Central Park, the first landscaped public park in the history of the United States, opened in 1859. The design, submitted by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, was chosen by the Central Park Commission. During this massive New York public project, 270,000 trees were planted as well as 3 million cubic yards of soil moved. It took 20,000 workers to complete and is currently 843 acres. Apart from the infamous museums, including the MET, American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium, on the outskirts of Central Park, here are…
NYC’s 10 Best Attractions & Things to Do in Central Park
10. Shakespeare Garden. West Side between 79th and 80th Streets, Central Park. An early 20th century Victorian rock garden that only contains plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. This hidden gem is near Belvedere Castle and is used for weddings. See: NYC’s 10 Best Parks
9. Dairy. Mid Central Park at 65th Street. At the time Central Park was designed by Olmsted and Vaux, the southern end was setup for children. Olmsted envisioned families making the trip from southern Manhattan to Central Park and wanted kids attractions upon entering the park from the south. Another major concern at the time was ensuring children were given proper amounts of milk. The Dairy was incorporated to satisfy this need and ensure patrons strolling through the park could obtain fresh, quality milk for their children.
8. Bike Ride. If you want to cover more areas of the park you need a faster form of transportation than walking. Biking not only provides you with exercise but the chance to cover more ground quickly. On hot days the wind of the bike ride will make the trip more enjoyable too. You can also quickly leave Central Park if the weather turns and it starts to rain. My favorite form of exercise is to bike in Central Park, people watch, and rest by the Turtle Pond or the Pool. Call local NYC bike shops or find one of the bike vendors located at the southern end of the Central Park if you need a bike rental.
7. Carousel. Mid Park at 54th Street. The original Central Park Carousel was built in 1870, and the story goes that it was turned by a horse and a blind mule. Immediately, it became one of the parks most popular attractions. Twice destroyed by fire (1924 & 1950), it was replaced by the current vintage, brick structure in 1951. The Carousel is one of the largest in the United States and is sure to bring joy to any child or adult. Open year-round, weather permitting.
6. The Pool. Northern End of Central Park. Ahh serenity now, serenity now! A tranquil place in Central Park with one of the most beautiful of Olmsted’s landscapes. It is not as popular as many of Central Park’s southern features but one of the best including grassy banks with willow trees hanging over the water, a 14 tall waterfall, the 2 acre pool itself, and a stone bridge. Come in the winter time for ice skating.