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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Francis Lewis Park: A Hidden Gem in Whitestone, Queens, NY

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Francis Lewis Park is a 16.83-acre neighborhood park in the Whitestone neighborhood of Queens, New York City. The park is named after Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.



Francis Lewis Park - Whitestone, Queens, NY 


Francis Lewis Park, Whitestone, Queens, NYC
Francis Lewis Park, Whitestone, Queens, NY 
Source: 
nycgovparks.org



History

The land that is now Francis Lewis Park was originally owned by the Matinecock tribe. In 1645, the Dutch purchased the land from the Matinecock and named it Whitestone, after a large white limestone boulder that was located on the shore. In 1765, the British granted the land to Francis Lewis, as a reward for his service in the French and Indian War. After Lewis's death in 1802, the property was owned by a number of different families, until it was purchased by the City of New York in 1937.


The park was developed in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which crosses over the western side of the park, was also built during this time. The park was named after Francis Lewis in 1939.



Good to know 

  • The park was developed in the late 1930s and early 1940s.




Facilities

Francis Lewis Park has a number of facilities, including:


  • Basketball courts: There are two basketball courts located in the park, near the 3rd Avenue entrance. The courts are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Bocce courts: There are four bocce courts located in the park, near the Parsons Boulevard entrance. The courts are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Handball courts: There are two handball courts located in the park, near the 147th Street entrance. The courts are open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Kayak/canoe launch site: There is a kayak/canoe launch site located on the eastern shore of the park. The launch site is open to the public from sunrise to sunset, from April 1 to December 1. A permit is required to use the launch site.
  • Playgrounds: There are two playgrounds in the park, one located near the 3rd Avenue entrance and the other located near the 147th Street entrance. The playgrounds are open to the public from sunrise to sunset.
  • Public restrooms: There are two public restrooms in the park, one located near the 3rd Avenue entrance and the other located near the 147th Street entrance. The restrooms are open from sunrise to sunset.
  • Spray showers: There are two spray showers in the park, one located near the 3rd Avenue entrance and the other located near the 147th Street entrance. The spray showers are open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, from May 25 to September 25.



The park is also home to a number of scenic overlooks, which offer views of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the East River.




Things to do at Francis Lewis Park

There are a number of things to do at Francis Lewis Park, including:


  • Enjoy the scenic views: The park has two scenic overlooks with stunning views of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the East River. You can bring a picnic lunch or have a snack while taking in the beautiful scenery.
  • Go for a walk or jog: The park has a number of walking paths, including a winding path that leads down to the beach. You can also jog or bike on the paths.
  • Play basketball, bocce, or handball: The park has courts for all three of these popular sports. You can bring your own equipment or rent it from the park concession stand.
  • Have a picnic: The park has plenty of grassy areas where you can spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner. There are also picnic tables if you prefer not to sit on the ground.
  • Go kayaking or canoeing: The park has a kayak/canoe launch site on the East River. You can rent kayaks or canoes from the park concession stand.
  • Play on the playground: The park has a playground with equipment for children of all ages. There is also a spray shower to cool off on hot days.
  • Learn about the history of the park: The park is named after Francis Lewis, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. There is a plaque in the park that tells about his life and accomplishments.
  • Take a boat tour: There are a number of boat tours that go past the park. You can take a tour of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge or a tour of the East River.
  • Fishing: The park is a popular spot for fishing. You can fish from the shore or from a boat.
  • Birdwatch: The park is home to a variety of birds, including ducks, geese, and herons. You can bring your binoculars and go birdwatching in the park.
  • Relax and enjoy the outdoors: The park is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. You can sit on a bench and read a book, sunbathe on the beach, or just take in the fresh air.



Things to Do in the Neighborhood

In addition to visiting Francis Lewis Park, there are many other things to do in the Whitestone neighborhood. Some popular attractions include:


  • The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge: This suspension bridge, which opened in 1939, is a major transportation link between Queens and the Bronx.
  • The Whitestone Historical Society: This museum is dedicated to the history of Whitestone.
  • Fort Totten Park: This former military fort is now a city park with hiking trails, picnic areas, and a beach.





Getting There and Making the Most of It:

Francis Lewis Park is easily accessible via the Q14 bus, dropping you right at its entrance (3rd Avenue and 147th Street). Open from sunrise to sunset, the park welcomes visitors year-round, offering something special for every season.


Pro Tip: Pack a picnic basket for a delightful outdoor lunch, bring binoculars to spot diverse birdlife, or simply settle down with a book and soak in the serene atmosphere.


Experience Francis Lewis Park and discover its captivating blend of history, nature, and urban recreation. It's more than just a park; it's a gateway to a day filled with adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable memories.




Additional Information:

  • Location: 3rd Avenue and 147th Street in Whitestone, Queens
  • Hours: Open from sunrise to sunset
  • Transportation: Accessible by Q14 bus to 147th Street and 3rd Avenue






Conclusion

Francis Lewis Park is a beautiful and historic park that offers a variety of recreational activities for people of all ages. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, Francis Lewis Park is a great option.




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