So, after writing my NYC in 5 Days post, I decided I would share with you some of the hidden treasures (or gems as I like to call them) that I discovered in New York’s Central Park.
Central Park is beautiful, relaxing and scenic with many key attractions and sights waiting to be explored! The map of New York City that was given to me by my Airbnb hosts was perfect to plan my multiple visits to the park! It listed all the key sights and attractions in Central Park, so I planned to see as much of the park as possible!
If you don’t cover everything you wanted to see in Central Park, then don’t worry! You can save those sights and attractions for your next visit!
1. Imagine Mosaic
The imagine mosaic which is located in Strawberry Fields of Central Park honours the life of Beatle John Lennon who was a brilliant singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist. The location of the mosaic in Strawberry Fields was John Lennon and his wife’s favourite area of Central Park, as it was adjacent to where they lived in Dakota Apartments. The location was also named after the song “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the mosaic was built to inspire hope for a world without strife, war or conflict.
When I was visiting Strawberry Fields, there was a busker/street musician who was playing “Imagine” on his guitar, which positively contributed to an authentic Beatle’s experience!
2. Alice in Wonderland sculpture
The Alice in Wonderland sculpture was built in 1959 by José de Creeft with the goal of engaging and inspiring children to visit and experience the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s classic story. The sculpture is just over three metres (11 feet) tall and made of bronze.
Unfortunately, I did not capture the picture above; I was fooled and disillusioned because when I visited the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, this is the picture that I took:Surprisingly, the creation of this sculpture was intended to invite children and encourage them to touch, climb and crawl all over Alice and her friends in order to have an authentic Alice in Wonderland experience. I think this is a brilliant way for children to embrace Central Park.
3. Hans Christian Andersen statue
The Hans Christian Andersen statue was sculpted by Georg John Lober and unveiled in 1956 to commemorate the Danish poet’s 150th birthday. Hans Christian Andersen is a well known novelist and children’s author, and the bronze statue depicts Hans Christian Andersen sitting on a bench (made out of granite) reading from his book The Ugly Duckling.
This statue is located right near the Alice in Wonderland statue, also inviting and encouraging children to touch, climb and crawl on. In the Summer months, afternoon storytelling of Andersen’s famous tales are read to young children at the foot of the statue. Some of Andersen’s other famous tales include, The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and The Little Match Girl.
4. Bow Bridge
Situated right in the middle of Central Park by Central Park lake is Bow Bridge, one of Central Park’s most iconic spots, attracting many overseas visitors each year. Designed with Classical Greek Refinement, the cast iron bridge was constructed in the 19th century by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould.
For photographers, Bow bridge is the perfect location to capture stunning pictures of 5th Avenue and Central Park West. I highly recommend that your first stop in Central Park is a visit to Bow bridge! Here are two of my favourite pictures taken at Bow Bridge:
Another reason the Bow bridge is iconic is because it has been featured in many blockbuster movies such as:
1. Manhattan (1979) featuring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep.
2. The Way We Were (1973) starring Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand.
3. Keeping the Faith (2000) with Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman and Edward Norton.
4. Made of Honor (2008) featuring Patrick Dempsey and Michele Monaghan, and
5. Night at the Museum (2006) with Ben Stiller, Robin Williams and Owen Wilson.
The Bethesda fountain is one of the largest fountains in New York and one of the most well known fountains in the world. As the focus point within the Bethesda Terrace, it is the only sculpture to have been commissioned as part of Central Park’s original design. The nearly two and a half metre tall (8ft) angel on the top of the Bethesda fountain is known as the Angel of the Waters and represents health, purity, temperance and peace. The Bethesda fountain has also been featured in films such as When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Enchanted (2007), where in this movie the Bethesda fountain was featured as the final destination of a major singing extravaganza.
6. Conservatory Water
Conservatory water was inspired by the model boat ponds of late 19th century Paris. Designed and built by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Conservatory Water is the perfect place for both children and adults to enjoy a spot of boating. Boating season is from April-October with model boats available for rent from the Kerbs Memorial Boathouse. You might remember watching the motion picture Stuart Little (1999), where Conservatory Water boating was featured. During the winter months, Conservatory Water is open for ice skating. Border by the Alice in Wonderland and the Hans Christian Andersen statue, Conservatory Water is the perfect place for families to visit.
One of the highlights of my visit to Conservatory Water was this beautiful dancer:
7. The Loeb Boathouse
It was Calvert Vaux who built the first boathouse in Central Park; made of wood the structure stood from 1873 until it was later torn down in 1954. Maintaining the original purpose of the boathouse, a man by the name of Carl M. Loeb built a new boathouse in 1954 made of red brick and limestone which is now known as the Loeb Boathouse.
The Loeb Boathouse is the perfect place for fine dining with spectacular views of Central Park, and in addition a beautiful outdoor setting for private functions such as conferences and weddings that are regularly held there. At the boathouse you can also hire boats and enjoy a relaxing gondola ride. The Loeb Boathouse was also featured in the movie 27 Dresses (2008) starring Katherine Heigl and James Marsden.
8. The Plaza Hotel
From Central Park, I captured some beautiful photos of the Plaza Hotel. Located on 5th avenue, the Plaza Hotel was established in 1907 and is one of the most famous buildings in New York. This twenty story luxury hotel has hosted some of the most famous people in the world such as Liza Minnelli and the Beatles. The Plaza Hotel has also appeared in nearly thirty films that were captured in New York, including most famously Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
9. The Mall
The Central Park mall is the walkway leading to the Bethesda Terrace, running through the middle of Central Park. The walkway was originally designed to accommodate the width of carriages passing through, dropping off wealthy men and women to embrace and enjoy the natural surroundings. Wealthy men and women would walk along this walkway and upon reaching the Bethesda fountain, their carriages would be waiting to bring them to their next destination.
10. Sheep Meadow
Sheep Meadow in Central Park is a fifteen acre field originally designed for military drills. The history of Sheep Meadow details demonstrations, concerts and political movements that have taken place. These days, Sheep Meadow is open from May-mid October during the Summer months for sunbathing, kite flying, picnicking and relaxing, ideal for families looking for a relaxing and fun day out.
I have made a short video of my photography in Central Park, so you can click on the video below or go directly to my YouTube page! Check it out!
Share your thoughts
What are some of your favourite spots in Central Park?