Visit this green oasis in central Manhattan to chill out and escape from the stresses and strains of urban life.
Central Park stretches across 169 hectares of woodlands, green areas and sports grounds between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side. The park was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted for the enjoyment of New Yorkers, and completed in 1873 – the pair were also responsible for renowned Stanford University campus and Niagara Reservation at Niagara Falls.
The city’s people flock to the park to make the most of the 93 kilometres of paths for walking, jogging and roller-blading, while younger visitors are sure to enjoy themselves in one or two of the 21 different playgrounds. Climb aboard a horse-and-carriage for a different view as you trot around the park. You can also enjoy a classic merry-go-round during the summer, or hire a boat and get out on the water for a placid hour; the Boathouse is open from April to October. Later on in the year, all of the family will enjoy skating serenely around one of the two ice rinks installed each year, while Central Park Zoo offers exotic exhibits all year round.
There are numerous landmarks and monuments spread around the grounds, from the delightful Bethesda Fountain to the top-class Loeb Boathouse Restaurant. Fans of the Beatles will be sure to check out the memorial to John Lennon in Strawberry Fields.
Admire the Arsenal, a former ammunition supply depot for the New York State National Guard, which takes a form very similar to that of a castle from medieval times. Bronze statues are scattered throughout the park, paying homage to a diverse range of personalities, all the way from Hans Christian Andersen to Romeo and Juliet.
Modern-day Hollywood films have often used the famous setting of the park as a backdrop for scenes. Some examples include the most typical of New York films, “Annie Hall”, as well as “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York”, “Sex and the City: The Movie” and “When Harry Met Sally”.
The friendly staff at the park’s information kiosks will be happy to provide maps and guide books, and help with whatever queries you may have. Bring a picnic and spread yourself out on the Great Lawn, or pick up a hot dog or a pretzel from one of the many stalls selling tasty street food.
Central Park is easily accessible by bus and subway.