NYC: Central Park

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Central Park is probably one of New York City’s most famous landmarks, and the park is uniquely integral to the identity of its city.

I’m no stranger to living by a huge “central park”: in Ottawa, we have the four-square kilometres Central Experimental Farm, an agricultural facility centrally located in the national capital. Okay, I know it doesn’t compare to NYC Central Park but still, same concept, right?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Central Park: some parks in large cities can be poorly maintained and downright seedy (for instance, I wouldn’t hang out in the Bois de Boulogne at night in Paris…), and in American thrillers, body parts and lurking serial killers can often be found in Central Park.

My first surprise was how posh the neighborhood was. I should have known: the park is bordered by Central Park North/South/West and the Fifth Avenue! This is prime real estate, and like when I walk on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, or in the 16e arrondissement, I couldn’t help trying to peek inside the apartment buildings. “Who can afford to live there?” I wondered out loud.

Apparently, actors, bankers, financiers and singers do. We first stopped in front of The Dakota, the apartment building where John Lennon lived, and in front of which he was shot by Mark David Chapman in 1980. Yoko Ono still lives in The Dakota, along with a bunch of famous residents.

Directly across from The Dakota apartments is the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon. The circular pathway mosaic of inlaid stones bears a single word, the title of Lennon’s famous song: “Imagine”.

We took a long walk in Central Park with a few breaks here and there to rest on the lawn (super clean, no dog poop!) or to check out the various things happening around: there was free kayaking, a gym class in progress, people doing yoga, etc. It was the weekend and the park was busy with tourists and sunbathers—funny enough, we didn’t see anyone jogging though, despite the stereotype!

Overall, I found Central Park very clean and friendly. Of course, if I was living in New York, I’ll probably go there once in a blue moon—locals tend to disregard such attractions, or never really have time to enjoy them.

We eventually exited at Grand Army Plaza, and sat on a burning hot bench for a while, watching the people coming and going.

You can see the set of pictures taken in the U.S.A. on Flickr.

The Dakota Building (where John and Yoko lived and in front of which Lennon was shot)

72nd Street and Central Park West

Strawberry Fields, The Memorial to John Lennon

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park

Central Park’s Hans Christian Andersen Statue

Golden Local

Grand Army Plaza

Street Food on Grand Army Plaza

Horse Carriages on Grand Army Plaza

Words in the Sky

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

8 Comments

  1. I love the photo of the two of you frolicking in the grass!

    My first visit to Central Park was in 2006, when I trekked to NYC from Buffalo to get a Czech visa. It was an eye-opener; it was my first visit to NYC, and I saw interesting and weird people. There were people who were dressed up and making out. I especially remember a couple, the guy was dressed as a hospital patient, on a wheelchair, and the girl was dressed up as a naughty nurse. They were making out and touching each other, at 4 PM! I seriously thought they were some weird pair, and only later did I think that they might be role-playing in public.

    My later visits were better; my sister and I had a picnic there once, and we walked the whole stretch of it one afternoon. It’s always a great respite to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

    • The stereotype of Central Park is “weird people” as you mentioned, and I’m surprised that we didn’t see any of these “characters”! It was a nice day though, so more tourists than locals around I guess. Must be a different vibe in the park when it’s off-season.

      • When I think of “Weird people” in Central Park, I recall the Daily Show interview they did on banning smoking in the Park purposely filmed in front of the loitering drunks and menaces. It was highlighting misplaced prioritites for safety in Central Park.

        Its a balance of preserving the “flavor” and getting rid of the “poison” I guess.

        • I didn’t even know smoking was banned there! I saw quite a few people having a cigarette and didn’t think twice about since it didn’t bother anyone.

  2. Are you sure Central Park isn’t a place where new yorkers do? I saw lots of locals… that’s why I think it’s nice to walk there…

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