Updated November 21st, 2018
The first thing the visitor must assume is that he will not have time enough to see the entire Central Park, not even spending a month in New York. It is approximately 4 km long by 0.8 wide.
WHEN TO GO
Worth to be visited in any season, but especially striking in autumn when most of the trees turn in yellow and red.
Unless you bring your own meal, it’s not advisable to eat in the park. Restaurants are expensive and stalls are bad in general. The famous hotdog of Central Park is clearly a scam for tourist and probably the worst hotdog in the world. And don’t make me talk about the pretzels.
Open daily from 6 am till 1 am (after midnight).
- The best way to visit it is definitely on foot or running.
- There are lines opened to traffic and skaters and bicycle lanes, but if you don’t walk the possibilities of exploring the park are limited.
- For biking, you can choose from:
- Use Citybike.
- Or rent one from May to November for $15 an hour (half price if booked online). Places for rent bikes are close to:
- Loeb Boathouse, near the eastern side at the 75th.
- Tavern on the Green, near the west side at the 66th.
- Or the Merchant’s Gate Plaza, close to Columbus Circle on the west side.
- You can also move by horse-drawn carriage or rickshaw.
From south to north, the most important areas are identified:
Entering through the southeast corner, the first you’ll find is the Pond, a beautiful stretch of water where the Gapstow bridge is set, one of the most photographed in the park.
If it is winter season, just north of the Pond is the Wollman Rink. Admission $12, rent skates for $10 and if you bring your own padlock, lockers are free. This ice rink is our favorite in New York given its large size and the spectacular view of the skyscrapers of Midtown.
Northbound although a bit farther east than the Wollman Rink is the Central Park Zoo. It costs $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children; it’s double price than 3 three years ago. Considering the price and how small it is, I don’t recommend it; you have to access by the pedestrian area closest to Fifth Avenue. The highlight is the Delacorte Clock, a clock with animal figures that move with every hour.
From the Zoo you can walk northwest to reach the carousel, it costs $3.25.
From the Carousel heading north we’ll find the main recreation area in the park, the Sheep Meadow. It is a grassy esplanade where Newyorkers stop to relax, read, sunbathe, picnic, throw the frisbie, or any other activity while enjoying the view of the skyscrapers of Midtown.
It’s not easy to leave the Meadow, but when you are to do it, go east to reach the beginning of the Mall, an area with rows of elms.
For the kids, immediately eastof the beginning of the Mall there is a bronze statue of Balto. If you keep going north of the Mall, it ends in another of the main attractions, Bethesda Terrace, which includes the famous Statue of Bethesda and views of the lake.
From Bethesda, there are attractions both sides east and west. To the west is the Cherry Hill, a small hill that is one of the most colorful parts of the park in autumn.
A little further west is the John Lennon tribute, known as Strawberry Fields, is near the Dakota building where he used to live (and cannot be visited).
From Bethesda to the east you reach the Loeb Boathouse, where you can rent a rowboat ($15 an hour). East of the Boathouse is the statue of Alice in Wonderland and the Conservatory Water, very popular area for families because of remote control sailing boats for rent ($11 for 30 minutes).
Across the Bow Bridge, probably the most photographed bridge in the park, the area immediately north of Lake is a delight to get lost and enjoy the nature.
In a few minutes you’ll reach the Belvedere Castle, from where you can see the Turtle Pond (where certainly there are turtles) and the Great Lawn, one of the largest recreational areas of the park, this time focused on sports activities. At this point of the park on either side, there are two of the most popular museums in New York, on the west side the American Museum of Natural History, and on the east side Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between the Great Lawn and the Met is a Egyptian Obelisk called Cleopatra’s Needle.
The next area is occupied almost entirely by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. It is the largest water area of Central Park, and its almost a quarter of its extension. Long ago it was built as a water reservoir for the city. Today is one of the most popular areas for runners, as there is a dirt track that runs along the 2.5 km circunference.
Given how large the park is, tourists usually do not go further north from the Reservoir, so this area is perfect for those looking for tranquility. You will find many truly bucolic corners. The most prominent areas are Great Hill, the Lasker Rink (a pool that in winter is transformed into another ice rink) and two water areas, the Loch and the Harlem Meer.
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