Ah, Central Park. That famous, man-made park. It’s funny – I live by a Central Park, yet when I tell people that, they’re all, “What? New York? Where is there a Central Park in BC?”
Back in 1853, 750 acres of land in central Manhattan was set aside to create America’s first major landscaped public park. It was initially called “the Central Park”. However, later on, management of the park crumbled and left it in a state of decay. Eventually though, things got resolved and now Central Park is the beautiful, green tourist attraction that you see today.
The park is actually divided into 49 geographical zones (for managerial purposes). I re-visited Central Park on two different days. One was to specifically visit the northernmost part of the park called North Woods. It is deemed as the most peaceful part of Central Park, and is the most natural – fallen trees, etc. are left where they are (unless hazardous or obstructing pathways), how they should be.
Now, I am quite poor with my NWSE if I don’t know where north is, so I had to rely on my Google Maps app on my phone quite a bit to know where on earth I was going inside the park.
It was a lot of going uphill, but it definitely was very peaceful. And it was actually quite a warm day (like when I was at Tompkins Square Park, overheating in my Canada Goose jacket). Whenever I heard a sound, I knew it was a squirrel running around.
I only made a small loop inside North Woods as I knew I was going to be walking quite a bit that day, but it was indeed scenic. On a separate day, I wanted to re-visit the more “famous” parts of Central Park , like Bethesda Fountain and Terrace, Bow Bridge, and the Mall.
Bethesda Terrace is considered to be the heart of Central Park. When you walk down the stairs, you come upon Bethesda Fountain. Considering it was winter time when I was there, they didn’t have the fountain turned on.
What leads you to Bethesda Terrace is the Mall, which is a long and wide stretch of “sidewalk” and lined on each side with a quadruple row of American elms. It stretches for a quarter of a mile and is the only intentional straight pathway in the park.
Of course, nothing in New York was growing when I was there, so the American elms are just a bunch of long, scraggly tree branches. Cool nonetheless. I eventually made my way to Bow Bridge, which you might recognize from the many, many films it’s been featured in.
I remember the first time I found Bow Bridge, my first reaction was, Wow, it’s so much smaller than it looks on TV! It is the first cast-iron bridge in the park and the second oldest in America. It’s currently undergoing some restoration work though.
While wandering aimlessly in the park (and heading towards Strawberry Fields), I came across these chubby sparrows! Oh, the things you notice when you open your eyes and look up!
Strawberry Fields, as you probably know, is a memorial in the park to John Lennon. The mosaic with the word “Imagine” that sits on the ground was given as a gift by the city of Naples, and that area of the park is actually a designated quiet spot (although when I was there, a guy was playing the guitar and singing Imagine, looking for spare change).
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about and seeing a little glimpse of Central Park! There is obviously much more to the park than the few areas that I went to, and I encourage further exploration the next time you’re in New York!