Compared to the other waterfront parks of Western Queens, Rainey Park flies under the radar. It’s not as large as Astoria Park, nor as fancy as the LIC waterfront, but Rainey Park has something special. It is compact and sunny, a communal gathering spot that has been absolutely essential since the pandemic. The best way I can describe it is to say that when you step into Rainey Park, it feels like you have been welcomed into the shared backyard of Astoria residents.
You’ll see runners jogging along the waterfront path, kids climbing the little rock-wall in the playground, and families enjoying a cookout picnic on the shaded lawn. Dog owners bring their pups to play fetch, and the basketball court always seems to have someone shooting hoops. This park slopes gently into waterfront views of Roosevelt Island, the East River, and Upper Manhattan. I love to bring a couple of lawn chairs, some friends, and enjoy a good book with river breezes in my hair.