New York’s heart is Central Park, a 843 acres “garden” that strecthes from 59th street to 110th street. The park was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who won the competition to expand the park in 1857, with the “Greensward Plan”. After this project was concluded Olmsted became one of the most famous landscapers in the US; he’d manage to create a project that deeply contrasted with the outside architecture of skyscrapers and buildings, by creating a sort of oasis of nature and beauty, outlined by a thick layer of trees. It took about 6 years to expand with its lakes, rocks, trees, hills, and bridges. The park underwent a series of declines and renovations, till the early 2000s. Today it is a New York City landmark, and probably the most famous park in the world.
What to see in Central Park?
- Central Park Zoo: is dedicated to environmental protection and is part of an integrated system of four zoos and the New York Aquarium. There are three areas: tropical, temperate and polar. It hosts a rainforest and ant colony, around 100 species including seals, monkeys, penguins and more. But most importantly this is where the animals from ‘Madagascar’ come from!
- Bethseda Terrace: this might just be the most popular location in the the park, seen in thousands of movies and tv series! It’s a great spot for pictures and romantic walks. I also recommend enjoying the fountain and the singers under the terrace.
- The Great Lawn: in the middle of the park there is this 55-acre space where you can go for a picnic or sunbathing. It used to be a part of the reservoir but then redesigned in 1937 as a lawn. It also hosts annual free concerts such as the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philarmonic.
- Delacorte Theater: close to the Great Lawn you can find the Delacorte Theater where during the summer “Shakespeare in the Park” is organized by the New York public theater, and many other music and dance shows are organized.
- The Ramble: last time I went to Central Park I loved walking around the Ramble, getting lost between the intrincate itinerary of trees and streams. This is also where you can find a great variety of species of birds.
- Belvedere Castle: is one of the most popular locations in the park, located on the top of the hill from this 19th century castle you have a beatiful view of the park and the city.
- Bow Bridge: I have no idea what exaclty is so special to me about this bridge in the middle of Central park, maybe it’s due to how it has been pictured in so many movies, but I just feel like this is one of the most romantic places in the whole world.
- The Reservoir: is a large lake located towards the northern part of the park, you can
go jogging around it as it counts a track of about 5km around.
- Strawberry Fields: this last place I want to name is a tribute created by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon, it is a small and calm garden and in the middle you can find the famous ‘Imagine’ mosaic.
Eat & Drink:
The Loeb Boathouse (Lakeside Restaurant, Outiside Bar, Express Cafe): East 72nd Street
Tavern on the Green: 66th street, Central Park West