• Get away to Gateway, where you can camp and stay healthy with heart-smart activities. Photo by Sebastiano Privitera; used by permission.


    National Recreation Area NY,NJ

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Sand Replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach

    Sand replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach has begun. During this project, sections of the beach will be closed to the public for their safety. Replenishment is expected to take up to two weeks.

  • The Floyd Bennett Field Archery Range will be closed on October 22

    Sections of the archery range parking lot will be excavated by the Army Corps of Engineers, to remove defunct fuel lines. The archery range will reopen October 23.

Cacti / Desert Succulents

Prickly Pear Cactus in blossom.

The Prickly Pear Cactus produces bright yellow flowers during the months of May and June.


Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)

Cacti are typically assumed to be confined to the desert; however, this is not true of Opuntia humifusa. The eastern prickly pear cactus is the only native cactus found in the northeast and is highly abundant along the sunny, sandy habitats throughout Gateway. This low growing plant has flattened stems called paddles that contain barbed bristles. In May and June, mature cacti produce yellow, waxy flowers. These flowers then die away and a red juicy edible fruit forms. The spines on the fruit and paddles can be carefully removed from the outer skin and discarded before consumption. The paddles are commonly used in the South in breakfast omelets and the fruit is often used to make candy and jelly and can be added to drinks for a refreshing flavor. Although edible, the gathering or harvesting of any species within NPS sites is not permitted.

Did You Know?

Fort Wadsworth

Fort Wadsworth, located on Staten Island at the Narrows (next to the Verrazano Bridge), is one of the oldest military sites in the nation. This site has controlled the entrance to New York Harbor since the Washington administration.