Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Top 5 Features of New York's Central Park

  New York's Central Park is world famous. When I first heard of a park in the middle of Manhattan New York, I thought it was nothing special. My idea of a park was not in the middle of a city but in the middle of a wilderness miles from a city. Shortly into my visit in Central Park, that idea changed.

 The park is so vast it can take several trips in order to experience the various locations. Check the image below to give you an idea of the shape and layout of the park. There is a vast array of pathways and water bodies. Once inside the park, one can forget that you are in a big city. 

 The tall trees and swirly paths can make you feel disoriented when you are not unfamiliar with the park. The scenery on these paths are beautiful. Which brings me to one of the top 5 features. 

The Paths

The above photo I shot is a typical path throughout the park. Green foliage and well tended paths make it a pleasant walk. 

People use the paths for leisure and exercise. Tourists like myself use them to explore and experience the character of the park. 

While you explore the park, a common thing you will see are old style lamp posts along the paths. I do love the old style look these add to the park.

When walking the path you will hear sounds of birds chirping, people talking and people riding bikes. In the background you can still hear the city, but for the most part you just hear the sounds of the park. It is a peaceful escape from the fast pace city.

There are several main roads that go through the park itself. This is used for walking, bikes and even horse carriages as you can see from the above photo. 

 Other interesting features are huge rocks along the path like the above photo. It adds a different flavour to the park. I am sure this one was put there by man. Other man-made objects along the paths you will see are sculptures. 

The Sculptures

 One of the first sculptures I saw in central park was an Egyptian Obelisk.  Surrounded by bushes and trees; this adds to the character and beauty of the sculpture. It is one of the most interesting sculptures of the park. It bestows an exotic look to the park.

 Another important sculpture is of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States. This is found along one of the roads going through Central Park. It is a fitting sculpture for such a park. 

 From a distance the sculpture of this panther almost looked real, crouched and intent on his prey. I noticed this coming around a turn, when daylight was fading. It was a bit of a surprise. A nice surprise when I realized what it was. 

Another historic sculpture is of the 107th Infantry Regiment of New York. Another appropriate sculpture for such a grand park.

The last sculpture I came across was this one in the above photo. It looks Asian in nature. It is just on the out skirts of the park. I wish I could tell you what is was. I was not able to find any information on it. So if you know what it is suppose to represent please leave a comment. I would appreciate it.

There are many more sculptures in the park. Unfortunately I did not get to see them all. In addition to the sculptures throughout the park, you will get to see some astonishing views.

The Views

 I did get some shots from a higher vantage point on my second trip to the park. There was some thunder showers that day. With the clouds and and the city behind the trees, I went with a sephia look to give the view an old New York Look. For me this was an unusual look to see a city looming just above a tree line. 

Here is one of the ponds near a baseball field. I am not sure what all the green is in the water, but I am sure it is natural.  It is a relaxing place to just to sit here and listen to the sounds of the park. 

Here is a shot of Park Avenue from Central Park. Another Sephia shot gives it an old style New York Look. These buildings have some of the most expensive properties in the world. 

 If you want the ultimate view of Central Park take a look of a video I took from the top of the Rockefeller Centre.

The Garden

 I can't tell you exactly where I stumbled across a beautiful garden in Central Park. It is called the Shakespeare Garden. The name is written on the plaque below.

You instantly notice the beautiful multicoloured rocks. It is a nice combination with the lush green and colourful flowers. 

On your way through have a seat on the log benches and enjoy the beauty. This is one of the best features of the garden. 
Just below you will see a Sun Dial. This is found near the centre of the garden. I did not get a chance to check the time that day, because of the thunder clouds. Here you will find some of the most vibrant flowers in the garden.

The Castle

 Not too far from the Shakespeare Garden you will find a castle. It is called the Belvedere Castle which was built in 1869. It has some of the best views in the park. Some of the pictures you saw earlier were taken from there. 

 Here is the path leading to the steps of the Castle. As you come to the top of the steps you will find yourself in the Court yard, which you can see in the photo below.  

 It is an awesome sight to see something like this in the middle of a park. In the court yard itself you can get a decent view of the park. Go across the court yard and you can ascend to the top of the castle to see one of the best views in Central Park.

The Restaurant

 My favourite treasure I discovered in Central Park was a restaurant called The Loeb Boathouse. Just outside is a seating area to have a drink and something to eat. As I went inside to use the bathroom this is what I saw in the photo  below. 

 It was stunning. We did come back here to eat a couple of days later. The food was great and the wine was refreshing. 

 On the side of the restaurant is a bar area with some live music. It is a relaxing place just to drink and watch the water. Nearby people can take a boat out on the pond. 

 That concludes my list of the top five features of Central Park. You might have a completely different list than I do. There is so much more of Central Park I missed. I would love to hear your experiences and favourite places in the park, so feel free to comment.