A Walk in New York’s Central Park: A Feast for the Senses
Proving that the best things in life are often free, New York’s Central Park offers a wealth of opportunities for relaxation and for refreshing the mind and body, not just for adults but for the entire family.
Though the park can be a veritable wonderland throughout the year—it is picture-postcard-beautiful dressed in winter snow—it is in the spring and summer that all its wonders come to life. On a balmy spring day, a volunteer-led Walking Tour sponsored by the Central Park Conservancy, is not only good exercise, it is an easy way to discover the park’s history, ecology and design.
The tours, led by knowledgeable volunteer guides, last between one hour and one-and-a-half hours. There is no charge for a tour, but donations to the Conservancy are welcome. It should be noted that it is the Conservancy that maintains the park and creates all the excellent programs offered throughout the year.
The free tour itineraries include:
Amble Through the Bramble. This walk passes over streatms, under arches, through the woods along a maze of pathways in this secluded 38-acre woodland oasis.
The Castle & its Kingdom. You’ll walk around the area dominated by Belvedere Castle, which is situated high on Vista Rock. Kids will enjoy this 55-acre domain during a tour that covers nature and history.
Cross-Park Promenade. This walk is filled with surprises: a hidden bench that tells time; miniature boats powered by the wind; a magnificent sculpture that celebrates fresh water. There is more on this east-to-west walk through the park.
Conservatory Garden. Discover this glorious garden, the only formal garden in the park. Learn about its history, design, fountains, and seasonal plantings while strolling through the six-acre Italian, French, and English style gardens with a member of the garden staff.
Manhattan Adirondacks. Designed by Olmstead and Vaux to replicate the forests of the Adirondack Mountains, the North Woods has crystal streams, tumbling cascades, rustic bridges, and picturesque pools. All this in the heart of New York City.
Memorial Walk. This walk, offered only on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, combines a walk through the park with a look at how different generations of New Yorkers remember their veterans here.
A Road Once Traveled. Holding the park’s northern highlands was vital in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812—because armies could see their enemies approaching as they sailed down the East River. This tour of the Harlem Meer and its strategic environs is a favorite with history buffs.
Seneca Village. Located on land that would become Central Park, this was Manhattan’s first known community of African-American property owners. Learn about the history of the village and the property owners against a backdrop of New York life.
Views from the Past. As you walk through the heart of Central Park, learn about the park’s history, hear how designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, struggled to translate their vision into reality—and imagine living in 19th century New York City.
Waterways and Vistas. Walk from the Dairy to Belvedere Castle and learn about the intricate design of Central Park’s network of pastoral landscapes and romantic formal vistas.
Stay tuned for more about Central Park and everything that is offered—free—in this glorious environment.