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The Great Outdoors

Backgammon, river views, wi-fi; there are more reasons to eat outside than just a patch of lawn.

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Balsley Park
57th St. and Ninth Ave.
Convenient to the basement cornucopia at the Time Warner Center (10 Columbus Circle), although fast walkers can pick up sandwiches at Amy’s Bread (672 Ninth Ave., nr. 47th St.) and Island Burger & Shakes (766 Ninth Ave., nr. 51st St.). Wired for wi-fi, so even workaholics can get some fresh air.

Paley Park
5 E. 53rd St., nr. Fifth Ave.
Midtown’s pioneer vest-pocket park, with an 1,800-gallon-per-minute waterfall and colorful planters brimming with tulips, all kept immaculate by a dedicated maintenance crew. The only drawback: Pint-size tables paired with normal adult chairs make it hard to do the crossword puzzle.

Greenacre Park
217 E. 51st St., nr. Third Ave.
Honey locust trees and rhododendrons, a canopy for shelter, an outdoor café, and heat lamps to ward off the chill on cool days. The tables are too short and small for setting up a laptop, but generous trash cans mean you’ll never have to look at empty soda cans.

Bryant Park
40th to 42nd St., on Sixth Ave.
Yes, it’s a fully wired park, but leave the BlackBerry behind and borrow something to read from the park’s open-air library (at the north end near 42nd Street), stocked with paperbacks, newspapers, and magazines, or rent a backgammon set and try to remember the rules.

Tudor City Park
Tudor City Pl., at E. 41st through 43rd St.
There are two spotless, generally empty public parks inside Tudor City’s gothic complex worth hunting down for their great views over Turtle Bay. Stop off at the Tudor Gourmet Deli in the Windsor Building (5 Tudor City Place, nr. East 40th St.) for a sandwich on your way.

Madison Square Park
23rd to 26th Sts., bet. Fifth and Madison Aves.
Skip the endless Shake Shack line and get a double cheeseburger and fries at New York Burger Co. (303 Park Ave. S., nr. 23rd St.). Spend the half hour you’ve saved on the swings, or watching the social interactions at the always-busy dog run.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza
55 Water St., nr. Broad St.
Hey, New York is surrounded by water! From atop the central amphitheater, you can glimpse the Brooklyn Bridge and hear the boom of a ferry horn. Pick up a slice from DaVinci Pizza Restaurant (44 Water St., nr. Warren St.).

Teardrop Park
North End Ave., nr. Warren St.
One of the few places in the financial district to see the sky unimpeded by skyscrapers. Bring an iced coffee from Starbucks (250 Vesey St., nr. North End Ave.); on sunny days, the park’s 27-foot bluestone slab is a popular dozing spot.


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