by Marina Vataj
AFTER the long, exceptionally lame winter, we bet you thought this day would never come. But folks, the day of sunning in the city is here! And if the forecasts are to be believed, it's the first of many -- so dispose of those dreadful boots, retire that 30-pound wool coat and smile as you slip into your flip-flops to join the herd of urbanites seeking their place in the sun. Before you do, check out our list of the top 10 sunbathing spots, so you can find yours.
Central Park West at 67th Street
The scene: This 15-acre green expanse attracts a lot of vivacious, swimsuit-clad kiddos who toss Frisbees and picnic. And you'll also notice a myriad of Apple laptops, since WiFi is available here.
West Side Highway near Liberty Street
The scene: Here you can sunbathe while enjoying views of downtown skyscrapers, Lady Liberty and Chelsea bachelors, who tend to assemble on the northern end of the park. The southern tip is designated for congregating couples, while the brainiacs from nearby Stuyvesant High School meander throughout.
Central Park West at 85th Street
The scene: This sprawling lawn attracts lots of city dwellers who live nearby, but you'll also likely marvel at the shirtless athletes who frequent the field to play softball, soccer and volleyball. Um, score!
Dyckman and 200th streets
The scene: Adjacent to the pier, where fishermen cast their lines, the park is typically filled with baseball players and bike riders who utilize the diamond fields and the path. Picnicking is a plus.
Clinton Cove Park
West Side Highway and 54th Street
The scene: This two-acre lawn is perfect for a bronzing session. Bored with lying around baking? There's also access to the Downtown Boathouse, where you can use canoes and kayaks.
Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets
The scene: During the week, you may find hordes of business suit-clad office workers picking at their goat cheese salads, but weekends at Bryant Park bring families and tourists. There's also a surplus -- the sunbathing book lovers who visit the nearby New York Public Library.
Fort Tryon Park
Riverside Drive at 192nd Street
The scene: With panoramic views of upper Manhattan, the Hudson River and The Bronx, this sunbathing spot may be a hike up north, but it's worth the trip if you're interested in staring at physically fit nature lovers (and who isn't?).
West and Christopher streets
The scene: On this 900-foot, grass-covered pier, you can soak up the sun right on the river. Keep in mind that there will be lots of joggers and bikers on the adjacent path; bring your iPod to drown them out!
Ferry State Park
26 New Dock St., at Water Street
The scene: Take a stroll along the water's edge between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and you'll stumble upon the grassy spot that's great for lounging in the sun. It's especially popular for Brooklynites who enjoy vistas of lower Manhattan across the East River.
Flatbush Avenue at Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
The scene: Entertainment abounds at this Brooklyn park. On a single trip, you'll see everyone from drummers to kite-fliers, as well as volleyball, softball and soccer players. Oh, and you'll also blend right in with the swimsuit-clad hipsters who reliably soak up the sun.