What are the Main Attractions in New York City's Central Park?


I cannot imagine New York City without Central Park. Central Park has got to be the most beautiful park in the world. And I should know because I've walked the park for almost 8 years. Inevitably someone will ask me what is so great about Central Park. This question would never come from anyone who has ever been to the park as its qualities are gloriously apparent.

So to answer the question for those who have never been...what makes Central Park so splendid is the variety and quality of the structures and landscape. It compliments the city perfectly. It is like the perfect pairing of fine wine with an excellent gourmet meal.

I used to get up at 5:00 am to go jogging with my little Pomeranian named Poppy in the park. At that time it was still dark and in most instances we were the only people (and canine) in the park. I think Poppy thought that all of Central Park was his personal back yard and at 5:00 am I kind of thought that too. It was a magical time. I did this for about 2 years and nothing bad ever happened to me in spite of hearing (for as long as I could remember) the warning to never go into the park at night. I figured at 5:00 am all the bad guys were probably asleep and like I said nothing bad ever happened to me. And when it snows!  Lord, there is nothing like going for a run in Central Park in the wee hours of the morning when it snows.  It's glorious!

A few facts about Central Park: The park is 6 miles long if you walk around it and 843 acres making it 6% of Manhattan's total acreage. It was built in 1857 and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux who won a landscaping contest for the park. It was the first landscaped public park in the United States. Prior to the creation Central Park was wilderness, swamps and bluffs. In fact, when the Dakota was built on 72nd and Central Park West across from the park they named the Dakota “The Dakota” because anyone who lived there was considered living in the Dakotas, so far away. During the Great Depression, Central Park was the location of Hoovervilles, what we would call tent cities now. The park separates the upper east side from the upper west side and is between 59th Street and 110th .

The following are some of the main attractions of the park:

  1. Bethesda Fountain: The Angel of the Bethesda Fountain watches over all of Manhattan...maybe just maybe the most beautiful spot in the park!

  2. Neuman Hall: Free Concerts and Plays..need I say more?

  3. Wollman's Ice Skating Rink: Just the most perfect spot to ice skate in the entire friggen country!...maybe the world but I haven't been everywhere in the world so I don't want to exaggerate.

  4. Belvedere's Castle: With a couple of glasses of wine you can almost imagine it's a real castle, sometimes even without the wine!

  5. Sailboat Pond: Wonderful place to sit and watch the world and toy sailboats go by.

  6. Jackie Onassis Reservoir: Great spot for an early morning run, but make a note of it, no dogs allowed.

  7. The Boat House: Taking a ride in a row boat in Central Park should be on everyone's bucket list!

  8. The Bridal Trail: Every once in awhile you'll hear someone playing bagpipes on this trail. I'm not sure if it's a real person or a ghost.

  9. Shepherds Meadow: Perfect spot to sun bath or play catch with the kids.

  10. The Marionette House: If you have young children..this is a must see place as they have free marionette shows. OK, I don't have young children and I still like it...think Hansel and Gretal house.

  11. The Zoo: What would any park be without a zoo? Not the most extensive zoo in the world but a nice stop as you are exploring the park.

  12. Baseball Fields: Is there anything better than watching a baseball game on a Sunday afternoon?

  13. The Carousel: Very romantic even if you don't have kids.

  14. Anywhere in the park when it snows: I cannot do justice with my words when trying to describe the park when it snows. It is absolutely stunning, like a fairy tale in real life.

I consider myself most fortunate to have lived near Central Park during my stay in Manhattan. I am richer for having experienced the beauty that unfolds when man combines his talents with God's creation and that is exactly what Central Park is!

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Comments 31 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I love Central Park. It is magnificent.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Yes it is, thanks for commenting breakfastpop.

Nan Mynatt 5 years ago

Brie New York is a fascinating place to visit and I'm sure to live. However there is not much fresh air in the crowded city. It's very crowded, and most of our money business comes from NY. I like open space.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

I'm glad because if everyone liked it ...it would be even more crowded. I don't like open space, it makes me nervous :)

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

Thankyou for the pictures and describing it. I would love to see the Park...maybe sometime when I visit my daughter I will see if she will take me to the Park...(should make up for all the times we took her to the park as a kid)

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

Hi Again Brie, hope you aren't thinking I'm a stalker, but I went to your You Tube and watched your video about the "Loft in NY"...really cool. You should definitely make more videos...you could get a following.

I have been thinking of doing videos also, but haven't figured how to utilize my lovely camera that way. My youngest daughter is more technical and could probably show me, but then she might investigate what I am doing. She thinks I am a little off the wall at times.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Glad you like it Enlydia. I know I should do more but there is only so much time in a day :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi Brie,

What a great hub with pictures and video clips.

Thank you for sharing.

Take care


majicat profile image

majicat 5 years ago

Great post, Brie! Visiting Central Park at five in the morning is now on my bucket list. I wonder what the birds in Central Park sound like at dawn.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

They are a little groggy but they come around. What you do have to watch for are racoons. I've seen some that early in the morning.

Johnny Parker profile image

Johnny Parker 5 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

Did you know that Olmstead's design was inspired by his previous visit to Birkenhead Park in England, which was the first public park in the world. Up until that time parks were for the well to do and ordinary 'workers' were excluded.

I know this because I live in Birkenhead and visit the park regularly. Unfortunately it doesn't have the magnficent backdrop of the Manhatten skyline!

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I visited Central Park once when I was in NY. It is a jewel of Manhattan, and larger than many people think. It gets a tough and often unfair rap by others who warn of the crime and violence, so I thank you for this wonderful hub!

majicat profile image

majicat 5 years ago

I use to do rehab work for animals in distress here in Boise, Idaho. I had a family of raccoons here for a while and decided that the farm here was large enough to support them so one morning I just turned them loose. I'll see them here in the early morning hours and the unfortunate thing is that they have at times helped themselves to my chickens. but I believe that one world is enough for all of us, so I give them their space. I have been fortunate that I am able to do that. I have even had deer bed themselves down in my pasture land although since I have lived here, this historic farm has been swallowed up by the city.

The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

As I read this I had fond memories of the horse drawn buggy ride we experienced once upon a year back in the late 70's. It is like an oasis within the bedlam that is New York City.

Excellent my friend and beautifully done.

The Frog

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Thanks Frog Prince, I am so lucky to be able to visit it everyday.

Druid Dude profile image

Druid Dude 5 years ago from West Coast

Born NY'er here. Love NY, love CP. Living on the west coast, but intend to visit Strawberry Fields this yr or next. Like the hub! A lot!

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Great, glad you like it!

rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

Nice hub, Brie. I can't imagine Manhattan without Central Park. Not only is it beautiful, but a very needed place of nature and beauty in the world's fastest paced city! I loved walking through the park and seeing all the different kinds of people and their pets!

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

No two walks are alike..it's so great. I should have written this hub a long time ago. Thanks for commenting rebekah

bolt1951 5 years ago

you well know and one thing that alot of people don't know about certain parts of NYC is that you might be walking by a building and not realize that alot of those buildings have some of the best reataurants in the world. Little is known about them simply because they tend to cater to big businesses for meetings and so on. however anyone can eat there the prices are a bit up there but not so out of hand where a regular schmo couldn't afford it unless they make an unwise decision to go everyday. As a matter fact one of them happens to be directly across the street from the 5th Ave library on the 42 st side. take care and Peace to all.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

What's the name of it? Inquiring minds need to know :)

nextstopjupiter profile image

nextstopjupiter 5 years ago from here, there and everywhere

I enjoyed it to walk around in Central Park when I visited NY in the 1990s, thanks for this hub!

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

It's time for a second visit ...don't you think?

SUSANJK profile image

SUSANJK 5 years ago from Florida

It always amazing to walk in Central Park after being in the hustle bustle of NYC.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Yes, very centering don't you think?

bolt1951 5 years ago

Brie, I wish I could remember, but it's been over 40 years since that time, I hardly remember Yesterday!!!!

But There many of them as a matter fact at one time they had a freak club that was up on a building like the 5 or 6t floor it was called platos retreat, was well know for it's mischief. didn't last long either.But one thing I am Curious about is The apartment on 5th ave? Simply because there are but a number of ways to live on 5th ave unless it's way up north where harlem begins. So this is my view your either Dustin's daughter, You inherited, it belongs to a family member Or someone adores you to the core. and Chances are it's and Owned apartment or Co-op. The photo with the walkway with trees lined on both sides is an amazing walkway lot's of magicians, people just playing their music. and in the seventy's you would see lot's of folks with a boom box attached to their shoulder while roller skating to the beat! and I must say some were incredible shape not an easy task but they sure made it look easy.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Do you mean the apartment on Park Avenue?

bolt1951 5 years ago

Opps...yes Park Ave not much of a difference when you live in any of those areas, if their so close to central park most are in the millions. I'm not trying to be in your business but you did mention that some day you would talk about how you were able to do that. Just curious not really an important question. I have a friend who lived in central park west and got the apartment before they started turning them into co-ops and while they still had rent control they started turning all the apartments into co-ops and couldn't touch his he was only paying around $450. a month and if he is still alive he is still paying that much.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 5 years ago from Manhattan Author

Email me through the contact forum and I will tell you.

Joanne M Olivieri 3 years ago

I have never been but would love to see and experience it one day. I was getting excited just reading about it here. Great info and photos.

Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 3 years ago from Manhattan Author

I hope you get a chance to visit, everyone should experience NYC at least once in thier lives.

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