Honk Hoooooonk, Honk HONK!! The sound of deafening horns whiz by you as you dash across a busy street. You make your way through crowds of suits and briefcases. In the distance you see a splash of green. Your heart starts pounding as you realize your destination is in sight. A few more blocks and you enter your haven. The smell of fresh cut grass fills your nostrils as you walk past the welcoming sign that reads: Central Park.

New York’s Central Park – A splash of green in a sea of grey

“Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” A quote I would use to describe Central Park, located in Manhattan, New York. As a nature lover, this park is my favourite part of New York City. After numerous visits, it never gets old.

Central Park truly has something for everyone. Countless tours, sporting activities, holiday festivals, and celebrations can fill every day of a yearly calendar. Its natural beauty is remarkable as it sits in a vast sea of greeny skyscrapers and a busy metropolis. I would say it’s the ultimate place to relax in this city that never sleeps.

Free tours are provided by volunteers and cover everything from history and ecology to art and design. Twelve walking tours are available throughout the year, providing fun for the whole family. Information is very accessible for these tours with several visitor centres located inside the park. Some of the more popular tours are of The Conservatory Garden, Views of the Past and The Castle & Its Kingdom.

One excursion I personally went on was The Castle & Its Kingdom tour. Interested tourists meet at the Belvedere Castle to learn of the eclectic history of this area. The tour is very informal, so you can choose to walk around and take in the sites most interesting to you. The guide talks of the tiny 55-acre realm, that sits high upon the Vista Rock in Central Park. I found this jaunt to be entertaining and informational.

Along with tours, the park provides an array of sporting activities to athletic enthusiasts. Just a smidgen of examples would be basketball, baseball, rowing, skiing, fishing, and skating. And bicycling. And croquet. And chess. If that’s not enough, I could name more. This fitness program is designed to provide activities for people to keep in shape and have fun at the same time.

New York city isn’t just filled with busy businessmen and social elites. It is home to many families needing somewhere for their children to play. One attraction all children enjoy is a carousel. Central Park has one, which houses 57 colourful horses. On any day, you will find bouncy children waiting in line to ride one of the many pretty ponies.

Every time I visit Central Park, I see something new. The majority of visits consist of me strolling along the many different paths and just seeing where they take me. Sculptures and memorials are scattered throughout the park and trees are in abundance. It has been designed in a unique way so visitors can really feel they are transported to a different place and time.

People watching is one of my favourite pastimes and this is the perfect place for it. Young, old, rich, poor, local, foreigner; they all walk amongst each other in their own little worlds. Bring a blanket and sit on the soft green grass. The sun shining through the long elm branches, the birds chirping in the distance, watch the people passing by.

I think one of the main reasons 38 million people visit Central Park every year is to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find a relaxing atmosphere. The creators of the park also had that in mind and designed quiet areas of peaceful tranquillity. With a visit to the Turtle Pond, Shakespeare’s Garden or Sheep Meadow, you will have your mind put to ease.

With taxicabs horns blaring through the streets and thousands of citizens crowding the sidewalks, there really is a necessity for a quiet retreat. I’ve pounded the pavement under the smouldering sun and just wanted a place to lounge under a shaded tree.

I found that place in Central Park. I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves this place. Do you? Is this park your ultimate escape or do you have another place you like to disappear to?

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New York City Tours, Sightseeing and Things to do

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