A Guide to the Perfect Day in New York City's Central Park
PHOTO: Central Park, New York, NY. (Courtesy Central Park Conservancy)
Central Park. Arguably one of the world’s most famous urban parks and certainly one of the most filmed.
Visitors to New York can not only stay at Iberostar’s new and first-ever property in the city, but they could spend a day – maybe more – exploring Central Park.
We help narrow the field with the top 10 things to do:
Alice in Wonderland (Mid-park). Kids and kids-at-heart will want to pay homage at this sculpture of Alice and her friends, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and a little dormouse. Commissioned by philanthropist George Delacorte and created by the sculptor Jose de Creeft, this sculpture begs you to climb on up and join the tea party. We dare you not to!
Wollman Rink (South end). When it comes to ice skating in New York City, Wollman Park is among the most iconic. Set against a stunning Manhattan skyline, lacing up your skates and going for a spin is a must-do activity on any winter trip to the Big Apple. No wonder it’s been used in such romantic movies as Love Story and Serendipity.
The Carousel (South end). Fifty-seven horses, tinkling calliope music and the feeling of being a kid again. What could be better? Be advised that even though during the summer months (weather permitting) the Carousel is open seven days a week, there can be long lines.
Sheep Meadow (South end). The Sheep Meadow is a 15-acre expanse of rolling green lawn that draws sunbathers, pick-up football games, picnickers and just about anyone in search of sun and wide-open spaces (the extent you can find them in NYC!).
Conservatory Water (Mid-park). Fans of Stuart Little will know it as the site of Stuart’s victorious boat race, one inspired by the actual model boat races that ply the pond’s waters Saturday mornings from April to October. Others will love it for the climbing sculptures, the café and the story-telling series that takes place by the Hans Christian Andersen statue each summer. If temperatures allow in winter, the pond’s water is also lowered to allow for free ice skating.
Strawberry Fields (Mid-park). Dedicated in 1985 as a memorial to John Lennon, this peaceful section of the park is a designated Quiet Zone and a perfect spot to stop and reflect.
Central Park Zoo (South end). Long a favorite of New York City children (and adults), this state-of-the-art zoo is home to animals from the topical, temperate and polar zones. The centrally located sea lion pool is a big hit thanks to a new glass enclosure that allows visitors to see these animals spin and dive underwater. Don’t miss the three daily feeding times when the animals perform tricks for their fish. The Tisch Children’s Zoo lets the little ones get close up to animals such as sheep, a cow, goats and a Vietnamese pot-belly pig. And located in the center is the Enchanted Forest, where visitors can walk through artists’ interpretation of a giant primeval forest.
The Reservoir (North end). Holding billions of gallons of water, it was first built as a water supply for the city. Today, its spectacular view of Manhattan and 1.58-mile track makes for the perfect get-your-day-started-right jog.
Belvedere Castle (Mid-park). One of five visitors’ centers and one of the highest points in the park, the Castle affords visitors a fantastic view of the Great Lawn, the Ramble and Turtle Pond.
The Ramble (Mid-park). Don’t be fooled by this seeming natural oasis of trails, rock outcroppings and streams—with the exception of the bedrock platform, it’s all man-made. Even the waterfalls can be turned on and off like a faucet.
More by Rich Thomaselli
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