Today I joined the club of those who have fallen in love with Central Park. Since it's the last day of July, and hot as can be, the sights and sounds were a little different from my first visit back in the spring when there was still ice and snow. Here are a few photos taken as I explored the southern end of the park.
Central Park does indeed put all of the other little parks and squares of NYC to shame. On top of that, it's never as crowded as it "should" be for being in the middle of such a huge city. While the southern end does fill up with people during the day, there are so many other parts of the park that are completely empty. Of course, that's why so much of the park was a "no go zone" in the 1980's; I imagine that it is full of discreet security cameras now.
In any case, you have captured the atmosphere perfectly, htmb. All that's missing are those insane people jogging around the reservoir, but I'm sure you'll get to that.
As predicted yesterday, Mayor de Blasio has announced that car traffic will be significantly cut back in Central and Prospect parks. Central Park Drive north of 72nd Street will be closed to cars starting on June 29th, and Prospect Park West Drive between Grand Army Plaza and Park Circle will follow suit on July 6. "Prospect Park has always been my family’s backyard. That’s a sentiment New Yorkers in every borough feel about their parks," de Blasio said in a statement. "Making the loop drives in Central and Prospect Parks permanently car-free for the first time in more than a century will make these great spaces safer, healthier and more accessible to the millions who flock to them." The DOT does not anticipate any impact on travel times or additional congestion in nearby neighborhoods. Central Park has enjoyed car-free summers for the past two years, and the agency reports that it found no adverse consequences. Central Park's four transverse roads will remain open to cars, and emergency and parks maintenance vehicles will still be allowed to use the drives. The DOT is also extending the 5th Avenue bus lane to 110th Street from 7 to 11 a.m. on weekdays. “After taking several small steps over many decades, New York City is now taking a giant leap toward restoring designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s original vision,” Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, said in a statement. “Today’s historic decision will allow more New Yorkers and visitors to the city to experience two of the nation’s most famous urban refuges in the way that the parks’ creators intended.” “As we celebrate this great milestone today, we also look forward to the day when both parks are completely car-free, and we will continue our advocacy work until that happens." gothamist.com/2015/06/18/nyc_park_car_ban_map.php#photo-1
Any time cars are banned anywhere, it is a good idea. At least half of the Bois de Vincennes and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris are totally banned to motor vehicles or at least on the weekends because there is absolutely no reason for people to drive through a park, even more so if they are doing it because it is a short cut.
I can't believe I'm just now seeing this! Absolutely glorious hymn to nature and summer fun, Htmb. Your photos are so lush! So many of them are difficult, too, with lots of sun and shadow, but they're so good that they're more like windows on to that world than pictures.
I love how that turtle posed for you. And a butterfly, too. Those fluttery devils never pose for me.
Why were there algae warnings? I mean, I can see there is algae in the lake, but why would people need to be warned about it?
You really captured the feel of a sunny day in Central Park. You sure covered a lot of ground, too. I especially love your photos of Bethseda fountain and the lake. Such a pretty area.
That's great news about reducing car traffic. The city needs more car-free oases.
Got some trivia for you: that skinny skyscraper that pops up in your photos in #2 is the new 432 Park Ave, the tallest residential building in the world. It's the tallest building in NYC, taller even than 1 WTC, if you go by roof height. (There are those who consider it cheating to plunk a huge steeple on top of a building and declare it the tallest.) The views from there are insane. I'd love to befriend someone like Paul McCartney and get invited over.
I feel like I've spent an afternoon in the park, thank you! It's such an outstanding park and only more so because of its location, I honestly almost cannot take any large city seriously that lacks a big beautiful park like this in its midst. It means to me that the people who were in charge didn't really know what they were doing or just didn't care. Oh to have an apartment in the Beresford in your photos and be able to stroll out the front door and into the park.
What a superb report and fabulous photos of one of my favorite places on the planet
I fondly recall free concerts in Central Park back in the 1970's with the NY Philharmonic conducted by the late, great Leonard Bernstein. One of the concerts was all American composers, Aaron Copeland and a slew of others. I would go with a friend, bring a blanket.and of course the obligatory bottle of wine and a baguette and cheese.
I will be up there in September, my usual time to go and staying at my friends apartment on E92'd,
I am counting the days,,,,
Thank you so much for the pics.
The flowers you posted are planted and tended to by the Central Park Conservancy volunteers. They are all native species, and all labeled properly.
Another great group of shots! And good for you for getting out in this heat.
You sure gave a nice overview of what the park has to offer. I have so many fond memories of the places you featured: seeing Shakespeare in the Park, rowboating, wandering around Bethsaida fountain, going to the zoo. I even took some wedding pictures there. I got a lot of smiles and congratulations and people took my picture like I was a movie star. (I didn't have the heart to tell anyone we had already been married for months.)
I don't think 432 Park is finished yet, but there are already some apartments up for grabs, if anyone is interested.
Oh, how I would have loved to have seen Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philarmonic in the park! What a treat that must have been, Casimira.
Nycgirl, I had planned to stand in line for Shakespeare tickets today until I woke up to the early morning thunder storm. Of course, the rest of the day was clear! Maybe I'll get over there tomorrow morning, I've got my chair all ready to go.
Another great set of pictures. There are so many different areas in the park and variations of terrain that I am quite sure that people who have never been there have enormous difficulty grasping the size of the place.
I've made it to the line for free Shakespeare in the Park tickets. The performance is tonight. The good news is, there are only 25 people in front of me. The bad news is that I will have to entertain myself until the box office opens in five hours. The play is "Cymbaline."
Standing in line is the main way to obtain tickets. Each person is given two. Typically the line starts forming at 6, but I still got a good spot by arriving an hour later. Once in line, you are not allowed to leave except to use the nearby facilities. I've brought a comfortable chair and some things to read, but the poor girl next to me is sitting on the paved path. Others have blankets and a few are stretched out, catching a nap.
Everyone on my end of the line settled in for the five hour wait.
At 6:45 in the morning, the entertainment consisted of watching joggers and serious bicyclists.
The theatre staff did an excellent job of keeping order and enforcing the rules.
Several people in line near me had brought their dogs. In Central Park there is a no leash policy until 9:00, and there were dogs everywhere. This woman, who had been somewhere back behind me in line with her husband, played ball with her dog for two hours.
After 9, the nannies started showing up with strollers, and about an hour later the tourist groups began to arrive.
I'm not sure if this woman was in line, I seriously doubt it, but she did the strangest thing. As soon as her dog went into crouch position, she shoved a large piece of newspaper under his hindquarters.
As we waited, people passed the time by reading, sleeping, playing on their phones or computers, and listening to music. A local deli handed out flyers when I arrived and many people called them for food delivery. Their delivery guys on bicycles kept up a steady business.
The hardcore bicycle riders changed to the casual type.
And then, at 11:45, the order was called for everyone to get up and gather all our things. By 12:10, I was walking back to the apartment with my two free tickets.
Good for you! Cymbeline is one of those lesser-known works that I'm not familiar with. Let me know how it was.
I used to see Shakespeare in the Park every year. Some people thought I was crazy for waiting in line for so long, but I actually found it quite pleasant. There are worse things you can do than reading, napping, and eating in a beautiful park for hours. If I had someone waiting in line with me, even better. Once I even bought a tasty mojito from a cart-pushing entrepreneur. (Selling alcohol in the park is a huge no-no, though. This was a long time ago, I'd be surprised if anyone could get away with it now.)
I saw some amazing productions. Many of them, such as a Midsummer Night's Dream, are just begging to be performed in the summer under a starry sky.
Cymbeline was excellent and worth the long wait for tickets. I'm not sure I've ever seen a live Shakespeare play. Even though I had read up a bit, it still took me a little while to get into the spirit of the piece and to figure out the characters and what was actually going on. The performance was over three hours long with a fifteen minute intermission, but the time just seemed to fly by. It was that good. We had perfect weather, too.
Just wow, Htmb! Great candids of kids having fun, your trademark gorgeous depictions of water, but the wait in line for the Shakespeare tickets is a perfect mini-thread in itself. I'm with NYCGirl's friends who can't believe anyone would head out at dawn to wait in line that long, but I am happy you got the tickets and super-happy you shared that morning saga here.