Ever since recreational cannabis was legalized in the state of New York, the city that never sleeps has also become the city that never doesn’t smell a little bit like weed.
The reason? New York was the first state to allow people to smoke marijuana anywhere you can smoke tobacco, so residents and canna-tourists in Manhattan can bear their joints with pride on most city streets and any other designated smoking areas.
Generally speaking, if you’re outside but not in a park, plaza (think Herald Square), playground, beach, pool, or sports stadium, it’s probably OK to light up. You can check the exact mandates for smoking in NYC here.
But in such a large city, the decision of where to puff, puff, pass can be paralyzing. That’s why we at GreenState rounded up a sampling of the best places in the city to smoke. Serving views and vibes, these are some of the greatest spots to gather your friends for a smoke in New York City.
Bare with us – we had to get the obvious one out of the way.
Located on the west side of downtown Manhattan, Greenwich Village has long been considered a kind of mecca for students, artists, and soul-searchers. Its magnetic draw for the free spirits of the world made it known as the city’s “Bohemian Capital” throughout the 20th century.
This part of the city can get crowded, particularly on the weekends. But if you’re looking for a quiet place to smoke with friends, there are ways to do that. Blaze up on some of the smaller, older streets like Minetta Lane and the cobblestone portion of Jane Street. Cars will rarely bother you here, and you’ll be a safe distance from the bars and shows that attract tourists.
It’s easy to find weed in Greenwich Village, and there’s a lot of fun to be had there while you’re buzzed. Once you’ve had a few good puffs, stumble into one of the famous comedy clubs in the area, taste one of the Greenwich Village’s many affordable (by New York standards) and delicious restaurants, or jam to the live music performances that usually pop up in Washington Square Park on Friday and Saturday nights.
You may not be able to smoke a joint in Central Park, but you can still enjoy the view while toking from afar.
5th Avenue, which passes right by Central Park, is a perfectly legal place to smoke, and the views of the park from the street are phenomenal. Plus, it’s a romantic, scenic street shrouded in parts by a canopy of trees that make it a popular photo-op destination in the fall. If you miss smoking weed on a hike, this is probably the closest you’ll get to that in the city.
5th Avenue runs nearly all the way down Manhattan, starting in Harlem and ending in Washington Square Park. Along with the views of the park, those who enjoy the “high” art (pun intended) can stop by the iconic museums dotted along this street, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. And for those in the city for the holidays, the light displays further downtown on this street are all the more surreal when you’re buzzed.
The Seaport District
Some of you won’t recognize this neighborhood, and that’s the point.
Just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Seaport District is a relatively quiet neighborhood known for its historic cobblestone streets. The area was one of the most important commercial ports in the world in the 18th century, and many of the buildings there still date back to the period of the American Revolution. More importantly for you, though, this area, along with the Financial District nearby, is safer and less tourist-ridden than most other neighborhoods in the city at night, and the waterfront views are breathtaking.
If you want to enjoy a moonlit night with friends that’s virtually uninterrupted by the chaos of the city, try partoking in the Seaport District and then taking a walk by the water. If you’re ambitious, you can walk all the way up to Battery Park and top off the evening with arguably the best view of the Statue of Liberty in the city.
There’s something poetic about seeing the city from a new perspective. Standing under the Brooklyn Bridge facing Manhattan is a great place to do that.
For those who don’t know, DUMBO (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a Brooklyn neighborhood built on the East River, directly under the Brooklyn Bridge. Not only does the area offer a surreal perspective of the bridge itself, it also has one of the best views of Manhattan you’ll ever see, making it a wildly cool spot to light up.
DUMBO has become exponentially more popular in recent years, but there is still something exotic about its historic, warehouse-style buildings and artistic influence. After an afternoon toke, explore the pop-up galleries interspersed throughout town or satisfy your munchies at one of DUMBO’s quirky and delectable restaurants, or simply find a cozy plot of grass at Brooklyn Bridge Park and enjoy the waterfront breeze.
Add this one to your list now, because there’s a good chance it won’t be so off-the-beaten-path soon.
Located in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, Industry City recently emerged as one of the most happening spots in Brooklyn for young professionals. Used as a shipping and manufacturing complex in the 19th century, the area slowly started attracting artisans and small business owners over the last few decades. Then, seemingly overnight, Industry City went viral, as influencers started spotlighting the breathtaking murals and fun outdoor events popping up in this complex on New York’s Upper Bay.
But because of its remote location, there are still fewer tourists here than you’ll find in other parts of Brooklyn. For a relatively quiet evening enjoying art with friends, blaze up while walking the streets of Industry City and take in the awe-inspiring murals you’ll find there. If you’re feeling social afterward, you can always check what outdoor activities are going on that evening, like live music and golf in the park.
Elissa Esher is Assistant Editor at GreenState. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Guardian, Brooklyn Paper, Religion Unplugged, and Iridescent Women. Send inquiries and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.