NYC – Fall (or any season) Walks in Central Park

As we say farewell to summer and get ready to enjoy the spectacular beauty of fall, we can find the changing leaves along the many paths of Central Park. The Park can also be a place to get refreshed from the sun’s warming rays and is something that is very pleasant and easy to do.

To begin with, I found an article written by Rachel Brown, who described two walks which are very accessible from midtown. Also, I have added my own personal recommendations. Ms. Brown wrote for the CP Conservatory as well as her own blog.
Often, I am asked about the location of specific sites. Sometimes the answer is more confusing than it should be. Below, each walk has highlighted some of the sites that you could visit. It is not a detailed map but, at least, it lets you know what is in the area of your walk.
CENTRAL PARK SOUTHERN SECTION

 

Wein-walk
Wallach Walk

I think it’s best to start your walk from the southwest corner of 59th St. and 5th Ave by the Pulitzer Fountain. It’s easy to find the spot because the statue is located directly in front of the Plaza Hotel’s main entrance. By wandering the winding the pedestrian paths, towards 72nd Street, you will be passing a pond, rocky outcrops, bridges, open fields, and skyline views If you follow the pathways you will end up at 72nd St. and Central Park West

LOWER SECTION Sites include Grand Army Plaza~ The Plaza Hotel~ Central Park Zoo ~The Pond~ The Dairy~ The Mall and Literary Walk~ Bethesda Terrace and Fountain Sheep Meadow~ Strawberry Fields ~The Dakota Apartments

Addition Features 
  • Hallett Nature Sanctuary – Surrounded by the Pond at the southeast corner of Central Park is the four-acre Hallett Nature Sanctuary, a peaceful haven just feet away from some of Central Park’s busiest paths.- East Side from 60th-62nd Streets

  • Sheep Meadow is a  peaceful expanse of green that inspires calm and refreshing thoughts just by looking at the meadow.- West Side from 66th to 69th Streets
  • Umpire Rock is one of the best examples of Central Park’s rich endowment of exposed bedrock, Umpire Rock is likely named for its commanding view of nearby baseball diamonds. Central Park has an unusually rich endowment of exposed, ancient bedrock People love to climb them too) -West Side at 63rd Street

 

CENTRAL PARK MIDDLE SECTION

A second walk focuses on the middle of Central Park, starting in front of the beautiful American Museum of Natural History. You even get to see the pond where Stuart Little raced his sailboat in the children’s movie! Don’t forget to bring along your camera, there are so many awesome photo opportunities in this park. You can start walking from the park entrance directly across the street from the American Museum of Natural History at the intersection of Central Park West and 79th Street and if didn’t do the lower section you could go south and end up at Bethesda Terrace, on the 72nd Street Traverse through Central Park.

MIDDLE  SECTION Sites include: American Museum of Natural History~The Swedish Cottage~Shakespeare Garden~Belvedere Castle~ Turtle Pond~The Delacorte Theatre (Shakespeare in the Park)~The Great Lawn~Cleopatra’s Needle~ The Ramble~The Lake~The Conservatory Waters~Bethesda Terrace

Addition Features
  • Strawberry Fields is a living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, West Side between 71st and 74th Streets.
  • The Ramble is a 36-acre “wild garden.”  Central Park’s designers imagined a tranquil spot where visitors could stroll, discover forest gardens rich with plantings, and meander Mid-Park from 73rd to 79th Streets. along the paths. This truly is a place for the urban explorer to escape the city and get utterly lost in nature.
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  • Turtle Pond – Like all of the other water bodies in Central Park, Turtle Pond is man-made, filled with New York City drinking water. It is the home to five species of turtles who live in the Pond year-round. Mid-Park between 79th and 80th Streets.
  • Bow Bridge -The first cast-iron bridge in the Park (and the second oldest in America), the bridge was built between 1859 and 1862. Bow Bridge is named for its graceful shape, reminiscent of the bow of an archer or violinist. Mid-Park at 74th Street west of Bethesda Terrace, connecting Cherry Hill and The Ramble.
  • I have explored many walks in Central Park and I recently published a short article – A pre Fall Walk. It is a brief highlight of specific parts of the park.
I am working on material that will cover the upper part of the park. Most people know that Central Park is big.  Unfortunately, most people don’t know how big it really is because they only explore the southern and middle portions. 

 

The NYC Arches -Grand Army Plaza – Washington Square Park – Others you may have missed

What is the most recognizable monument in Paris? – Would it be the The Arc de Triomphe?  In NYC, we have several to select from but at least one person from Brooklyn may be more familiar with the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza.

The Grand Army Plaza was designed as the main entrance to Brooklyn’s well-known Prospect Park.

The soldiers and Sailors Monument dominates the Plaza – it is quite an impressive arch!Inside the arch are wonderful equestrian relief sculptures of Lincoln and Gran

The statues that sit about halfway up the arch represent “The Spirit of the Army” and “The Spirit of the Navy”. They were added around 1900 Statues  on top of the arch and depicts “Columbia”, who is generally used as an allegorical representation of the U.S.

To the north of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument sits Bailey Fountain. A popular spot for wedding photos, the fountain shows a man, woman (representing wisdom and felicity) and a boy holding a cornucopia. They stand on top of the prow of a ship surrounded by Neptune – god of the sea – and a triton.

While writing this, I wondered if there were other “Arches” in NYC. Here is what I found…

There is more than one Grand Army Plaza in NYC

The influence of European arches can still be found in NYC

Assistance from Untappedcities and CurbedNY

At the southern entrance to Central Park is the Manhattan’s  version of The  Grand Army Plaza. General William Tecumseh Sherman, his steed, and guiding angels stand on the northern half of the plaza, gracefully and confidently striding towards across the street to the Pulitzer Fountain and the entrance of the Plaza Hotel. Sadly no Arch,

Washington Square Arch – I imagine that most visitors, when visiting the Village, have been to Washington Square Park. The arch here was originally built of wood to honor the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. Later, it was made out of marble and was inspired by the Arc de Tromphe.

Manhattan Bridge Entrance – The entryway to the Manhattan Bridge was inspired by a different Paris Arch – the triumphal Porte Saint Denis

American Museum of Natural History – The Central Park West entrance to the American Museum of Natural History was modeled after the Arch of Constantine and is known as the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial.  It has four notable explorers in sculpture at the top: Daniel Boone, John James Audubon, William Clark and Merriweather Lewis.

 

FACADE OF THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING –The Arch of Constantine also served as the model for the facade of the Municipal Building. The building’s terra-cotta vault  was inspired by the Palazzo Farnes and its columned entrance was possibly modeled on Bernini’s Colonnade, at St. Peter’s. I don’t think many non city people visit this area.

 

 

 

Dewey Seaman Arch – This mostly forgotten arch is now partially obscured behind buildings in Upper Manhattan. The arch is a remnant of a once wealthy family and is  said to be an exact replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

also, there were two temorary Arches at Madison Square Park but removed years ago.

NYC Grand Army Plaza Manhattan

So what is so special about the corner of 5th avenue and e 59th street?

Answer: The corner is the location of the famous “Plaza Hotel”, The Apple Store and several prominent 5th  avenue shops – It’s a busy area.

The Plaza Hotel faces the Grand Army Plaza – southern entrance to Central Park. I encourage you to go inside and experience the feel of this grand hotel. Definitely see the Oak Room and the Palm Court.Also, the hotel has been the site for famous performers and guests.

Lisa Minnelli     The Beatles    Charlie Sheen     Michael Douglas    Catherine Zeta Jones

                                   

The fountain outside the Plaza Hotel, at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, will be home to 12 monumental bronze animal heads sculptured by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei starting May 2 and continuing through July 15.The sculpture, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,”  is quite interesting..

Facing the hotel is the Grand Army Plaza the south-eastern entrance to Central Park.The area is a lively place  as there are horse-carriages for hire, colorful flowers and definitely, plenty of people. Go in any direction from here to make your own discoveries.