Clove Lakes Park has been my favorite NYC spot for my whole life.
The fondness began when my parents first brought me to feed the ducks and ride my trike around the lake. In high school, I joined the track team and logged countless miles on the running trails. Even as an adult living in another borough, I still make it a priority to visit the park whenever I’m on Staten Island.
I love to walk on the bridge on Martling Avenue, where majestic blue herons have made their nest. The blue herons are the celebrities of the park, and you’ll often see bid watchers and urban wildlife photographers poised with large cameras on tripods. Even if the herons aren’t home, plenty of turtles will poke their heads up from the lake to say hello.
From there, I like to follow the path all the way to the edge of the park on Forest Avenue, where you’ll find the oldest and largest living thing on Staten Island: a 300+ year-old tulip tree that has been dubbed the “Colossus of Clove Lakes”. This tree is older than our country and larger than any other tree in NYC.
Walking in the park, I am reminded of my memories here, as if I had saved them like a squirrel burying a nut in the dirt. Standing at the foot of the Colossus, I gaze up to see the embodiment of over 300 years. The tall, straight trunk tapers into reaching boughs, still growing.