We have just returned again from NYC. Various coincidences have taken members of our family there as many as five times this year—and the year is not yet over.
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Maybe it is my Pacific Northwest mossy roots or just an appreciation for green things growing amidst a rocky mountain range of skyscrapers and pavement, but I can’t get enough of Central Park. As a family, we have made intermittent forays into this sprawling 843 acre park. Almost always, involving the The Pond at the southeast corner then wandering past the Zoo, statue of Balto (canine hero), Boat Pond and ending at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This last trip we managed, as a family, to enjoy a lazy Saturday on the West side of the lake near the Ladies’ Pavilion listening to street musicians (very talented) and watching folks row their boats about. Still, there was so much we hadn’t traversed.
Our last day in NYC, my husband and I found ourselves sans offspring as they had all flown off to their respective colleges. Now was our chance to wander aimlessly without the recriminations of teenagers looking for greater excitement. We woke up early and rode the subway up to 110th Street near the northeast corner. Lovely Harlem Meer was laid out before us. Few if any tourists were in sight. Instead, we passed the occasional old folks sitting on a bench, preschoolers holding on to a rope lead by day care workers and runners sweating along in the muggy sunshine. Slowly, we meandered towards the Conservatory Garden, equally devoid of crowds. While we rested there on a bench in one of the garden rooms, we were entertained by songbirds and a red cardinal splashing about in a bird bath supported by the statue of two children at play. I noticed that our bench had the cryptic inscription “Venice or here.”
Reluctantly we left Eden for a zigzag through The Ravine, past The Pool, North Meadow, Reservoir, Pinetum (fancy word for a Pine grove) stopping for awhile at the Shakespeare Garden, Swedish Cottage and Belvedere Castle. Belvedere Castle is free to climb up and has lovely views of the Turtle Pond and the Great Lawn. The charming Shakespeare Garden was full of flowers; it is far less formal than the Conservatory gardens. We then headed off towards the Lake, crossing over various bridges including the Bow Bridge. Here the swell of the crowds started to develop, but not unpleasantly. We walked on past the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain (are we in Europe?) then under the Minton Tile Ceiling rising up to The Mall—a long allee with statues of various writers. This led us on to the Dairy/Visitor Shop the Wolman Rink and The Pond which was the end of the road. Three or more hours had past by from our first steps into the park. Even so, we still have not covered it all.
Next trip, I have another route in mind.
Tip: Maps are for sale int the Park, but complimentary maps are available at Belvedere Castle and the other visitor centers. Check out www.centralparknyc.org as well for more info.