I spent most of yesterday afternoon in Central Park and soon realized that it is one of New York City’s must see experiences.
Walking into the park is an almost surreal transformation from tall skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of cars and people to the oasis of trees and birds chirping. It even seems all the more unreal when you turn around and see what you just left.
Yesterday, I saw people relaxing in the grass on blankets, reading books, and playing games. It seemed as if many of them had decided to take refuge from the city and camp there for the day. In some respects, it looked like a campground only without the tents. Even when “camping” for the day, New Yorkers do it with a certain style you don’t see other places.
It’s also evident that people have a certain respect for the park. Shepherds Meadow is the biggest wide open space in the park—nothing but grass. If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think you were out in the country somewhere.
Many of the scenes I observed yesterday are scenes you’ve seen countless times in movies filmed there. People were roller skating in a designated area. There is also a spot for ice skating in the winter. A carousel was turning round and round with kiddos smiling and clearly enjoying themselves. I noticed a band setting up for a performance on an enormous stage. Casual bikers rode leisurely through the park while the more serious bikers talked about a route called “the loop” around the park.
A quiet place for reflection is Strawberry Fields dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. There is also a famous restaurant called Tavern on the Green which is currently undergoing renovations. I could hear people talking about when it might be completed and even saw a few of the seriously curious trying to get a peak of the work in progress.
There are places to play chess and checkers and a wonderful Visitor’s Center. There are huge rocks to climb and gazebos under which you can retreat from the heat. There is also a boat house where I ended up as my final destination of the day.
I feel like I left the park somewhat changed. It’s definitely a magical place with something for everyone. For me, on a scale from one to ten, I’d give the day a “12.”
When in New York City, definitely take the time to get out of the urban jungle and enter the beautiful oasis that is Central Park.