Where to Eat:
If you asked ten New Yorkers for their favorite picnic spot, you'd likely get ten different suggestions: the idyllic greenery of Central Park, the manicured waterfront views at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1, the great adirondack chairs of Long Island City's Gantry Plaza State Park. But you can ignore them. Because the best picnic spot in NYC, hands down, is at Louis Valentino Jr. Park & Pier, in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The little waterfront enclave was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, but has rebounded like the champ it is (the neighborhood was, after all, the inspiration for Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront).
Where to shop:
If you steer clear of the area's Ikea chaos (easy to do), you can stroll down the main strip of Van Brunt Street picking up picnic necessities like brownies from Baked, from Fairway Market, and then grabbing frozen, chocolate-covered key lime pies on a stick from Steve’s before heading over to Valentino Park for your feast. The small swath of green, with its own fishing pier, boasts quite possibly the city's best view: a 180-degree panorama of the New York Harbor, starring Lady Liberty. —Billie Cohen