Designated a National Historic Landmark on May 23, 1963, it is the most visited urban park in the United States. Central Park receives approximately 35 million visitors annually and is one of the most filmed locations in the world. I was so glad that we were going to New York in the fall, as I was hoping to have a “When Harry Met Sally” moment, but it wasn’t as “fallish” as I was thinking it might be. However it was still amazing and quite magical for us that day, Gene and I got re-engaged!!! While in Central Park we decided to renew our vows on our 25th anniversary coming up. It was so beautiful, just like the park. I will tell you more about our visit, but first a little about the park itself.
It is hard to believe that the park was actually designed and constructed between 1860 and 1873. Central Park is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in New York. It is bordered on the north by Central Park North, on the south by Central Park South, on the west by Central Park West, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. The park, with a perimeter of 6.1 miles and has served as a model for many urban parks, including San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Tokyo’s Ueno Park, and Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
What I found interesting was that there were more than 10 million cartloads of material had been transported out of the park, including soil and rocks. Once that was completed, more than four million trees, shrubs, and plants representing approximately 1,500 species were transplanted to the park. More gunpowder was used to clear the area than was used at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.
In 1862 the park’s commissioners assigned a name to each of the original 18 gates. The names were chosen to represent the broad diversity of New York City’s trades. There were also sheep who grazed on the Sheep Meadow from the 1860s until 1934 when they were moved to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and soon thereafter moved to a farm near Otisville, New York in the Catskill Mountains. It was feared they would be used for food by impoverished Depression-era New Yorkers. Officials were concerned that starving men would turn the sheep into lunch.
We visited Central Park twice while in New York in October of 2015, once on the Upper Eastside when coming into the city from Hartford. We still had the car so we found a parking spot and walked around for about ½ hour. We still had to turn the car in and get back into Manhattan in time for a show that night. Wished we would have had more time, but we did get re-engaged, so it was great. We saw a bunch of people walking their dogs and riding bikes. It was a very nice visit, but I had to wonder where they filmed the scene from When Harry Met Sally, lol. I was continually in awe at all the beauty that was around us everywhere we looked. Simply exquisite.
Anyway, the other time we were also on the Eastside, but closer to the zoo. It was busier than the Upper Eastside had been, but that may have been because of the time of day. We saw a lot more of the park this time but didn’t get to see the fountain from the opening scene of Friends, Shakespeare Garden, or Strawberry Fields. I know we didn’t get to see any of the cool stuff, but we did see Wollman Rink. We just ran out of steam. We had been running around midtown all day with a friend and customer of the company I used to work with, and we were all pooped. I am usually upset and disappointed that I don’t get to see everything I want to see when I am traveling, but I fell in love with New York and I know we will be back. Thus I decided it is yet another reason to have to start planning another trip. Here is a link to their website in case you are planning your own trip to NYC. Hope you enjoyed reading about Central Park and our visit. Please comment below with any tips or hints for our next visit.
Central Park Visitors Information
The park borders the following streets and avenues:
59th Street on the South
110th Street on the North
5th Avenue on the East
Central Park West on the West
Daily – 6 AM to 1 AM
Like anywhere in NYC, parking is at a premium. It is best to take public transportation (listed below). However, if you have a car and need to park, here is a link with some ideas for parking and garages in the area.
N, R, Q Trains: These trains stop at 57th Street & 7th Avenue
2, 3 Trains: These trains run north and south with stops at 59th Street and Columbus Circle, followed by stops along Broadway at 72nd, 96th, & 110th Streets
B, C Trains: These trains run north & south along Central Park West, with stops at 72nd, 81st, 86th, 96th, 103rd, & 110th Streets
A, B, C, D, 1 Trains: These trains all stop at 59th Street/Columbus Circle. The 1 train also makes all stops along Broadway at 66th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th, 103rd, & 110th Streets.
M10: On the Westside, this bus runs north and south along Central Park West.
M1, M2, M3, M4: On the Eastside, buses run south along Fifth Avenue, and north along Madison Avenue.
M57, M66, M72, M79, M86, M96, M106, M116: These crosstown buses run West to East and East to West along 57th, 66th, 72nd, 79th, 86th, 96th, 106th & 110th Streets
From Penn Station: Take the M20 Bus from W 34th Street station heading towards Lincoln Center. Get off at Central Park South near Columbus Circle
From Grand Central Station: Take the Q32 Bus from Madison Ave and E 42nd Street station heading towards Jackson Heights, Queens. Go west on E 59th Street until you come to 5th Ave and Central Park South.
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