Hidden secrets of Central Park

New-York, the financial capital of the world, the city of the most powerful corporations in the world, the city of Spider-man. New-York, the city that never sleeps. Still, in the heart of the city, everyone can discover one of the most beautiful and amazing park in the world. It’s where New Yorkers go to walk or play. It is where they go to get a breath of fresh air.

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, this wonderful park in Manhattan, which lies between 59th and 110th streets and between Fifth and Eighth avenues, was created in 1857. At that time, the land was covered with swamps, rocks and housings. New Yorkers believed such a park in New York would give the city an international reputation. People were expelled and housings pulled down. 500,000 trees were planted and the construction lasted 19 years.

Today the park is home to tennis courts, croquet greens, a carousel, a zoo, a castle and dozens of playgrounds. It is crisscrossed by horse-drawn carriages and surrounded by luxury apartments and world-renowned museums. Funny story, in the 1850s, the pathways of the roads were designed to be curved so you couldn’t race in your horse carriage.

Yet, despite being highly sought after, there are quiet trails and hidden nooks within the park where one can find a peaceful and timeless Manhattan, giving city dwellers access to the natural world. Let me take you to some of my favourite hidden gems of Central Park.

North woods:

This area is surrounded by deciduous trees, a stream valley and boulders. On a sunny day when the vast great lawn is swarming with people, the North woods are an invitation to a journey in the countryside. Inside these woodlands designed to block out the skyline and the noise of the city, you can find pools where ducks nestle beneath weeping willows and birds gather during migration. Heading further north to Harlem Meer you can have a catch-and-release fishing.

Shakespeare Garden

It is one of the most unique gardens. Every flower was handpicked and mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. What’s remarkable is that no matter what time of the year you visit, there will always be blooming flowers.

Bank Rock Bay

As we continue, keep an eye out for varied wildlife and rare birds at Bank Rock Bay, the narrow inlet of water at the northern tip of the Lake.  There, the scenic Oak bridge was recently restored to look like the original bridge of 1860.

Ice Rink

As for the southern end of the Park, I would strongly recommend that your put your ice skates on and live the magic of the ice rink in Central park during winter. It becomes a magical place !

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

We finish our journey in the true jewel of Central park: the four-acre Hallett Nature Sanctuary. After being closed for decades to the public to preseve its birds and flora, the sanctuary has reopened in 2001. Considered as one of the wildest area in Central Park, it is the perfect place to unwind and to escape the city.

By Dylan Labi and Dorian Durand-Bidaou


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