Monday, July 18, 2011

Trip to USA - Central Park

My favourite part of our trip was our day in Central Park.

We entered through Merchant's Gate, which you can see in this photo. In the background is the USS Maine National Monument built in 1913.

Central Park, as its name suggests, is located in the centre of the city, between Fifth and Eight Avenues and between West 110th and West 59th Streets. From inside the park, you can see the buildings of the city.

Central Park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963. It covers 843 acres (341 ha). According to Wikipedia, "While foliage in much of the park appears natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. The park contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds that have been created artificially, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks (one of which is a swimming pool in July and August), the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, a 106-acre (43 ha) billion-gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater, called the Delacorte Theater, which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature centre, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel. In addition, there are numerous major and minor grassy areas, some of which are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and there are a number of enclosed playgrounds for children."

This is Strawberry Fields, a 2.5 acre site within Central Park, dedicated to the memory of John Lennon who was killed outside his apartment building which is next to Central Park. Countries from all around the world contributed trees and Italy donated this iconic mosaic.

We popped out of the park to see John Lennon's apartment building and then popped back in again. We walked through the park to get to the American Museum of Natural History, and after our visit there, came back to the park. We popped out again to visit the museums on the opposite side of the park - the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim - and popped back in after that. Yes, we did a LOT of walking that day!

What I especially loved about Central Park was its natural organic feel. In Singapore, I love going to the Botanic Gardens, but that is completely different. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is literally a garden - everything is manicured, trimmed and pruned to perfection, each tree even has its own name plate. Central Park, although almost completely landscaped, feels like a natural wonder.

Most of the benches in the park have a metal plate with a dedication. I loved going around reading them.

Here Richard is standing with Belvedere Castle in the background.

This is the Conservatory Water, which is a pond for model boats. You can rent a remote-controlled boat or put your own in the water.

There are a total of 29 sculptures in the park. This is Alice in Wonderland. Ryan climbed right up.

Hans Christian Andersen.

The park has so many different "feels" as you walk through it. Every couple hundred metres, it will turn into something completely different. The landscape is so interesting. It's also very lively, with lots of people going about their day.

This is Bethesda Fountain. Behind it, you can see the lake where people go boating or kayaking.

This is Literary Walk. There are lots of statues of notable people along the path.

Horse-drawn carriage. We didn't go on any rides though.

We walked until we could not walk anymore. After trekking up and down and across the park and back again, plus exploring the museums, we were puffed. I had huge blisters on both feet, thanks to my brilliant move of wearing my brand-new shoes, bought just the day before at the outlets. I had been feeling the pain for several hours already, but just wanted to keep on going so as not to waste the perfect day we were having. Richard was wearing his new shoes too, but his were sneakers.

Anyway, it was actually quite late in the evening already so it was time to go so we went off. We had to give the Central Park Zoo a miss, as it was almost closing time. The Zoo is home to an indoor rainforest, a leafcutter ant colony, a chilled penguin house and a Polar Bear pool.

Here's a map of Central Park. We started at the south, at 59th Street, walked up to the north end, where the American Museum of Natural History was. After our trip to the Museum it was back into the park to see what we could see and then over to the other side, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, then back into the park again to see the rest of the park, then back to 59th Street to our hotel. The park is 4 km long and 0.8 km wide.

Image from Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

hope you knew that the Met has a recommended admission price of $25 but that means they recommend or suggest, and most New Yorkers or people who know pay between a quarter to a $1 for admission to the Met.

See this:

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Anonymous! No, we didn't know that! Thanks so much for the tip - will definitely pass on the info! Thanks for dropping by!

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