I’ve been to New York City a few times before — 12 to be exact — but this was the first trip I had a good camera — and it was autumn in the city. That made for a great combination!
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I took hundreds of photographs. I plan to spread some of them out over a series of blog posts.
I’m starting with this image since Central Park is one of my favorite places in the world.
I wanted to see what it looked like from a great height in the fall with the trees leafed out in their beautiful colour, so I took the elevator up the 67 floors to the observation deck on the Top of the Rockefeller Plaza on a sunny perfect fall day.
What a vista!
In this photo, you’re looking north and you see the west side of the park and the buildings of the Upper West Side.
A few years ago, my mother and sister and I took a guided walking tour of Central Park, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Up until then, I simply had no idea what a massive accomplishment this park is and how unique it is.
Central Park was the first public landscaped park in all of the United States. In 1853, the state legislature first set aside land for a major public park. City commissioners spent $14 million for the land and the construction of the park, which extended from 59th Street to 106th Street, between Fifth and Eighth Avenues.
The designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux were chosen in public competition in 1858. The park was developed over a span of 16 years.
(Olmsted is considered the father of landscape architecture and he went on to design Prospect Park in Brooklyn and many other North American parks, such as Boston’s Emerald Necklace, Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, Mount Royal in Montreal, and the grounds of the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Here are ten lessons for landscape design you can pick up from him.)
Central Park occupies 843 acres in Manhattan, 6% of its total acreage. You could fit 16 billion New York apartments in the park.
The park includes seven water bodies totaling 150 acres (some of which you can see above), 136 acres of woodlands and 250 acres of lawns. There are 58 miles of walking paths and 4.25 miles of bridle paths.
It also boasts more than 26,000 trees, 36 bridges and arches and nearly 9,000 benches.
It surprised me to learn that there are 215 species of birds in a 6.1-acre sanctuary, many rare to the area including the peregrine falcon.
The 25 million people that visit every year can also enjoy 26 ballfields; 30 tennis courts; 21 playgrounds; one carousel and two ice-skating rinks, one of which is converted into a swimming pool in the summer.
Stay tuned for more images inside the park…