As one of the most treasured locations in New York City and perhaps one of the most famous recreation areas in the entire world, Central Park is 843 acres of beautiful serenity in the middle of a city that never sleeps. It is filled with many man-made lakes, beautiful landscaping, and recreational facilities such as tennis courts, ice rinks, baseball fields, fountains, playgrounds, and theaters.
The Park is also home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Central Park Zoo. Situated between 59th and 110th Street and between Fifth and Eighth Avenues, Central Park must be seen to be believed. You can drive one of our cheap car rentals throughout the Park during the week, however, vehicles are not permitted inside the Park on weekends. Come soon and be one of over 20 million people who visit Central Park each year!
Did You Know? Interesting Facts about Central Park
- You can tell where you are in the Park by reading the first two digits on the lampposts, which will tell you the nearest numbered street.
- Until 1863, Central Park only went to 106th Street until it was extended to 110th Street.
- You can grab a drink of water from 125 drinking fountains located throughout the Park!
- The very first carousel in Central Park was powered by real horses that walked on a treadmill in 1871.
Central Park Attractions
Central Park runs from 59th street, called Central Park South up to 110th street called Central Park North, bordered by Central Park West and 5th Avenue. The park is just over 150 years and was created by legendary designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It is a manmade park but has truly become what the designers had originally envisioned, an oasis for city dwellers to relax and enjoy nature. The park has also developed over the years to be a must-see for visitors worldwide, so definitely takes some time to explore its beauty.
This is the most popular and most easily accessible area that runs from 59th street to 72nd street. Popular attractions include the Sheep’s Meadow, the Carousel, the Zoo, and Wildlife Center, Wollman skating rink, the Naumberg Bandshell on the Mall, statue of Balto, Tavern on the Green, and rowboats on the lake around Bethesda Terrace. A leisurely half-day can be spent here wandering around the paved walkways and ending up with lunch at the Boathouse overlooking the lake. Horse carriage and pedicab rides can be found around 59th street and 5th avenue. The pedicab rides are more environmentally friendly and recommended over the overpriced ($70+), smelly, and who-knows-what-kind-of-animal-rights-the-horses-get carriage rides.
This part of the park runs from 72nd up to around 90th street. Attractions here include the Ramble, the Shakespeare garden and theater, Belvedere Castle, the Great Lawn, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Quieter than the southern end, this area is nice to stroll around and watch the sunset over the reservoir. In the summer free tickets to Shakespeare in the Park can be obtained from the Delacorte Theater. Towering over the Great Lawn is the Belvedere Castle and nice skyline views can be seen from there as well. Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art is just a quick walk from the Great Lawn.
The least visited but still very interesting area runs from the top of the reservoir to 110th street. Urban families make use of the northern area and you will see more diversity up there. Bird watchers will love the quiet North Woods, with its rambling paths and leafy old trees. Lasker pool has free swimming in the summer and free ice-skating in the winter. Harlem Meer and the Conservatory Garden are next doors to the pool and a quiet and picturesque stroll can be found.
Central Park Conservatory Garden
Central Park Conservatory Garden located on Fifth Avenue at 105th Street, phone (212) 310-6600. Offers Free admission for all visitors, 8 am-dusk.
The garden is considered one of the jewels in the crown of all Central Park. There is simply nowhere in Manhattan that there such a varied and wide collection of blooming plants. The Conservatory Garden is home to thousands of flowering trees and shrubs, annuals, and perennials. The garden covers six acres and has a geometric design that contrasts sharply with the soft, natural contours of the rest of the park. Its unique design consists of three interlocking sections: the northernmost garden is French in style, where you’ll find the Untermyer Fountain with its dancing nymphs surrounded by concentric rings of flowerbeds; the central section is based on Italian models and its skillful terracing allows views of the entire garden; the south section is based on classic English designs.
The Conservatory Garden was requisitioned in 1934 by City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, the garden was completed only in the mid-1980s. Its gates originally belonged to the Cornelius Vanderbilt mansion, razed in 1927, which stood on Fifth Avenue near Grand Army Plaza.
Take the A /C or B/D or 1 train to the 59th street stop.
For local train service to 72nd, 81st, 86th, 96th, 103rd, 110th stay on the C or B trains.
There is a bus service heading south on 5th avenue not recommended for a long distance.
About Central Park
Who hasn’t heard of the marvelous wonder called Central Park in New York? It is 843 acres of unspoiled beauty that runs the length of a few city blocks in NYC. Created by the genius Calvert Vaux and Fredrick Law Olmstead, Central Park has beautifully crafted topographical aspects along with classic architecture, and gorgeous statuary. But, don’t make the mistake of categorizing Central Park as a run-of-the-mill park meant only for strolls and dog walks. The up-to-date games and performance facilities make Central Park a much sought after venue for all kinds of social, cultural, and sports events.
Central Park first opened its doors to visitors in 1859. The plan submitted by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux was known as the “Greenswald Plan” and their aim was to combine both pastoral and formal elements harmoniously throughout the park. Central Park caters to people of all kinds. For those who want a formal walkway, there is The Mall and Literary Walk, and for those that look for something wilder and more rustic, there is the woodsy area of the Ramble.
Central Park is home to several attractions, the most popular of which is the Central Park Zoo. Located on Manhattan’s Central Park, the zoo has a diverse collection of animals that attracts over a million visitors annually. A certain section of the zoo has been modeled after a rainforest while another replicates the Arctic habitat. The zoo has seals, penguins, snakes, sea lions, monkeys, and birds. The Tisch Children’s Zoo, located just a short walk from Central Park, offers a great interactive environment to children who can pet and feed animals. Certain areas have been demarcated where they can climb and explore the territory to their heart’s content.
Speaking of children, yet another attraction of the zoo that is bound to fascinate them is the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sculpture. Alice sits atop a mushroom and holds a court with her friends The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, The White Rabbit, The Cheshire Cat, the shy little Dormouse, and Alice’s Cat Dinah. This statue was commissioned by philanthropist George Delacorte, and it is said that the ‘Alice’ in this sculpture closely resembles the daughter of the sculptor, José de Creeft.
As mentioned before, Central Park is a very popular venue for various public events. One of the events currently on is the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, which ends on Dec 24. This is a market that is held annually and attracts people in great numbers as they jostle with each other to pick out a unique Christmas gift for their friends and family. You can buy anything from handmade and imported decorations, ornaments, art, jewelry, and leather goods, to toys, pet accessories, and clothing.
Additional Resources for Central Park
Central Park Overview
This web page is a great overview of Central Park, including things to do in the park, sports activities, and a historical look into the past. It also features interesting tidbits about the park and Did You Know? facts.
Central Park Zoo
With almost one million visitors per year, the Central Park Zoo has been a favorite New York City attraction for all ages since it was opened in 1998. This official web page provides information about the zoo, hours of operation and rates, directions to the zoo, and details about special exhibits. It also features information about what can be found in the zoo and what animals can be seen.
History of Central Park
This important and fascinating web page provides an interesting historical time frame of Central Park from the mid-1800’s all the way up to the present day. It also details many statues throughout the park, lists what famous movies have used the Park as a backdrop, and seeks to show how Central Park fits in with today’s popular culture. Be sure to try and spot your favorite movie scenes when you’re driving around in one of our cheap car rentals! Central Park Sights – http://www.ny.com/sights/neighborhoods/central_park.html This unique web page is devoted to the magnificent sights that can be seen throughout Central Park. It provides information on a driving loop for our cheap car rentals throughout Central Park and gives the exact location of chosen sights.
Central Park Summer Stage
Provides information about the free artistic presentations in New York City’s Central Park and also offers a listing of upcoming concerts, events, and VIPS. Choose to get involved or learn more about the talented artists of Summer Stage! Whatever you do, our cheap car rentals can get you there affordably and in class!
Central Park Tourism
This terrific web site takes you step by step throughout your visit to New York City and highlights great things to do and see with our cheap car rentals throughout the park’s expansive 843 acres. You’ll enjoy candid photos and helpful suggestions.
Central Park Conservancy
This official web site for the Central Park Conservancy has a listing of things to do, a comparison of Central Park “Then and Now,” and the opportunity to visit a “virtual park.” You can order information booklets, plan your wedding in the park, and even view beautiful pictures of New York’s most famous recreation area. You can also plan out your route for your visit to the Park with one of our cheap car rentals.