The Ramble - my favourite spot.
The Ramble - my favourite spot.

First Timer’s Guide To Central Park – New York

Urbanisation is happening everywhere at a great pace, skyscrapers and concrete jungles are eating our parks, lakes and hills. Take Hyderabad for example, the boulders and hills of Khajaguda, the IDPL lake and many other such places are under threat. The only major park that remains is KBR, which also is under threat.

When I was in New York last year, I was amazed to see how the city has preserved the Central Park which is amongst the largest public parks in the world. The first place that I visited in New York was Central Park and in this blog post, I’m going to talk about my experience of taking a walk in Central Park.

The 19th Century Park

Central Park was first proposed in 1853 and officially established in 1857 on 843 acres of land in Manhattan. It was an ambitious project driven by wealthy merchants and reformers who wanted to create an outdoor recreation space to provide relief from the overcrowded and polluted city environment. The Park’s design, by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, was a pioneering example of landscape architecture displaying both beauty and utility. 

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963 and the scenic landscape of New York City in 1964. Spanning across a massive 843 acres of carefully sculpted landscapes, gardens, bridges and arches, Central Park stands as a testament to 19th-century urban planning and highlights the city’s commitment to preserving open green spaces amidst rapid development.

Unmissable Spots in Central Park

By now you know how massive the park is, even a full day isn’t enough to explore the complete park. I entered the park from 5th Avenue and then walked along the length of the park to reach the Museum Mile to visit the New York City Museum. Within the park there are a lot of interesting places that one must visit, so here are some of the unmissable spots in Central Park.

Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

The Bethesda Terrace and Fountain are considered the heart and iconic centrepiece of Central Park’s design. This grand terrace features intricate carvings of angels and a staircase leading down to the Bethesda Fountain with its crowning 8-foot bronze Angel of the Waters erected back in 1859.

The terrace offers breathtaking views of the Lake and was intended as an elegant gathering space for visitors to admire. And you can also see the towering skyscrapers of midtown from here. 

Bethesda Fountain
Bethesda Fountain

Ramble

If there’s one place that I absolutely loved in Central Park, it has to be the Ramble. A 36-acre naturalistic woodland garden area that provides an escape into a wild, rustic landscape of winding trails, dense woodlands, shaded glades, streams and rustic bridges, it’s easy to feel completely removed from the city when inside the Ramble’s vegetation.

The area contains tranquil spots like the Azalea Pond surrounded by blooming azalea bushes in spring. It’s one of the park’s finest bird-watching havens, with over 230 species spotted thanks to the sheltered habitat. The Ramble offers a reprieve from urban noise and a taste of nature in the city.

The Ramble - my favourite spot.
The Ramble – my favourite spot.

Belvedere Castle

Built in 1869, this was inspired by miniature castles from European kings’ gardens. The castle’s towers offer panoramic vistas of the park and Manhattan skyline. Inside contain educational exhibits on the park’s history and weather instruments that allowed the National Weather Service to conduct observations here from 1919 to the 1960s. 

Other noteworthy attractions include:

  • Conservatory Garden with its elegant fountains and three distinct style gardens – French, Italian and English. 
  • Loeb Boathouse offers rowboat rentals and charming lakeside dining.
  • Delacorte Theater’s productions of plays and musicals are performed in this festive open-air theatre during summer.

My Walk Experience At Central Park

As I mentioned earlier, I reached the park early in the day and entered via the 5th avenue. This didn’t seem to be the main entrance of the park. I walked in and found a banner with a QR code that led me to a downloadable digital map of the park. The park is massive as I mentioned, and there are a lot of runners and cyclists in the park. There was also some marathon happening that day hence there was some rush.

I was quick to spot the towering skyscrapers at one side and the lush green garden and tall trees bang opposite it. The park has quite good roads within in where you’ll find a lot of cyclists. There were a lot of benches all over the park while you can also just bring your own sheets, spread and just lie down virtually anywhere. There are also quite a few food trucks in the park selling hot dogs, sandwiches, cold drinks and stuff like any other typical park.

Beautiful Central Park
Beautiful Central Park

I was there for a few hours as I just wandered in the park. Ramble was my absolute favourite place and you could absolutely not hear any city noises at this spot. It was a short hike here, but it was beautifully maintained. I could easily spend hours just sitting here and soaking in the winter sun.

A Stroll In Central Park Is A Must

Though I had seen a lot of Central Park in videos and sitcoms, taking a stroll there was something that I had never imagined. One of the finest parks I’ve been till date and will surely remain be the best one for a long time. There’s no doubt that it’s massive in the area and one needs to walk a lot, but you can rent a cycle and cycle too.

If you ever find yourself in New York and have some time on your hands, make sure to take a stroll in Central Park. It’s an experience to remember. I’m sure you’ll not regret it. The green trees and grass with clear blue skies, it’s just amazing. That’s about it for this blog post, let me know your thoughts in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM @Atulmaharaj on Instagram or Get In Touch.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for Socialmaharaj.com :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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