Moscow recently opened four new parks -- three are completely new, built on unused or underused land, and one is vast improvement on a park and some abandoned ponds. Stroll around while the weather is still autumnal. They should be fun during much of the winter, too, and then perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and sports in spring and summer.
Tyufeleva roshcha is a new park next to the sprawling ZIL Art complex. After a fifteen minute walk from Metro station Avtozavodskaya through industrial wasteland you come upon this oasis of a park, surrounded by half constructed or abandoned buildings with gaping windows and a huge banner saying “Krasota Spasyot” (Beauty Will Save [You]).
No one knows what Tyufeleva roshcha actually means, but the toponym has been around for centuries. Eighteenth-century historian Nikolai Karamzin used to take walks here, and the pond described in his story “Poor Liza” was located in Tyufeleva roshcha.
The park has been designed by a well-known American architect Jerry Van Eyck, founder of the New York design and landscape architecture firm !melk. The main attraction is the long pergola that zigzags through the whole park and reminds you of a conveyor belt taken from the ZIL car factory that used to occupy this space. It’s a public art object, a conglomeration of various kiosks, and a convenient place to hide from bad weather all in one.
Jerry Van Eyck called his pergola the “caterpillar” and made it from COR-TEN steel, aka “weathering” steel, which, once installed outside, gets a permanent rusty color.
Visitors also love the pool with bright, azure-colored water due to special multi-stage filtering system. You can take one of the beach chairs next to it and enjoy the fall.
Levoberezhny Recreation Zone
Levoberezhny (“Left Bank”) Recreation Zone is another park on the very outskirts of northern Moscow that’s recently been completely renovated. It’s centered around the eponymous sandy beach in a little bay on the Moscow Canal. The park is about ten-fifteen minute walk through Khimki forest from Khovrino, the last metro stop on the green line.
There are numerous paths laid with wooden planks for pleasant walks along the water’s edge. At the beach you can relax in a recliner chair while watching river liners pass by or enjoy a cup of coffee in a two-story cafe.
If you are into sports, there’s a bike route, a ramp for skaters and a volleyball court, as well as a children’s playground.
Khodynskoye Pole (“pole” is a field in Russian), also known simply as Khodynka, is another hidden gem in the middle of a residential neighborhood not far from the center of the city.
Khodynka is the site of a former airport and two coronations, including the ill-fated one of Nicholas II, which resulted in a major stampede with hundreds of fatalities.
Nestled between several high rise complexes and a large, popular shopping mall, Aviapark, Khodynskoye Pole park is conveniently located around an entrance to the CSKA metro stop. This is one of the parks that has been built “from scratch” using the earth dug up when building the shopping mall. The dominating features are the artificial hills with public art objects on top, which provide instagrammable views of the neighborhood, and a man-made pond with patches of reeds and wooden bridges.
One of the attractions is a “dry” fountain, which means you can walk between its streams without getting wet. There are also various sports facilities for all ages and a state-of-the-art children’s playground.
Krasnogvardeiskiye Prudy (“Red Guard Ponds”) always looked shabby next to the neighboring Krasnaya Presnya park. But last year the whole area around the ponds was redesigned by Moscow architecture firm Wowhaus, whose crowning achievements include the Strelka Institute on the Red October island and some of Gorky Park’s renovations.
Three connected ponds used to be called Gagarinskie as they were part of Prince Gagarin’s estate. Krasnogvardeiskiye Prudy resembles more a really wide boulevard with ponds rather than a regular park. Wowhaus decided to split it into five segments: tree grove at the entrance from Zvenigorodskoye Shosse, the small pond, the central part with “October Days” monument (nicknamed “a hunter on retirement” by locals), followed by two larger ponds and, finally, the last pond, divided from the rest of the park by Shmitovsky Proyezd.
There’s a kiosk called “Bulldog coffee” at one of the larger ponds where you can get decent espresso-based drinks.
For the first time in recent history, the ponds are easily accessible to public with walkways. Get a cappuccino, watch the ducks and enjoy the last days of fall!