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    The Heart of the City - Central Park

    Central Park in springWhether it's sitting on the bench at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue near the the Pulitzer Fountain and the Golden statue of William Tecumseh Sherman or wandering the paths arm in arm, New Yorkers are in love... with their Park.

    The park is home to races and rallies for charities and causes. The New York Marathon ends in the Park. As night falls in the summer, there's Shakespeare in the Park. The Met puts on full al fresco opera performances here and the Philharmonic plays under the stars - all for free.

    During the day, it's a peaceful spot for a bag lunch and a pool for sailing model boats. For kids there's a Children's zoo, also a duck feeding pond. Central Park is a great place to take your dog for a walk or to walk with that very special friend.

    Since Central Park opened, it has been a country haven - first for the well heeled uptowners, but soon a subway was built and the crowds from the tenements in Lower Manhattan found a refuge there.

    The park was so popular that there were complaints from the horsey set about children frolicking in the fountains. The popular will prevailed, and the park was kept open to all city residents.

    Tourists love the horse and buggy rides - a holdover from the earliest days. Many Manhattan couples take romantic rides through the park as a prelude to a proposal... and ride that white carriage as they leave the wedding ceremony with their new partner for life. The drivers are always happy to snap a group picture to capture the moment.

    Major musical events are staged at one of the stages or the bandstand, but not all of the activities in Central Park are preplanned. Impromptu musical jams happen all the time. Some around the Bethesda Fountain - others just on the side of a path.

    Imagine - John Lennon memorial at Strawberry FieldsThe open spaces of the park are a perfect place to meet other musicians and play whatever comes up. While there aren't too many concerts around Strawberry Fields, the section of the park that honors John Lennon's memory, it must give some inspiration to the music.

    The spur of the moment jam sessions are sometimes better than the huge productions. Not always though, a lot of aspiring musicians practice their skills on the patient ears of the Central Park crowds. Even the less gifted usually go home with a coin or two tossed into the hat on the ground. Little kids love to run up and throw change into the pot. It doesn't really matter how the music sounds.

    Puppet shows and mimes keep the pathways busy and artists stretch along the walk into the Park from 59th Street and Columbus Circle. Many of the quick sketch artists are students at New York art schools, earning some extra money. Most of them are extremely talented. Just take a look at some of the work as you walk by.

    Near the Children's Zoo the face painters and balloon artists are a temptation for every little visitor on the way to see the animals. The ice cream and hot dogs sold there are a quick pick me up for the family on a budget.

    The park is closed to cars on Sundays and the roadways are reserved for biking and pedestrians. Some come equipped with jogging suits and sneakers - others just stroll at a leisurely pace.

    Bike riders, joggers and roller-bladers enjoy the car free park. The experts - and not so expert - roller-bladers cruise a section of the roadway set up with obstacles to skate around. The audience has encouragement for all levels of skating skill. And they do draw a crowd! There's usually a boom box or two providing music to skate by or to listen to as you watch the show.

    The Wollman Ice Skating Rink in winterThere's the ice skating rink in the winter, the Carousel and the Dairy, the wide open meadows and the lake to walk around or row in. Boats are available for renting if you're feeling adventurous and energetic.

    The 79th Street Boat Basin’s A-dock are open for strolling from Thursday – Sunday until Labor Day. This 370-foot long fixed pier will be open for promenading from 3:00 p.m. to dusk on Thursdays and Fridays and 8:00 a.m. to dusk on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Baseball fields play host to official and unofficial games, soccer is played in any of the open spaces as long as someone brings a ball along ...


    6 Train to 77th Street Station on Lexington Ave. Entrance to the Park is at 79th Street & 5th Avenue.

    4 Train or 5 Trainto 59th Street. The Entrance to the Park is at 59th Street & 5th Avenue.

    B Train or C Train to 81st Street. The Entrance to the Park is at 81st Street & Central Park West.

    1 Train or 9 Train to 79th Street. The Entrance to the Park is at 81st Street & Central Park West.

    1 Train or 9 Train to 59th Street (Columbus Circle). The Entrance to the Park is at 59th & 5th Ave.


    also see -> Central Park Photo Gallery

    New York's Most Romantic Parks


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