New York City might be a hectic place to visit, but there is always some sort of tranquility to be found at Central Park. Covering 843 acres of land, this urban park greets 25 million visitors annually. Whether it is your first trip to the Big Apple or you are a frequent visitor, these are the five must see spots to enjoy in Central Park.
Conservatory Water: East Side from 72nd to 75th Street: Ever think you could rent a boat and sail in Manhattan? Conservatory Water provides a serene atmosphere for light boating. This pond was constructed as a reflecting pool; inspired by Parisian parks. If you're prone to seasickness, consider joining the crowd of observers and simply enjoy the cool breeze and the nice view.
Belvedere Castle: Belvedere Castle translates to "beautiful view" in Italian and anyone can visually agree with this name. Not only is it a beautiful structure, it is of importance to meteorology. In the early 20th century, it was used to take scientific measurements of wind speed and rainfall. This is still done today; to record the official New York City weather. Climb up on the two balconies for a panoramic view of Central Park's lovely greenery.
The Obelisk: New Yorkers say if you ever get lost in Central Park, look for the Obelisk, or Cleopatra's Needle. It is the oldest man-made structure in Central Park featuring a time capsule; buried beneath which includes an 1870 census, Webster's Dictionary, works of Shakespeare and a guide to Egypt.
The Granite Slide at Billy Johnson Playground: Playgrounds don't always have to be for kids; anyone can enjoy the simple pleasures of grade school fun. There are hundreds of public playgrounds in New York City, yet New Yorkers love this original structure. The playground itself is made of natural materials like stone, granite and wood. The main attraction is the granite slide; carved into the hill which provides a fun ride for kids and adults who are still kids at heart. Hint: Bring a piece of cardboard to slide on for a faster ride!
Harlem Meer: One look at the Harlem Meer and you'll think you are in the lowlands of The Netherlands. Technically, this man-made water body is named for the Dutch word for Lake: Harlem Meer means Harlem Lake. Harlem is named after the Dutch town of Haarlem; the name is a nod to the 17th Century settlers who inhabited the area. Today, it is a place to go fishing, skating and swimming. There is a wildlife habitat of fish, turtles and other animals. It is a small slice of the suburban life in New York.
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Photo: Matthew Buckley