Central Park is one of those places which is itself so many things to its guests: a running path, an animal menagerie, a sports field, a carriage track, a party space, a picnic hill, and more...but overall, a refuge in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. Since my first visit to the city years ago, Central Park became one of my favorite places in the city, and a must-see each time I visit.
In the past, I've paid a visit to the Central Park Zoo to enjoy the nice collection of animal exhibits. During the fall and winter I've walked through much of the southern end of the park checking out the ice skating rinks during the colder months, and watching the changing of the leaves in autumn. The endless paths, tunnels, lovely bridges, and foliage is a needed retreat from the hectic streets.
During this past trip, we wanted to explore even more of the great park. Since we were heading further north on Museum Mile in the Upper East Side, we decided that after leaving the Guggenheim Museum, to take the opportunity to walk across the park. I'd wanted to see the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir for a while now and so we took a stroll along the southside of this lovely lake. The walkway is a great place to get a view of the towering skyline above the water and treeline, and is one of the most popular places for runners in the city. The 1.5+ mile pathway was full of joggers the entire time we were there. The sun was nearing the "golden hour" and the ducks swam along the still water...it was a beautiful serene time in the park.
The next day we wanted to go and see the Dakota building and Levain Bakery, both in the Upper West Side, so once again used the opportunity to walk across the park and see another part. This time we chose the Sheep Meadow area, located around the 66th-69th Streets West. This 15-acre lawn actually once was a sheep pasture. Now, during the months between April and November, this lovely open space is used by tens of thousands for relaxing, picnicking, sun-bathing, and sometimes even protesting.
Years ago there used to be many concerts held here, but after making the grassy lawn more or less grass-less and just dusty, now it's a bit more calm and kept mostly perfectly manicured. Also it's kept quite peaceful as it's marked and official "quiet zone" allowing no dogs, no organized sports, and no music.