New York City's Central Park is a legendary destination. It offers excellent views of some of the city's finest architecture, a chance to stand on the spot where numerous movies have been filmed, and ready access to some of New York's best-known attractions.
Within the park are a number of attractions, including Wollman Ice-Skating Rink, the Central Park Zoo, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, the Conservatory Garden, the wooded paths of the Ramble, and the 55-acre Great Lawn, which holds a variety of open air concerts and has even been the site of a papal mass.
Famous landmarks of the park include Belvedere Castle, the Central Park Carousel and a Victorian folly designed to be little more than a romantic backdrop but is now an operational weather station. Scorned by some when it opened in 1871 for being too commercial, the carousel still attracts paying customers -- 250,000 people line up to take the ride each year.
Neoclassical Bethesda Fountain has been the backdrop in a number of films and television programs over the years and is a great spot for people-watching. Visitors can sit outside at the nearby Boathouse Restaurant at Central Park Lake and enjoy an evening basking in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
The 843-acre urban park begins at the top of Midtown Manhattan and divides the Upper East and Upper West Sides of the city. It extends north of New York Reservoir into Harlem at the northern boundary.
Architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won an 1858 competition to design the park, which was completed by 1873. It has since been the inspiration for other urban parks, notably Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Visiting Central Park
New York City's Central Park is open year-round, and it can be accessed from any number of points along its boundary streets: Fifth Avenue, Central Park West, Central Park North, and Central Park South.
The Eighth Avenue New York Subway Line travels the length of the park.
At Loeb Boathouse, you can rent a bicycle to explore the miles of paths winding through Central Park at leisure. Boat rentals for the lake are also available there.
A more romantic way to tour the park is by horse-drawn carriage. Visitors can grab one from the queue waiting along Central Park South between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, or make a reservation at CentralPark.com.
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