Homage To Central Park

Central Park – Reflections at the pond

I first visited Central Park when I was attending an acting course at New York City’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts in the summer of 2014. It was quite incredible to see this huge park in the middle of a megacity like New York; when you are walking through Central Park, you start to forget about being in a city, since you find yourself immersed in a beautiful natural environment. Only the outline of skyscrapers reminds you that the park finds itself in the middle of an urban space, and it makes you feel at peace with yourself and the world around you.

I spent my first day in Central Park with my classmates walking the Mall and Literary Walk (which is lined with statues of famed writers like Shakespeare), watching soap bubble artists at work and observing trees on a wonderful summer morning, with the sun peeking through the treetops. We got French fries at Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse and spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the grass, watching the boats on the Lake and taking group pictures with my Canon 1000D.

In that month of July, we were back in Central Park to attend the Club Classics Live! concert, which was part of the line-up for the Central Park SummerStage Festival, an outdoor music festival held every year at Rumsey Playfield; it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (videos from the event are still available on YouTube, so you will notice that the atmosphere was really one-of-a-kind). The audience was very excited to be part of it and the artists played some famous disco hits like Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real” and Ultra Naté’s “Free”. Whenever I rewatch videos from that day in Central Park I feel emotional and it brings tears of joy and nostalgia to my eyes. It was truly one of those moments when you feel part of something beautiful and engaging.

La Nature - Central Park.
Central Park Lake
Frites - Central Park.
French Fries – The Loeb Boathouse
The Strand Central Park kiosk

I remember Central Park as a peaceful, harmonic place; Sophia, my British friend at the Academy, told me Central Park was probably her favorite place in the city, since it reminded her of London’s numerous parks. We had a great time walking through the park in the evening as well, when we managed to take pictures by the pond at dusk; for me, it felt like being a character in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Over the years I have had the chance to appreciate the quietness and natural beauty of this green oasis on multiple occasions; I visited Central Park again with my mother and she fell in love with the area surrounding the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, which can be spotted in many scenes from movies and TV shows set in New York (Ralph Lauren chose it as the location for the label’s 50th anniversary fashion show).

I also got to spend some afternoons in Central Park reading Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids”, which is set in New York, and wandering around the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, from whose rooftop you can enjoy a magnificent view of the park. I even sat on a bench which had a great inscription on it (one can adopt benches in Central Park, even though it is very expensive).

Central Park At Dusk.
Central Park – Evenings by the pond
The Tree of Life.
Under a Central Park tree
Inscription on a Central Park bench
Central Park Trees.
Central Park: nature photography

There is a lot to see in Central Park, and I woud love to visit during the cold months because it would be great to witness the beautiful autumn foliage or the trees covered in snow; from late October to April the ice rink is open to the public, so iceskating is the perfect activity for people who are visiting New York in the wintertime. However, if you choose to visit the city in the spring, you will surely be able to appreciate the cherry tree blossoms, especially in mid-April and during the first weeks of May. The Strand, which is my all-time favorite bookstore, has its own Central Park kiosk on 60th Street and 5th Avenue (just outside the park, when the weather allows), so make sure you stop by because you may find some interesting books to purchase!

On my list of places I have yet to see in the park is the Alice in Wonderland statue and the Conservatory Garden (which is probably the most peaceful and natural area in the park); I also would like to revisit Strawberry Fields, a memorial to John Lennon, and the Central Park Zoo.

Central Park is certainly a landmark not to be missed when you are visiting New York City and I hope that its beauty will always be preserved; spending time in the park is an experience that contributes to people’s mental well-being in a world that runs too fast.

NYC Skyline + Central Park.
Central Park and the NYC skyline as seen from the Met rooftop
Central Park - Summer Days.
Sunlight peeking through the trees
The Tree that Grew from Concrete.
The tree that grew from concrete
Central Park Trees.
The beauty of nature in Central Park

All pictures are my own.

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