New York & Washington ‘19 – Day Four – Central Park

Today we had earmarked for Central Park and nothing else. It was interesting to have seen it from the top of the Rockefeller Center yesterday. It is a very obvious rectangle that is “missing” from the otherwise jam packed city buildings. A green oasis in the middle of so much grey.

In what is becoming something of a tradition we started with breakfast in Le Pain Quoditon before heading to the south west corner of the park as our starting point. We had chosen this as we had a GPS enabled app which guided us through the highlights of the park.

Unsurprisingly it was pretty busy in the park with both tourists and locals who, I’d imagine, go there as their escape from the city. What became immediately obvious though was that, in fact, there wasn’t any escape at all. 

There is no peace and silence in the park as there is noise no matter where you are. There is also the pervasive background hum of New York as a constant sound track. The other sense I had was of being hemmed in. No matter where you were in the park you could see the cold hard edges, the buildings forming a straight edge.

None of this detracts from the beauty of the park itself which is designed with a number of different themes and areas. Our walk took us past a number of water features ranging from small ponds to lakes and even a reservoir. When we reached one fountain we heard singing and in a space under a bridge was a beautifully decorated area in which were a youth singing group. I have no idea who they were but, as you can see from the video below, they sounded great in that space.

And then we were out the other side in Harlem. We did consider getting the subway back to Times Square but, for reasons that escape me, we decided to walk back down 5th Avenue.

As we walked back a couple of things struck me. Firstly how cities don’t have to be boring and grey. The apartment properties that fringe the park on 5th Avenue had lovely flower beds outside of them. Of course I suspect the ground rent for these easily allows for a few tulip bulbs! 

The second thing was that the grid system really does make it easy to work out where you are and… just how far you have to go. Our hotel was on 45th street and the far end of Central Park was just a mere 60 blocks away. By the time we got back we had walked over 13 miles and it really felt like it!