We’re pretty sure that a walk through Central Park is mandatory for anyone visiting New York City for the first time. Located in the heart of Manhattan, you actually can’t believe just how huge the park is without actually seeing it in person. (We got a great view of it from the Top of the Rock which we visited just moments before). It width spans from 5th Ave to 8th Ave and its length runs from 59th street to 110th street (843 acres) and it is almost 160 years old. The park is made up of hundreds of trails that criss-cross and curve in every direction. We could probably spend days, if not weeks, exploring every trail in Central Park… but since we had a destination to reach, we only got a small taste of what Central Park had to offer.
Our journey began at the southeastern corner of the park off of 5th Ave. We walked along 59th street where we were mobbed by hundreds of people with signs for carriage rides, bike rides, tours… you name it. It’s very difficult to plot a course through Central Park if you’ve never been there so we opted to stick with the main roads whenever possible. We entered the park at Center Drive and followed the street around for the first leg of our journey.
It was pretty amazing how busy the park was… and it was still pretty early in the day (around 10am on a Saturday in May). Runners everywhere, bikes whizzing by, group yoga or other types of boot camps… basically as hectic as the rest of New York only with more nature lol.
We used obvious landmarks to navigate such as the Olmsted Flower Bed which let us know we needed to turn and go up the path to The Mall. We took this path until it ended at the Bethesda Fountain. This was a rather beautiful stop which overlooked the lake to the Loeb Boathouse. For whatever reason, the fountain wasn’t on while we were there… (maybe too early in the year??) but the view was still stunning none the less.
From there we crossed the Bow Bridge and followed the paths along the lake until we finally reached (what we thought was) the 79th Street Transverse. We had planned on making a stop at Belvedere Castle but since we were running behind on our travel schedule we opted to skip that and continue on towards the American Natural History Museum.
We continued walking down this path for about 10 minutes or so before we realized that we actually were walking down West drive and was pretty much heading back the direction that we came lol. With a quick course adjustment (thanks to Google maps) we were back on track and wound up ending our Central Park excursion at W 77th St.
In the end we only walked about a third of the length of the park… and of that we barely scratched the surface of all of the sights available within that area. Still… it was a beautiful experience and we had a lovely time walking through Central Park!
Betsy – After going to the Top of the Rock and walking past giant buildings it almost felt like we had stepped into a different world in Central Park. For me it was the best of both worlds as I have a great love for nature and I also enjoy big cities. And as newlyweds what could be more romantic than a walk through central park? Nothing, that’s what.
Chris – To me, Central Park was pretty surreal. The landscaping is definitely not “natural” although it seems they were trying to mimic a natural setting. I really loved the views with the large buildings in the background though… that’s definitely a sight you can’t get anywhere else!