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At a Glance

Central Park

The north border of Central Park is West 110th Street, the south is West 59th Street, the west is Eighth Avenue, and the east is bordered by Fifth Avenue (no, it’s not called “Central Park East”).

Website: www.centralparknyc.org

"Did You Know?" Factoids

Central Park has 843 acres or 6% of Manhattan's total acreage, including:

  • 150 acres in 7 waterbodies
  • 250 acres of lawns
  • 136 acres of woodlands

• Central Park is a little smaller than the 1,017-acre (4.12 square kilometer) Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, but that’s only the third-most visited urban park in America

• It is 6 miles (2.5 miles north to south from 110th Street to 59th Street and .5 miles east to west from Fifth Avenue to Central Park West).

• It is 1.58 miles around the Reservoir Running Track

• It is 0.556 miles aroudn the Great Lawn Oval.

• It is 0.8 miles around Harlem Meer.

• Distances around the park drives starting at Engineer's Gate at 90th Street and Fifth Avenue:

  • Full Loop: 6.1 miles
  • Upper Loop, taking 102nd St. cutoff: 5.2 miles
  • Lower Loop, taking 72nd St. cutoff: 1.7 miles
  • Along the Bridle Path: 4.25 miles
  • Along all the pedestrian pathways: 58 miles

• Central Park closes at 1am and opens at 6 a.m., 365 days a year.

• Vehicular traffic opens on the West Drive (from 110th Street south to Central Park South and 7th Avenue) weekdays 8 a.m.–10 a.m. and only HOV (High Occupancy Vehicles) are permitted.

• Vehicular traffic opens on the East Drive (from 72nd Street/Fifth Avenue to 110th Street) weekdays
3 p.m.–7 p.m.

• Vehicular traffic opens on the Center Drive / East Drive (from the 6th Avenue entrance on Central Park South to the East 72nd Street and 5th Avenue exit) Weekdays
7 a.m.–7 p.m.

• Vehicular traffic opens on the 72nd Street Cross Drive (from 72nd Street/Fifth Avenue to West Drive South): Weekdays 8am-10am)

• 25 mph is the speed limit.

• 35 million people visit each year.

• There are 21 playgrounds scattered throughout the entire park.

Locations of...

  • Balto – East 67th Street near the East Drive
  • Alice in Wonderland – 75th Street just north of Conservatory Water
  • Hans Christian Andersen – 74th Street just west of Conservatory Water
  • The Obelisk (Cleopatra's Needle) – 81st Street behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art

• There also are 48 other fountains, monuments, and sculptures in Central Park.

• 24,000 trees, including 1,700 American Elms.

• Over 9,000 benches in Central Park, which would stretch 7 miles if placed end to end.

• 36 bridges and arches are in Central Park.

• More than 275 species of migratory birds have been sighted in the Park, which happens to be a major stopping point on the Atlantic bird flyway.

• The park has seven ornamental fountains and approximately 150 drinking fountains. The ornamental fountains are:

  • Angel of the Waters at Bethesda Terrace
  • Burnett Fountain at Conservatory Garden's English garden to the south
  • Conservatory Garden's Italian garden in the center
  • Untermyer Fountain at Conservatory Garden's French garden to the north
  • Cherry Hill
  • Sophie Loeb Fountain
  • Pulitzer Fountain at Grand Army Plaza

• There are seven designated quiet zones for visitors. These are Strawberry Fields, Sheep Meadow, East Green (located at the northern end of the Dene), Conservatory Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and Turtle Pond. Musical instruments are not allowed, headphones are required for radios.

  • Dogs must be leashed and kept on the pathways at all times
  • No running, rollerblading, or bike riding
  • No organized, active recreation or sports allowed
  • Feeding of birds and other wildlife prohibited

• Dogs are prohibited in playgrounds, display fountains, bodies of water reserved for wildlife, ballfields (Great Lawn, North Meadow, Heckscher), the Elm Islands at the Mall, Sheep Meadow, East Green, Strawberry Fields.

• Dogs must be leashed at all times In the woodlands (Ramble, North Woods), on the bridle path, Conservatory Garden, Cedar Hill, Kerbs Boathouse Plaza (at the model boat pond), Arthur Ross Pinteum, Turtle Pond, and other areas where signs are posted.

• No alcohol is allowed in Central Park. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which establishes the rules and regulations for all City parks, prohibits alcohol in all parks including Central Park.

Pedicabs

Pedicabs are now licensed in New York. You can hail them easily wherever you find tourist spots.

For pedicab reservations regarding Central Park, you might try contacting Bike Central Park, Central Park’s premier sightseeing company, offering guided bike tours, bike rentals and pedicab tours. Their guides will impress you with their knowledge and appreciation of the park.

Bike Central Park is located at
231 West 58th Street between 7th Avenue and Broadway. Take the N, R, W, or Q train to 57th street, or the A,B,C,D or 1 train to colombus circle 59th Street. Tours by reservation only.

Central Park Zoo

830 Fifth Avenue
New York City, NY 10021

Voice: 212-439-6500

The Central Park Zoo is situated near the southeast corner of Central Park, easily accessible by mass transit. No parking is available at the zoo itself, but there are parking lots in the area (see below).

By Subway

Take the N, R, or W trains to the Fifth Avenue/59th Street station in Manhattan, and walk north four blocks to 64th Street. Or take the Lexington Avenue #6 train to the 68th Street/Hunter College station, walk west 3 blocks to Fifth Avenue, then take a left and walk four blocks south.

By Bus

The following buses stop on Fifth Avenue, between 59th and 64th Streets: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M30, Q32.

Car Parking

If visiting by car, consider the following garages: Narragansett Garage at 124 E. 63rd Street, Regency Garage Corp. at 245 E. 63rd Street, Renoir Garage at 225 E. 63rd Street, or Distinctive Parking at 35 E. 61st Street.

The Central Park Zoo is open 365 days a year.

Winter hours (Nov 1–Apr 1):

10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily

Summer hours
(April 2–October 30):

Monday–Friday:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Weekends & holidays:
10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

 

 

 

Zippy's Blog Bloviations

Fun Things to Do

Taking a Pedicab Ride Around Central Park (New York City)

By Caitlin Doherty — February 6, 2011

New Yorkers are lucky to have an awesome, exquisitely-designed public part right in the center of Manhattan—Central Park. It’s a spacious 843 acres (3.41 square kilometers) of well-manicured lawns, trees, ponds, flowers, shrubbery, stone bridges, a zoo, a public swimming pool, baseball diamonds, fake castles and 29 sculptures.

caitlin doherty's pedicab driver-to-be cycling up central park west and preparing to turn into central park itself. These are mostly used by tourists in america, but they're a lot of fun and less expensive than horse and carriages. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

One day in January, 2011, I became one of the 30 million people who each year visit this park, the most-visited urban park in the United States, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

Given the sunny but cold weather, the question to answer was: How to tour the park? It’s 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometer) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. So, it's six miles around the edge of Central Park.

horse-drawn carriages have been around a lot longer in central park than pedicabs, but they tend to be a bit pricey. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

It was too cold for me to walk the whole distance around or even just the interior of Central Park, so I looked into taking one of the famous-horse-drawn carriages that you often see in movies about New York. Things seen on the tour include: The Wollman Rink, the Pond, Central Park Zoo, Sheep Meadow, Mall (statues), Dairy (tourist information center), the Carousel and the big, hulking Dakota building where the former Beatle John Lennon lived. Approximate distance of the ride is 3/4 of a mile. For a standard carriage ride, I walked along the long line of carriages on Central Park South between 5th and 6th Avenues, inquiring.

The carriages did seem a bit pricey for my pocketbook, however. At the time a “standard carriage ride” for Central Park cost $50 plus tip for the first 20 minutes (per carriage, not per person). Every additional 10 minutes in the carriage is $20 more, and longer rides are negotiable. (Prices may vary, so if you decide to opt for a carriage ride be sure you work out the final cost with the driver before the ride begins.)

here is interesting america's caitlin doherty, ready her hired "delta" tricycle pedicab to take a leisurely tour of central park. her driver, a young man from buenos aires, argentina, was living in brooklyn with his girlfriend to practice his english. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

I walked toward Central Park West, then spotted one of the more novel ways of getting around New York—a pedicab.

Known in other countries as the cycle rickshaw, bikecab, cyclo, becak, or trishaw, pedicabs are basically a big tricycle that can carry a couple of passengers along with the driver. You hire them just as you would a taxi. In southeast Asia they really are just like taxicabs, but in the U.S. pedicabs are usually found in tourist areas and are mainly used for short tourist sightseeing rides rather than as an alternative to taxi cabs and mass public transportation. (Though our editor-in-chief says that in rainy weather you can never find a cab in New York but you can always find a pedicab.) Pedicabs were popular in cities of South, Southeast and East Asia long before other cities like New York ever saw them. In America (and most of South Asia) “delta” tricycles are used, with the passenger seat behind the driver. In Indonesia and Vietnam, however, they use “tadpole” tricycles where the driver sits behind the passenger seat. In the Philippines, on the other hand, the passenger seats are generally located right next to the driver.

the pedicab carrying caitlin doherty was soon part of a little caravan slowly making its way around the wintery world of central park. there were lots of pedestrians and bike riders, but no traffic that day. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

New York City saw its first pedicab around 1995 when a sort of tricyclist commune occupied a garage next door to the Hell’s Angels on an East Village side-street. Tap dancers, morticians and striptease artists were counted among the first riders.

Manhattan is pretty flat, so the muscle-powered pedicabs are not too punishing on their drivers, which is a good thing since electric-assisted pedicabs—and all other electric vehicles—were banned in New York City in January 2008.

Caitlin doherty experienced some merging traffic in central park, as horse-drawn carriages began to "clip-clop" in from central park south. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

Pedicabs were a pretty wild industry in New York. Hundreds of them began to appear around 2005. Then there was an accident or two, and New York City’s government put regulations into effect starting on Saturday, November 21, 2009.

Starting near 50 Central Park West, I found a red pedicab operated by a telecommunications engineering student from Buenos Aires, Argentina, who recently moved to Brooklyn with his girlfriend so he “could practice his English.” (However, he said he found this to be difficult because he kept coming across too many Spanish-speaking people in New York!) He said “give me whatever you can spare.” I decided to be generous and give him $40.

the time of caitlin doherty's visit to central park happend to be a perfect weekend for a family experience. new yorkers are lucky to have such a teriffic place like central park right in their midst. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

Fortunately, I was there at a time when cars were not allowed in the park, so I didn't have to worry about real traffic.

Soon we were off. There were a lot of people in Central Park that day, all bundled up for the weather: Families, tourists, joggers, casually strolling individuals, photographers, athletes, what have you. Two college students were having a race across the park to Central Park West, cutting across paths and dashing through patches of snow and slush.

Everybody’s actions were deliberate—and all of them seemed to know exactly where they were going and what they were doing. As for me, my pedicab was now in a line of other pedicabs and horse-drawn carriages in a sort of caravan around the park. Some of the big horses got quite close to me, though I resisted the urge to reach out and try to pet one of them.

Looking northwest from the pedicab, our caitlin doherty said she could see many enjoying themselves in central park. everything looks right out of nature, but in fact everthing is carefully sculpted and arranged, like a garden. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

And there I was, capturing it all with my camera.

As I mentioned earlier, there are 29 statues in Central Park, but the most interesting one to me was of Balto, a dog. That’s right, a dog. In the winter of 1925 a diphtheria epidemic was raging in Nome, Alaska, and they had run out of antitoxin to administer to the sick. The only way to deliver more medicine was for teams of mushers and sled dogs to fight their way through an Arctic blizzard as they made their way 674 miles from Nenana to deliver the medicine to Nome and save the day.

caitlin doherty's favorite statue in central park is of balto, the heroic sled dog who helped save nome alaska by delivering medicine despite a huge arctic blizzard. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

Balto, a husky, was a heroic lead dog in the trek.

In a remarkable act of recognition, a Balto Monument Committee to the City of New York sprang up and commissioned a bronze sculpture of a slightly larger than life-size Balto by Brooklyn-born sculptor Frederick George Richard Roth. When the statue, placed on a rock outcropping, was unveiled on December 16, 1925, the honored guest at the ceremony was none other than Balto himself.

This lasting tribute to Balto still stands on that rock outcropping that you can find west of East Drive and 67th Street on the main path leading north from the Tisch Children's Zoo. Under the sculpture, a small plaque displays the following inscription: Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxins 600 miles (970 km) over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925. ENDURANCE FIDELITY INTELLIGENCE

A carriage passes on the right. caitlin doherty said she could almost reach out and touch the horse next to her, though the carriage's driver would have certainly thought that to be a bad idea. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

Since 1925 children and others have loved to climb up on Balto’s statue for a photo opportunity, which keeps the statue’s ears and back nice and shiny.

Mid-Park on the north side of 72nd Street we stopped as we came across a set of steps leading down to the “Angel of the Waters” sculpture of the Bethesda Fountain, which rises above Bethesda Terrace where many people each day meander about the lake and lounge there, near the very center of Central Park.

The bethesda steps at the center of central park lead down to bethesda terrace, fountain and the angel of waters sculpture above the fountain. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

The two sets of stairs at Bethesda Terrace are high enough to give you a great view the Lake, the fountain, and the Ramble in the distance. (You can also seem them in the movies such as, It Should Happen to You, Prisoner of 2nd Avenue, and The Out of Towners.

As for the Bethesda Fountain itself, it wasn’t part of the original “Greensward Plan” of Olmsted and Vaux. Instead, it was called “The Water Terrace,” because it was beside The Lake, but the area became known as Bethesda Terrace following the fountain’s unveiling in 1873, which essentially marked the completion of all of Central Park.

interesting america's caitlin doherty on the bethesda terrace with the fountain and angel of waters sculpture above her. it was unveiled in 1873 and essentially completed the construction of central park. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

The sculpture atop the fountain, the “Angel of Waters,” was designed and fashioned in 1868 by Emma Stebbins. (This was the first New York sculptural commission received by a woman.) The sculpture celebrated the new Croton Aqueduct that both fed the fountain and supplied fresh water to a city that had suffered from a substandard water supply. The name Bethesda was adopted because at the unveiling ceremony in 1873, the brochure by the artist quoted lines from the Gospel of St. John: “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called… Bethesda…whoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

In 1988 the Central Park Conservancy restored the fountain to its former glory, cleaning, applying a patina and sealing the fountain’s surface with a protective chemical coating. Every year it is washed and waxed to help preserve it.

the cast-iron naumburg bandshell, built in 1862. it's funny to think that they didn't allow popular music here until the 1920s. you can see caitlin doherty dwarfed by the bandshell (she's standing front and center. ) (Photo © richard grigonis.)

The Angel of Waters atop the Bethesda Fountain has looked down on the lake’s many visitors since 1873, and has seen its fair share of movies shot at this location, such as Angels in America, Bullets over Broadway, Hair, One Fine Day, Ransom, Stuart Little II, Tommy Boy and, most memorably, the 1973 film Godspell, wherein the cast splashed about the pool.

My pedicab driver and I then walked over to the cast-iron Naumburg Bandshell on the concert ground, that was built in 1862. In those days they only played classical music here. John Phillip Sousa managed to play some marches here starting in the 1890s, free concers started in 1905 and popular music finally was performed here in the 1920s. Many great artists have appeared here, from Duke Ellington to modern rock bands. On a more serious note, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech here, and John Lennon's eulogy was delivered here.

Caitlin doherty's pedicab passes the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which covers 160 acres and covers 1/8th of the whole park. behind it and to the left are the towers of the eldorado building, where many wealthy and some famous people live. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

Returning to our pedicab and moving right along, we came across another statue, that of Daniel Webster, way up on a pedestal, across from the east entrance to Central Park's Strawberry Fields.

It’s impossible to miss the Central Park Reservoir—now officially named the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. It covers one-eighths of the surface of Central Park (106 acres), stretching between 86th and 96th streets. It’s 40 feet keep and holds a billion gallons of water. It was part of New York’s fresh water system until the new aqueduct opened in 1991. There’s a popular 1.58 mile running track that surrounds it. Right now New Yorkers are arguing what to do with this space. They could install restaurants, or ball fields, or beaches, or just fill it in. From our vantage point I could see the condominium towers of Central Park West, such as The Eldorado Building with its twin towers.

Caitlin Doherty says that Perhaps next time she'll try taking a horse-drawn carriage around Central park. maybe they'll finally let her pet one. (Photo © richard grigonis.)

Since I was now on my way uptown, my pedicab driver generously passed by the spot where I had boarded, at 50 Central Park West, and kept going for a while, leaving me near the Plaza Hotel so I could look at the horses and carriages, before continuing.

Pedicabs are often perhaps too exciting in New York traffic, but they’re a fun way to see Central Park. end-of-article dingbat

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Caitlin_Doherty

Caitlin Doherty is Interesting America's pizza-ologist and fun eatery afficionado. She also likes fun places to visit when she can find the time. A New Jersey native, she is a pharmacy technician for a hospital.

 

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