Alley Pond Park is the second largest park in Queens. The sprawling park offers playgrounds, ballfields, ponds, and picnic areas (and, yes, rundown bathrooms), but it is wonderfully wild too. When strolling on the park's hilly forest paths, you can fall for the illusion that you're in upstate New York, not eastern Queens, maybe 100 feet from the Cross Island Parkway. Plus, there's a great tennis club and New York City's largest ropes course.
Alley Pond runs from Little Neck Bay in Douglaston down to Union Turnpike in Queens Village. Running alongside the Cross Island, the park is in a valley that was created by a glacier 15,000 years ago. It's a diverse landscape of forests, meadows, and fresh and saltwater wetlands.
Alley Pond Park is broken into several sections:
- South Alley - West of Winchester Blvd, between the Grand Central Pkwy and Union Tpke, Queens Village.
- North Alley - Separated from South Alley by the Grand Central Parkway.
- Springfield Alley - East of Springfield Blvd, between 73rd and 76th Aves, Oakland Gardens. It is east of the North Alley and connected to it.
- Oakland Lake - Between Springfield and Cloverdale Blvds, south of 46th Ave, near Queensborough Community College, between Bayside and Oakland Gardens.
- Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) - Northern Blvd, just east of the Cross Island Pkwy, Douglaston.
Activities and Things to Do - Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC)
228-06 Northern Blvd, Douglaston, NY 11363, 718-229-4000
This private nonprofit, set in the park's northernmost section, offers hiking trails in a reedy marsh, and nature classes for kids and adults, including astronomy classes and stargazing.
Alley Pond Park Adventure Center
Home to New York City's largest ropes course, a zip-line, a rock-climbing wall, and balance platforms in a beautiful woodland setting. Call for group program information. For individuals and families, there are free programs for ages 8 and above on a first-come, first-served basis on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., May through November. (North Alley)
Tennis at Alley Pond Park
Alley Pond Tennis Club, 79-20 Winchester Blvd, Queens Village, 718-264-2600
Anyone driving on the Grand Central is familiar with the large white tennis bubble at the Union Tpke/Cross Island exit. In the summer, the bubble disappears for outdoor summer play. (South Alley)
The most famous is the former Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, now a beautiful biking and hiking path. The Alley Pond Park section runs from Cloverdale Boulevard between 77th Avenue and Kingsbury Avenues, to Winchester Boulevard opposite Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. Go to the parks site for a full list of trails.
This 15,000-year-old glacial pond is fed by underground springs.
Sports and BBQ
Baseball and soccer fields (baseball, football, soccer, cricket) and picnic areas and playgrounds. (South Alley, North Alley, Springfield Alley)
Directions and Map - Alley Pond Park
- South Alley: (westbound) exit 23, follow sign to Union Tpke. Left at first light onto Union Tpke. Go to the second light, turn left onto Winchester Blvd. Left into the second driveway on the left. (eastbound) Grand Central to exit 23 (Cross Island Pkwy/Winchester Blvd). Turn right on Winchester Blvd. Parking lot is on the right, across Winchester from Creedmor psychiatric hospital.
- North Alley: (westbound) Same as above, but drive past the South Alley lot and hospital. Make the next left under the highway into the park (across the street from the sanitation dept.). Follow this entry road into the parking lot. (eastbound) Same as South Alley, but make a left onto Winchester Blvd. See above for the rest.
- APEC and the northern hiking trails: Cross Island to the Northern Blvd East exit. APEC is on right side in less than a half mile.
- Winchester Blvd is the best route for reaching the other corners of Alley Pond Park.
What's Nearby and Where to Eat - Alley Pond Park
The Queens County Farm Museum is close to the park's southern tip.
From the tennis center, it's a quick drive to Floral Park's Indian restaurants. From APEC, I recommend trying resturants in Bayside.