Know Central park in New York!
Things to see in the most famous park of the world.
29 September 2022
What is this page about
Central Park is probably the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about New York. This is the main character in all the movies filmed in New York. Central Park is a place where a citizen of this metropolis finds rest from the bustle of the city, reconnects with nature, does sports and spends time with his loved ones. This unique place is an oasis among all these majestic skyscrapers of the city that never sleeps.
I’ve been dreaming about Central Park, probably since “Home Alone” and then the “Friends” series. I dreamed about not just visiting New York, but running in Central Park. And finally, my dream came true…
Historical facts of Central park
Central Park in New York is a world-famous public park created in 1858 to meet recreational needs of a fast-growing city. Its original objective was to offer citizens a rural experience where they could escape the stress of city life and connect with nature and other people. Central Park is one of the most visited city parks in the country and one of the most popular destinations of New York City, annually over 42 million people visit the park. Central Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and it is considered a masterpiece of landscape architecture.
Today, Central Park is in a great condition thanks to a group of activists that 40 years ago launched a Park conservancy project in order to save the city’s backyard from destruction. The park was just a disaster: unkempt lawns and muddy water could not offer conditions for a good rest from the city’s cement and skyscrapers. Then enthusiastic activists started the restoration of the park. The mission of the organization was to save this national treasure, and they achieved amazing success. Today, the park employs more than 300 people and about 3,500 volunteers. Thanks to employees, volunteers, donations, neighbors, and visitors, Central Park remains beautiful as ever – a source of nature that brings tranquility to a bustling metropolis.
Routes of Central park
The park organization attentively provided all visitors of Central Park with detailed maps with routes for every occasion. In my opinion, the best way to explore the park is by running/walking, as access, for example, for bicycles is restricted, in order to maintain the whole harmony of the park. The rules for using the park are quite strict, but fair, and for a reason, since its flora and fauna are in perfect condition – this is the responsibility of each visitor. So, we are offered routes for runners, cyclists, people with dogs and people with disabilities.
You will find maps of architecture, arches, bridges, waterfalls, lawns, playgrounds on the official website of Central Park. Visitors are offered all sorts of exploring tours and guides to download. Everything is designed for people!
I strongly advise you to study the maps before you go to the park for the first time so you will not miss anything important. If you don’t have internet while you’re in the park, don’t worry, as there are maps and signs at every corner, as well as local people who will be happy to help you. Visiting Central Park is one of the few free things you can do in New York.
Central Park offers us an unforgettable sports, entertainment, natural and cultural-historical tour! Let´s go!
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
There is the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center on the Harlem´s side of the park, a relatively new building built in 1993. The center organizes tours and offers various activities (free of charge, but a $20 deposit is required):
- Rents children’s discovery kits
- Rents fishing rods so you can fish in the pond on a catch-and-release basis. Over 16 years old fishermen are required to have a fishing license issued by the NYS. You can’t fish with your own fishing rod.
- Rents lawn game sets
It’s hard to believe, but you can find an Egyptian obelisk in Central Park! The Obelisk “Cleopatra’s Needle” was created around 1425 BC. in Heliopolis, Egypt. It was one of two obelisks ordered by Pharaoh Thutmose III for the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis, near present-day Cairo. According to scientists, the obelisks represented eternity and immortality, and their tapering shape connected heaven and earth. Their peaks were usually covered with gold to reflect sunlight.
When the Romans discovered the two obelisks, they were partially covered with sand. The Romans transported the obelisks to Alexandria and placed them at the entrance to a temple dedicated to Julius Caesar.
In the 1870s, the Egyptian government donated one obelisk to England and the second obelisk was given to the United States. The dismantling of the obelisk and its transportation to New York took more than one year and was a significant achievement considering logistics, diplomacy and engineering obstacles. It was installed in Central Park in January 1881.
Next we see a children’s party on a meadow with a beautiful castle in the background. Great choice for a celebration!
Belvedere Castle (from italian: panoramic place) is one of the most remarkable architectural objects in the park. The castle was built in 1872 as a place to contemplate the surrounding landscape and an open-air observation tower. You can lift to the highest floor, indeed a beautiful view opens here.
Central Park is always associated with something romantic, and the Bow Bridge is the best proof of that. The bridge is probably never being crowdless, as hundreds of couples are constantly taking photos and videos on it. It is a popular place for marriage proposals, and, as it turned out, also wedding ceremonies. How original.
The Bow Bridge boat landing is a modern reconstruction of an old structure built in the 1860s. Shortly after the park opened, boating on the lake became a popular activity, and park designers built a series of six unique constructs that served as observation decks and small docks.
The best place to relax and have a picnic in Central park is undoubtedly Sheep Meadow. Street food is sold everywhere, we bought 3 hot dogs and a Coke for $22 (including tips) nearby. Is it expensive for street food? Depends where you come from.
The Sheep meadow also has its own interesting history. It is called so, as you might guess, because of sheep that used to graze on it. In the mid-1960s, public events were held on the meadow, accommodating a huge number of people. By the 1970s, the meadow was covered with garbage and literally turned into a garbage dump. In the 1980s, the Central Park Conservancy began to restore the park. They installed pipes and an irrigation system, and planted grass so today we can enjoy the views while relaxing on this beautiful and perfectly maintained lawn.
Another remarkable bridge is the Gapstow bridge, located on the Pond.
Between 1859 and 1866, 27 arches and bridges were built in Central Park (today there are 30). They were all designed by British architect Calvert Waugh, in some cases with the help of architect colleague Jacob Ray Mold. Each of the bridges is unique, designed with different materials and decorative patterns.
Fauna of Central park
Central Park has quite diverse fauna: ducks, geese, turtles, squirrels, rats, different types of birds… Even the Mandarin duck settled here (we did not meet it). The management of the park strongly discourages feeding the animals, as they are completely autonomous in searching for food. As expected people can’t resist the prohibition, and you can find some pretty plump squirrels in the park. By the way, there is a small zoo in Central Park that you can visit for less than $20.
The Bethesda Fountain is the park’s only commissioned sculpture, while the rest were donated to the park. The fountain is dedicated to the opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which first brought fresh water to New York City in 1842. Clean water “healed” New Yorkers who suffered from numerous diseases due to contaminated drinking water.
I think exploring Central Park can last forever. In this regard, I envy the people of Manhattan, do they know how lucky they are! Everyone can find his/her special place in this amazing piece of nature and will definitely fall in love with Central park!