backpacking trip in the concrete jungle.
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Stroll through New York City’s diverse neighborhoods and parks in this three-day, 23.5-mile route that comes complete with iconic landmarks, great people watching and a surprising amount of wildlife.
- Distance: 38.2
Location: 40.71253, -74.004644
Begin by crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge. Take in views of the Statute of Liberty, Empire State Building and Freedom Tower while weaving through throngs of tourists.
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At end of bridge, turn left onto Tillary St. and go two blocks.
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Make a right onto Flatbush Ave.
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Take in a movie or show at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).
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The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Their arena, being built here, is scheduled to open for the 2012-13 season.
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A short detour down Eastern Pkwy. takes you to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum.
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Enter Prospect Park across the street from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch. A farmers’ market is here on Saturdays. Take the footpath with hexagonal patterns engraved in the pavement, located to the left of the road for cars and bikes.
Location: 40.671085, -73.968995
Cross under Endale Arch.
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At the multi-pronged fork, make a right for camping near the Picnic House. Play catch with a football or Frisbee in the Long Meadow. On Day 2, return to the fork and cross the bridge, following the signs to the Audubon Center. Keep left at the next fork.
Location: 40.662653, -73.969378
Before an underpass, go up the steps and merge onto Center Drive.
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Climb the steps off to the left of Center Drive to arrive at Lookout Hill, an excellent spot for migrating songbirds. Then proceed down the other side of the hill and circumnavigate the lake counterclockwise, stopping occasionally to scan for turtles and waterfowl.
Location: 40.655162, -73.962613
Exit the park at the corner of Ocean Ave. and Parkside Ave.
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After walking one block on Parkside Ave., make a right back onto Flatbush Ave. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the West Indian neighborhood.
Location: 40.632819, -73.947794
Detour down Hillel Pl. and onto the Brooklyn College campus for a look at wild monk parakeets. The best place to see them is by the athletic field on the corner of Campus Rd. and E. 22nd St.
Location: 40.598884, -73.910544
Go over the Belt Pkwy., being careful to avoid merging cars.
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Enter Floyd Bennett Field, a decommissioned airport. Continue hiking in the North Forty Natural Area, go indoor rock climbing or ice skating at the Aviator Sports and Events Center, or bring your pole for saltwater fishing.
Location: 40.59482, -73.885248
Make your way down the abandoned runways and access roads to the National Park Service-run campground.
Location: 40.579595, -73.889502
On Day 3, leave Floyd Bennett Field and cross over the Marine Park-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge into Queens. Keep your eyes peeled for nesting peregrine falcons, plus views of Coney Island and Manhattan.
Location: 40.568422, -73.881989
Exit onto a bike path and loop under the bridge, hugging the shore. The dilapidated bike path eventually turns into a dilapidated sidewalk.
Location: 40.575215, -73.863366
Bang a right onto B 145th St. Then continue straight for three blocks.
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Turn left onto Rockaway Beach Blvd. Access the beach at any point for a swim, or continue toward Boarders Surf Shop (192 B 92nd St.) to rent a surfboard and wetsuit.
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Turn right on B 102nd St. and then make a quick left to remain on Rockaway Beach Blvd.
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Bear left onto B 94th St.
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Locate the pedestrian ramp for Cross Bay Bridge next to a McDonald’s. More views of Manhattan.
Location: 40.616929, -73.824448
Enter the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center on the left side of Cross Bay Blvd. Take the West Pond loop trail, watching for over 300 bird species, raccoons, horseshoe crabs and diamondback terrapins.
Location: 40.616978, -73.824711
The hike is over. Take the Q53 bus and transfer to the A subway line toward Manhattan.
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The Manhattan-side tower of the Brooklyn Bridge.
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The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the rest of the midtown Manhattan skyline, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge.
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A skyscraper in Downtown Brooklyn.
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This building, filled with luxury loft condominiums, was until recently the tallest in the borough.
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The footpath into Prospect Park, directly across from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch.
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Go through Endale Arch and into Long Meadow.
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The sign of a beautiful spring day.
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One of many fields within Prospect Park.
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Camping takes place outside of this building three times per year.
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These stairs come out at Center Drive.
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This large body of water in Prospect Park is a favorite for mute swans, ruddy ducks, northern shovelers, mallards and other waterfowl.
Location: 40.653962, -73.96804
Scan the “Three Sisters” islands for herons and egrets.
Location: 40.654955, -73.961924
The entrance to the park at Ocean Ave. and Parkside Ave.
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This building is actually a high school.
Floyd Bennett Field
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Dozens of brant, a type of goose, feed in the grasses, along with a single gull.
Location: 40.576836, -73.886919
A view from the Marine Park-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.
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A view from the Cross Bay Bridge.
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A duck-filled West Pond, with Manhattan barely visible in the background.