As much as New Yorkers love the hustle and bustle of the city, sometimes we just need a place to recharge our batteries. For me, one of those places is Central Park. One reason why I enjoy Central Park so much is that it is different every time I go. As the seasons change, the trees and flowers change too. Around a corner may be a musician I’ve never heard before or a statue I’ve not noticed previously. There’s always a new path to take. Or, if I want to sit on a bench and watch the world go by, the park is the perfect location for people watching.
During a recent walk through the southern portion of Central Park, I enjoyed the last remnants of Autumn. Although many leaves had already fallen to the ground, the trees still had enough color to make the park picturesque. This was true even though it was a blustery, overcast day.
I like to explore the park without a plan in mind, choosing paths on a whim and trying to find small treasures I’ve never found before. There are also numerous rock formations that are fun to climb on. They provide a different perspective of the park and surrounding areas.
Of course, Central Park is also known for its ice skating rinks, which are now open for the season. Here’s a photograph of people skating at the Wollman Rink, located at the southern end of the park. The buildings along 59th Street overlook the location.
The southern end of Central Park also has some intriguing buildings to explore. First, there is the Chess and Checkers House, located on top of a small hill. Inside the Chess and Checkers House, you can check out chess or checkers pieces and play on the permanent boards located outside. Unfortunately, the day I was there it was a little cold for outdoor checkers! On the weekends, there is also space available to play games inside.
Nearby is the Dairy, built in 1870. In its early days, it offered milk to the city’s children; now, it hosts a park information kiosk. The Dairy’s ornate gingerbread trim makes it picturesque.
A third building is located near the Chess and Checkers House as well: the building housing Central Park’s vintage carousel.
There are quite a number of statues scattered across Central Park, and on this visit I went looking for a few of them. The first one I found was Indian Hunter, an 1866 sculpture by John Quincy Adams Ward. I think it made for a striking photograph, especially with the chartreuse green of the trees behind it.
Near a statute of Christopher Columbus I stumbled upon a musical performance by a group called the Good Morning Nags. The band has a great sound, somewhat a cross between bluegrass, folk, and rock. (Their Facebook page calls it American roots rock.) A number of people had stopped to listen, and I did too for a couple of songs. It was quite a treat.
A short distance behind the band was another John Quincy Adams Ward statue, this one of William Shakespeare.
Another sculpture that caught my eye was Christophe Fratin’s Eagles and Prey. Fratin created the sculpture in 1850, and it was brought to Central Park in 1863. (The Central Park website states that this statue is the oldest known statue in any New York City park.)
Before I left that day, I decided to head to the Bethesda Terrace and fountain. A series of steps leads downwards to the terrace and fountain, overlooking the Lake. There are beautiful stone details everywhere you look, including some charming and quirky stone carvings.
Here’s a good photograph of the fountain, with the Lake in the background. You can rent rowboats at the nearby Boathouse if you wish to go out on the lake.
The interior of the terrace has interesting architectural details. The ceilings are covered in beautiful tiles, and the walls display lovely colored frescoes.
There was one final bonus as well–A singer, part of a group known as Infinity’s Song, was singing at the bottom of the steps. She had a full, rich voice, and she accompanied herself on the guitar. Her performance made for the perfect end to this particular park walk.
There never an end to the adventures that can be had in Central Park–I’m sure I’ll have additional posts about other park walks in future posts. Stay tuned!