Central Park is a must-see for anyone visiting the five boroughs, no matter the time of year. The 843-acre destination is Manhattan’s most famous park, full of trees, gardens, rolling meadows, arches, sculptures, statues, and vistas. Here are some highlights.
Belvedere Castle: The castle sits atop Vista Rock—one of the highest natural elevations inside the park—and provides great views of the Delacorte Theater, Turtle Pond, and the Ramble. The gothic structure also doubles as a weather station.
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain: Featured in countless films and television series, this bustling meeting place is the heart of Central Park. The two-story terrace, which overlooks the Lake and southern sections of the Ramble, features intricate carvings that represent both the times of day and the four seasons. At the center sits Bethesda Fountain—also known as the Angel of the Waters—a biblical allusion and also a celebration of the water system that first brought water to New York City in 1842.
Carousel: There’s nothing like riding an old-fashioned carousel to feel like a kid again, and that certainly applies to the nostalgic merry-go-round located in Central Park. Installed in 1871, this amusement park ride boasts a total of 58 painted horses, all of which make for a memorable ride for the price of $3.00 a ticket.
Conservatory Garden: The Vanderbilt Gate, which was once the entrance to the Vanderbilt Mansion down at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, is the elegant passage to this six-acre garden in the park’s northeast corner. There are three sections: the north garden (home to the Three Dancing Maidens fountain), the central garden (cherished for its abundance of violets) and the south garden (known for its bronze statue of boy and girl characters from The Secret Garden).
Delacorte Music Clock: Within the parks sits this musical timepiece, which was added in 1965. Between 8am and 6pm, the sculpture — adorned with whimsical bronze animals — plays one of 32 nursery rhyme songs at the start of every hour. It’s even more fun in the winter months when the playlist switches over to festive holiday carols.
Lake: Take a ride out on a gondola or a rented boat or just peer out onto the expansive body of water at the Loeb Boathouse.
Strawberry Fields: Home to the Imagine Mosaic, this 2.5-acre landscaped section of the park was named after the Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever” and was unveiled on October 9, 1985, on what would have been John Lennon’s 45th birthday. Strawberry Fields is situated across from the Dakota, where Lennon lived from 1973 until his death outside that very building in 1980. Throughout the year fans leave dedications and floral tributes in honor of the late Beatle.
The Ramble: Another main attraction, the Ramble comprises 36 acres of lush woodlands and wild flora. Go for a stroll along one of its many paths. (The North Woods are situated at the northwest corner of the park and are home to a waterfall, streams, verdant paths and birds, making it a favorite spot for bird-watchers).
Umpire Rock: This timeworn piece of bedrock is one of very few natural features in Central Park. It measures approximately 40 by 15 feet and offers the fantastic views of the nearby baseball field and its many summer games. But if baseball isn’t your thing, it’s a good place to start if you’re interested in rock climbing.
Zoo: Small though it may be, the Central Park Zoo features 3 distinct climate zones around of the globe – tropical, temperate, and polar – and touts animals from each of them. Visitors can catch a glimpse of everything from seals to snow leopards.
Story Idea and Some Content Courtesy of nycgo.com